Can you imagine a world where there are no creative or innovative thinkers? Can you imagine a world where dull ideas are passed as brilliant ones? As a creative learner who is committed to exploring and implementing creative approaches to education I cannot. Our organisation- Kyusa is committed to generating creative approaches to education to make sure that no learner is made to feel inadequate by the often prescribed and static approaches and evaluation to learning that many public schools in many parts of the world use. Our approach to education focuses on self-discovery and innovation of each learner in the hope that they become active participants in their own educational journey.
Education is a critical component for people as they evolve and develop into agents of change. The delivery of education often neglects the creative aspects that excite learners. Together with five other visionaries from five different countries and three continents of the globe in the fields of alternative education; we have generated five main pillars that illustrate why creative approaches to learning can help in facilitating the learning process for both children and adults. These five pillars are:
1) Everyone is a teacher
We believe that for Learning to effective; learners and facilitators must be willing and committed to learning from each other. Often time’s facilitators assume that their role is to teach and pass on information/ knowledge however that kind of top down approach to learning has discouraged many creative learners from the regular education schools. We believe that facilitators must come with an open mind and a willingness to learn from their students even as they teach them. This kind of partnership strengthens the learning process and makes it relevant for both all parties involved.
2) Learning from multiple perspectives
For learning to be effective, it must take a multiple perspective approach that enables the learners to link topics to different themes and scenarios. A good example is the world war two which is often taught from the perspective of the United States which won the war however, this very topic can be linked to English, Geography, Political science and other subjects. This helps the learner to appreciate the topic, understand its relevance and to link the concept to other case scenarios that may not be related to the learning environment in a positive way. This will also help to break down the fragmentation and disintegration of learning outcomes from real life situations thus empowering learners to use multiple alternatives in solving problems.
3) Experimental Learning
We all learn best when we are given an opportunity to try out things and get a firsthand experience. Taking the example of a child who sees the dancing flame from a lamp and reaches forth to touch it, there is no amount of dissuading him/her that will quench that curiosity until at last they discover for themselves the effects of touching the flame. That lesson will forever stick with the child and soon they will avoid the fire. Learners must be given an opportunity to explore their creativity in an environment where they are allowed to make mistakes and try again. This enhances learning and arouses passion in the learner because the learning becomes relevant to the learners.
4) Participatory learning
Often times in a regular learning environment; learners do not have the opportunity to actively participate in designing the learning program or defining what is relevant for them. Most facilitators come with the assumption that learners have nothing to contribute towards the learning process a part from taking in what they are being taught or offered. This is kills the morale of the learners as they are made to feel inferior and less appreciated in the learning process. Learners must be given an opportunity to partner with their facilitators in designing the learning program as well as deciding what is relevant for them. This creates a sense of partnership and co-ownership between the learners and the facilitators.
5) Building Self confidence
When we are not given a voice or an opportunity to express ourselves, like a tree that is denied water, we begin to dry up and die slowly. We all have a deep seated desire to be accepted and to feel significant. This is only possible when we are appreciated and accepted for who we are as well as given an opportunity to express our uniqueness. Building self confidence must start at home and be activated in the learning environments. We all need self confidence to be able to stand up for ourselves and to make our voices heart regarding matters of relevance and importance to us.
Each one of these learning approaches helps to expand the often static ways that many public schools teach through outdated textbooks, static methods of conveying information, and the “teacher knows best” (top down) approach to learning. The educational approach where facilitators only teach information to the learners denies the fact that learners are facilitators too. Looking at education as a link between facilitators and learners in a joint learning partnership facilitates a more egalitarian approach to education to become actualized.
Our goal is to revitalize the educational system to cater to the various needs and abilities of learners by creating creative approaches to learning that incorporates multiple senses, self-discovery, and unconventional ways of thinking about real life problems. These techniques can help learners understand education as a process that they have a vested interest in participating in. We believes that tailoring education toward a more creative and learner centered approach can help instill a new confidence in the younger generations that they matter.