Creativity Clubs

MASK Creativity Clubs

 

 

 

What is 'creativity and innovation'?

 

Creativity is the ability to see problems and generate new ideas to solve them.

 

Creativity can also be referred to as innovation, creative thinking, intelligence (Albert Einstein called it 'a true intelligence'), inventiveness, ingenuity, imagination, resourcefulness, inspiration, ‘outside-box’ thinking, independent thinking, value-creation, paradigm-change, vision, originality, novelty, individuality, initiative, insight, talent, personal effectiveness, enterprise, and optimization.

 

Creativity is not ‘the arts’ and not for artists alone. It takes place in all spheres of life: culture, science and business. It is a skill, and therefore can be taught and learned; but it must be fostered in schools from early years. Practicing arts is the most effective way to foster creativity. Music, visual arts, performance and design teach to observe, imagine and invent, and to connect information into new forms and patterns.

 

 

 

MASK Creativity Clubs are based on these beliefs:

 

  • Creativity-learning is the priority of the 21st century education
  • Creativity-learning has a significant impact on productivity and prosperity of individuals and society
  • Creativity is visual thinking, thus advancing visual processing skills (observation and imagination/visualisation) is instrumental
  • Creativity-learning should be planned, structured, and relevant to students
  • Creativity should be shared to be strengthened
  • Creativity-learning is effective only in community/society that values creativity.

 

 

MASK Learning Goal

 

To strengthen creativity of students and enable them to apply creativity on practice to improve their employability, entrepreneurial skills and leadership.

 

 

What MASK teaches

 

We teach the Creativity Skills Set:

 

  1. Positive beliefs about creativity
  2. Creative Skills
  3. Creative Character
  4. Team-creativity
  5. Practical Creativity Framework
  6. Creativity Ethics

 

 

POSITIVE BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY

Students learn to:

  • See creativity as a powerful force for change and transformation of lives of individuals and societies
  • Enjoy being different and to experience things in new way
  • Be emotionally involved in a creative process and to have a positive attitude to their own creativity
  • Be responsible for their own creativity and to take time to learn to be more creative.

 

CREATIVE SKILLS

Students develop their:

  • Visual processing skills: observation and visualization/imagination
  • Ability to generate nonroutine ideas and solutions
  • Divergent thinking by generating multiple ideas to a problem.

 

CREATIVE CHARACTER

Students develop:

  • Courage to challenge conventions
  • Independence of thought and judgement
  • Curiosity
  • Openness to new experience
  • Willingness to take risks
  • Positive 'can-do' attitude: self-directed quality and the ability to see a failure as potential for success
  • Confidence in one's creativity and belief in one's own ideas
  • Strong sense of self-efficacy, resilience, and desire for self-realization
  • Emotional intelligence.

 

TEAM-CREATIVITY

Students learn to:

  • Generate ideas in a group
  • Enjoy sharing creativity with others.

 

CREATIVITY ETHICS

Students learn to be creative within the strong moral and environmental principles.

 

PRACTICAL CREATIVITY

Students learn MASK Practical Creativity Five-step Framework:

  1. Stating problems in the way that encourages creative problem-solving
  2. Generating ideas strategies and techniques
  1. Evaluating ideas and decision-making skill
  1. Communicating ideas: overcoming resistance to change
  2. Implementing ideas: organisational skills, forming partnerships, enchmarks of the Innovation Culture, 'Managing' creative employees.

 

 

 

How MASK teachers:

 

Through MASK creativity-learning activities:

 

  • Art practices
  • Creative thinking exercises
  • Practical problem-solving

 

 

ART PRACTICES

Visual arts, music, performance, dancing, singing, speech, design, etc.) enable students to experiment, investigate and invent, and develop the essential visual skills of observation and visualization. Students make art objects with a wide range of ideas, techniques and materials, including recycled or natural materials, and exhibit to share their works with others. They explore colour, texture, touch, sight, sound, hearing, motor control, visual memory and attention, and connect these to emotional responses, ideas, and associations. They improvise telling stories, role-playing and dancing. They explore 'what if?' and 'what can be?'.

 

CREATIVE EXERCISES

Students are encoraged to:

  • Think unconventionally
  • Connect knowledge across a wide range of disciplines into new paterns and foms

 

MASK's techniques and strategies of creative thinking include:

  • De-structuring imagination
  • Associative thinking ('connecting random images')
  • Forming analogies
  • Making connections and combinations
  • Reversing assumptions
  • Resemblance thinking
  • Collective thinking
  • Paradox thinking
  • De Bono techniques

 

PRACTICAL PROBLEM-SOLVING

Students practice:

  • The MASK 'Practical Creativity Five-step Framework'’
  • To solve real problems that affect their daily life.

 

 

MASK creativity-learning workshops:

 

  • Are held 1-2 times a week. Duration of workshops ranges from 30 min to 1,5 hours
  • A number of students per workshop is 25
  • Training is non-formal: after-school

 

Typical workshop Template:

  • Preparation (Displaying learning posters, preparing working space, registering attendance)
  • Revision of skills learned at a previous workshop
  • Revision of the Koinonia Principles
  • Main learning activity
  • Exhibition of learnt outcomes (ideas, artworks)
  • Summary of what is learned and homework.

 

Creativity Clubs for younger children

 

 

MASK Creativity Clubs works with 3-12 years old pupils. To be effective, creativity-learning must begin in early childhood when children's imagination and playfulness are naturally rife.

 

Learning Activities: mainly experimental and inventive art practices.

 

 

 

Creativity for Entrepreneurship and Leadership Clubs (CEL)

 

CEL works with students 12-25 years old.

 

CEL students:

 

  • Strengthen their leadership skills and undestand that good leaders are those who effectively solve problems
  • Strengthen their entrepreneurial skills and learn to view entrepreneurship as a possible career option for achieving economic sustainability
  • Become more employable after leaving school due to becoming more able to contribute to organisations in terms of creative ideas and solutions, team-creativity, effective communication, and personal effectiveness.

 

CEL Learning Activities:

 

  1. Experimental art practices and creative-thinking exercises
  2. Solving problems that affect students’ daily life. Students learn and practice the MASK 'Practical Creativity Five-step Framework'.

 

 

The CEL graduates receive the MASK 'Creativity Passports' and join the MASK movement 'Young People - The Creative Nation'.

 

 

Students say:

 

  • "MASK made me into a successful entrepreneur and a leader. My village elders invite me to their meetings - although I am so young - and ask me to give them good ideas that can improve our community. I feel respected. I feel I am making the difference. I love this creativity! But before MASK came, I did not know I was creative!" Joel Gatua, 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peace Clubs

 

 

MASK believes that teaching children and young people to imagine new effective solutions for peace is the foundation for the education for peace and tolerance in countries with a history of violence and deep-seated tribal hostility.

 

MASK Peace Clubs' students learn to become social innovators for peace and tolerance.

 

The Peace Clubs are either organised as a series of sessions or incorporated in the MASK general programmes. For example, fist issue of the MASK Prize in 2013 was themed around peace in Kenya.

 

Learning Activities:

 

  • Art practices that focus on empathy on multi-culturalism.

 

Empathy: making and displaying artworks allows students to safely explore their own emotions and understand the emotions of others. Multi-culturalism: art helps students to mitigate the difficulties of inter-ethnical and inter-religious understanding, building bridges between ethnicities and religions.

 

  • Solving specific problems of conflics, peacebuilding, and extremism-prevention.

 

Students generate new and practical solutions for peaceful co-existence, and plan practical steps for implementing those solutions. They organise 'art for peace' exhibitions in local communities and march with thier works as 'agents of peace' in their local villages and towns.

 

 

Students say:

 

  • “Through peaceful pictures we promote peace, exchange ideas and resolve the disagreements peacefully.” Patrick Mwaura, 15
  • “The workshops make me so happy. I learnt to communicate my ideas visually.” Naftary Maina, 15
  • “MASK helped me to express my ideas and promote peace between different tribes who are in conflict.” Benson Kinyantui, 13
  • “Being creative can help me to educate communities and lead them to peace.” Peter Kimani, 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creativity Camps

 

MASK residential Creativity Camps are organised during school holidays for students aged 16-21.

 

Students:

 

  • Participate in daily workshops facilitated by MASK creativity facilitators, local and international artists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders
  • Organise debates and performances
  • Visit art galleries and entrepreneurial companies
  • Organise an exhibition of their artworks and ideas at the end of a camp.

 

First Creativity Camp was organised in May 2011 in Nairobi. Participants met with the Kenyan Minister for Culture, The Hon, Ole Ntimama, and the Ministry's Director of Culture, Gladys Gatheru.

 

Students say:

 

  • "I liked being creative since I was little. I liked experimenting and imagining new things. It was very hard for me because my family did not support this activity considering it being unworthy. Participating in the MASK Creativity Camp helped my family to support me and to be proud of my creativity." Irungu James Kungu, 19.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Training Creativity Facilitators

 

 

A skilled facilitator is essential to effective creativity-learning.

 

MASK trains creativity facilitators.:

 

  • What creativity and its process is
  • How creativity impacts people and society
  • What is MASK Creativity Skills Set
  • How to facilitate MASK Creativity Learning Activities
  • How to estublish and sustain MASK Creativity Learning Environment
  • To assess and report on students' creativity-learning.

 

 

 

MASK CREATIVITY LEARNING ENVIRONMENT

 

 

Facilitators' shall establish and sustain an environment that is conducive to creativity-learning. This includes them to:

 

  1. Help students to organise themselves in teams to run workshops. Teams are responsible for various tasks, for example, for displaying the learning materials in a classroom before a workshop takes place, for storing the learning materials, for making sure a space where a workshop takes place is prepared (well-lit, clean, space is cleared, etc.).
  2. Encourage a positive emotional climate at workshops. Both facilitators and students must adhere to the Koinonia Principles which are: 1. 'friendship and collaboration', 2. 'openness and honesty', 3. 'curiosity', and 4. 'suspension of judgement' (belittling of ideas is prohibited; 'crazy' and 'half-baked' ideas are encouraged). The Koinonia Principles should be reiterated before each workshop. takes place.
  3. Ensure the learning activities are: 1. simple but challenging, 2. highly visual, 3. focused, dynamic and enjoyable, and 4. relevant to students. Facilitators explain the connection between the activities and the skills learned. The learning activities can take place both indoors and outdoors.
  4. Ensure that students have adequate time for developing their creative responses. Facilitators do not intervene too early in students' creative process. They carefully observe students' engagement with any learning situation.
  5. Stimulate students' attention by the open-ended questions such as 'what can be?' and 'what if?' and thought-provoking stories about creative behaviour. If possible, facilitators should demonstrate their own inner dialogue during a creative process. They encourage the evaliuated risk-taking and making mistakes.
  6. Provide students with opportunities for success early in learning in order to motivate them, ensure their satisfaction and enjoyment. They should build thier enthusiasm and creativity-confidence and foster self-worth and self-esteem. Playfulness, good-humour, a sense of fun, as well as cheers, praises, rewards, acknowledgement of students' efforts and constructive feedback are essential to effective creativity-learning.
  7. Help students to organise regular exhibitions of their learning outcomes after each workshop. The format of the exhibitions can range from a display in a classroom to a exhibition/performance at a local community or a national and international institution.
  8. Ensure good discipline at workshops: good attendance, focused activities, efficiently-used time and learning materials.

 

 

 

Facilitators should encourage students to:

 

  • Choose their own learning activity (for example, painting, designing, dancing or singing)
  • Collaborate with each other
  • Experiment and invent
  • Accumulate as much knowledge as possible in and outside school

 

 

Facilitators must avoid:

 

  • Being distant and formal with students
  • Lacking humour and playfulness
  • Reprimand and criticise students
  • Poor time-keeping and poor organising
  • Workshops lacking focus and structure
  • Political, religious or ideological bias.

 

 

Facilitators assess:

 

  • How actively students participate in workshops
  • Novelty, originality and scope of ideas of students
  • Leadership and entrepreneurial skills demonstrated by students (CEL workshops)
  • Students' self-assessment forms and photo/video diaries to encourage them to take responsibility for their own creativity.

 

 

Facilitators record in a logbook and photo/video log:

 

  • Learning activities
  • Students' participation (attendance, involvement)
  • Feedback and suggestions.

 

 

What our facilitators have said:

 

  • "We help students to discover their hidden talents."
  • "We stimulate children’s creativity."

Creativity is what separates those young people who are prepared for the rapidly changing work and life environment in the 21st century, and those who are not.

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