A diary passage written by the Creatures of Habit themselves…
We were invited to attend ISB‘s international Learning by Design conference.
To put ourselves into the mix, we dropped into the students’ very own conference. Here we found the students hard at work in groups, each tasked with inventing an idea that had a real social or environmental sustainable benefit. This was perfect for us to get stuck in to help out.
Because we like to do things a bit differently, we started by introducing ourselves through a game called post-it planes. Without giving the game away, the challenge was to make a plane out of a post it note then aim to land it in a target. Basically it’s not easy, plus with over 100 students, we were happy to create some chaos! By multiple attempts and learnings, each of us was able to highlight a core principle of how a certain creative mindset can overcome tough challenges.
— Joel Jr LLABAN (@JoelJrLLABAN) March 17, 2017
— Jenny Cook (@msjennycook) March 17, 2017
Now that we were understood, we got to work on helping the students bring their ideas to life. We were able to help uncover creative insights such as:
- How to overcome limited understanding and potential knee-jerk criticism by creating a cardboard prototype of a new concept for beehives.
- Why a clear purpose was needed to tell a story that motivates business people to become mentors for aspiring school children and how to find their ‘so what’, that encourages them to take part.
- When working on an idea to raise awareness of body confidence and LGBT issues, what is it that other schoolchildren will relate to on a personal, emotional level over and above that which they see in mainstream media.
Over the course of the conference we were involved in half-day creative mindset development sessions with teachers from all over the world.
As ever, we introduced ourselves to the groups via interactive games and examples, which highlighted the importance of each of us Creatures in how people think and make decisions (and caused plenty of laughter!).
Our main goal was to get the teachers to experience our way of thinking for themselves. To do this, we got everyone into teams then asked each team to visit each of us Creatures of Habit in turn. With a challenge of ‘redesigning the classroom’, we set them loose.
When visiting each Creature, we encouraged teachers to think as we would. For example, when visiting Routine, they would look at what actions and behaviours are repeated over and over. Once the existing associations were uncovered, it was then game on to break the existing associations and come up with a whole range of creative alternatives.
We loved exploring such a range of ideas (some completely nutty) with the teachers. We heard all sorts of things in response to the challenge of redesigning the classroom. Here are just a few:
- Enable the classroom to be used as a fluid, configurable space rather than the traditional rows all facing front. Different types of learning and working space can keep ways of learning fresh and exciting.
- Encourage more opportunities to mix up age groups and teachers. After all, this proved to be an effective way of achieving a far greater array of perspectives in the students own conference.
- Allow students to choose their own curriculum, or at least a portion of it. This will allow them to be more inspired and motivated about how to apply their skills in the best way for their future.
It makes all of us Creatures proud to create this shift in people’s minds and enable them to unleash their mental powers in ways they wouldn’t have done before.
The most important thing we wanted to leave behind was the ability for teachers to realise the times when us Creatures can limit their mindset and that of those around them. We were over the moon to hear from teachers how they felt more confident and empowered to be a part of a creative change and a more positive, innovative influence within the school.
All in all a wonderful experience and these are our take homes:
- Kids are amazing if given opportunity to try and are given a sense of freedom and self belief. They are an unstoppable creative force when treated maturely and given a nudge in the right direction when in need of a new perspective and sense of real-world applicability.
- Teachers are an incredibly inventive bunch. Often all that’s needed is a a greater sense of self-realisation and creative confidence. In a time when it’s wise to revisit some of the traditional, ‘school rules’, teachers will be one of the most valuable sources of insight. Critically, they need space to think and reflect, which simply doesn’t happen often enough in a world where their job is just as much admin as it is education.
- Finally it was a joy to hang out at ISB and witness such a progressive attitude and be part of the positive change journey they really believe in.