Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Diversity, Curiosity and Creativity in Learning

If you haven't seen Sir Ken Robinson's Ted Talks, you must see them now! In his talk titled, "How to escape education's death valley", he talks about three principles on which human life flourishes:
1. The first is that human beings are naturally different and diverse.
2. The second principle that drives human life flourishing is curiosity.
3. And the third principle is that human life is inherently creative.

Inspired by his talk, I reflected about some of the key instructional strategies that can help apply these three principles to improve the effectiveness of learning.

  • Provide different ways and methods to engage with learners. Use Universal Design for Learning principles to allow for and to support individuality.
  • Provide individual and tailored feedback and guidance whenever possible.
  • Provide multiple ways or options to complete assignments, projects or in-class activities.
  • Provide basic information and then encourage learners to ask questions. Focus on helping learners ask the right questions about the subject matter and not so much on giving all the information about the subject. 
  • Provide time and space for learners to explore, think and reflect about what they are learning. Interweave learning with reflection.
  • Provide opportunities for social learning, group collaboration and activities. Engaging with other learners can peak our curiosity about things that we didn’t think about.
  • Use case-studies, role-plays and stories that allow learners to engage with the content and imagine alternatives and possibilities.
  • Use real-life problems and keep the focus on tasks learners need to perform. Build opportunities for learners to practice and apply what they have learnt.
  • Provide diverse content and views that help break filter bubbles and allow for contradictions.

What are some of the strategies that you use to support diversity, curiosity and creativity in learning?

“Nobody else can make anybody else learn anything. You cannot make them. Anymore than if you are a gardener you can make flowers grow, you don’t make the flowers grow. You don’t sit there and stick the petals on and put the leaves on and paint it. You don’t so that. The flower grows itself. Your job if you are any good at it is to provide the optimum conditions for it to do that, to allow it to grow itself.” - Ken Robinson (Keynote Speech to the Music Manifesto State of Play conference)