Learning Activities and Environment
MASK main learning activities are arts-based exercises, creative thinking exercises, and practical problem-solving with a focus on leadership and entrepreneurship. They are delivered through games, role-playing, and “contrived experiences” by our trained facilitators.
Art is the homeground of visual thinking, and therefore is better than any other subject for teaching to innovate. Art-based activities include painting, drawing, sculpting, making objects and toys, putting on plays, dancing, singing, telling stories, and role-playing. Students use a range of techniques and materials, including recycled and found materials.
Art connects to visual thinking in the following ways:
- Students get accustomed to visual complexity by discovering multi-layered dynamics between shapes, lines, textures, sizes, distance, and movements. They learn how to look and train visual memory.
- They analyse visual information and select it against specific goals and challenges. They learn to abstract, discern patterns of objects or events, and build structures that can be molded into new identities. They look at objects (problems) from different perspectives, and fuse images with ideas to interpret what they see.
- They form visual associations and learn to transform them. They get the opportunity to experiment, improvise, invent, prototype, connect ideas and concepts, think divergently, and deal with failure. They gain in confidence and self-esteem and learn to value an individual outlook.
Creative Thinking Exercises
All our Creative Thinking strategies and techniques, such as “De-structure Imagination”, “Form Analogies”, “Reverse Assumptions,” and De Bono techniques, are also lodged in the visual. For example, when practicing our “Make Connections and Combinations” technique, students work with images cut out of newspapers and magazines, connecting the mental associations that arise from those images.
We use the MASK Practical Creativity 5-Steps Framework to teach students the tools and mechanisms of innovation process.
Students practice solve problems that affect their daily lives following the steps:
- They state a problem in the ways that encourage creative solutions.
- They generate multiple solutions to problem in teams, mastering the process.
- They evaluate solutions against a set of criteria and practice decision-making.
- They communicate ideas visually and discover how to overcome “resistance to change” of those who might be affected by the ideas.
- They plan to implement ideas. Because creative and practical sides of innovation go hand-in-hand from start to finish, students learn to think and act creatively throughout every step of implementation. They improve organization skills, practice to form partnerships, learn to reward creativity of their team-members, and become aware of the barriers to innovation.
A skilled facilitator is essential to creativity learning.
- Ensure a positive emotional climate at workshops. They reiterate the principles of Koinonia at the start of each session (friendship, collaboration, openness, honesty, curiosity and suspension of judgment???belittling of ideas is prohibited).
- Ensure that the learning activities are simple but challenging, focused and relevant to students. Facilitators encourage experimentation and taking evaluated risks. They avoid dull instructions and help students to learn from each other.
- Ask open-ended questions (e.g., “What can be” and “What if”), tell thought-provoking stories about innovative role models, and demonstrate inner dialogue during the creative process. Facilitators aim to replace the attitudes such as “This is how we always do things” with “How do we change things to achieve improvement or breakthrough” They give students adequate time for developing their creative responses and do not intervene too early.
- Ensure that students enjoy learning. Facilitators create opportunities for students’ success early in learning, build their enthusiasm, confidence, and self-esteem. They ensure that students share their learning outcomes (artworks, performance, ideas) at exhibitions and other forms of display in schools and communities.
- Playfulness, good humor, a sense of fun, praise, rewards, acknowledgment of efforts, and constructive feedback are essential. Facilitators must avoid being distant with students, or reprimanding or criticizing them. They record any feedback in logbooks and a video/photo diary.
For more information click on the links below. For help with teacher-training, please contact MASK