“Draw a classroom in forty seconds!” This was the most thrilling moment during my biggest presentation yet. Ministers of education from all over the world, sat together in a conference room during the Education World Forum in London.
Why have them drawing a classroom, you say?
To let them experience what the power of drawing in education can be.
A background story about what brought us there.
Most of the time our company works with adults, leading projects and hosting courses. We give these courses to share the power of drawing with as much people as possible. However the biggest challenge in teaching adults to draw, is not the drawing itself. Drawing is all about making mistakes in order to improve your idea. Yet, adults are anxious to make mistakes… How come we don’t dare to make mistakes anymore when we grow up?
We were taught to not make mistakes.
According to Pekka Peura, a teacher from Finland, this has to do with the way we construct our education. In a nutshell: you pass grades when you don’t make mistakes and vice versa. Pekka’s vision (and many other educators we have talked to) is to make education a safe place to experiment and make mistakes. The teacher creates a supportive environment in which children reflect upon the mistakes they have made. In order to learn how to learn and to keep on developing yourself with future skills.
After getting our head around what drawing could mean in an educational vision such as that, we decided to share this inspirational lecture with educators. Not only because we believe that drawing can be incredibly meaningful in expressing children’s thoughts, but also because drawing is an intercultural world-wide phenomena. Children draw a lot and it’s mostly well received after their 10th writing, reading or maths lesson. We believe however, that drawing can be a powerful tool in many different contexts, yet it often finds itself stuck in the art department.
We want to bring drawing back to the classroom.
Not just as a course, but as a tool. A tool to teach, think, present and remember. And the good news is, it only takes a pen and a piece of paper!
And so we went to the classroom. We were given a class to pilot a few sessions at the International School in The Hague by Bastiaan Schippers. As a teacher he used the drawing below to explain to basics of democracy and lead a brief class discussion to build on to existing knowledge:
Afterwards the class of nine year olds were asked to use drawing to think of democracy and how they come across situations in which they might fall back on the practicalities of it. Step by step. First they thought about all the needed objects and items that are part of democracy process such as a group, a decision and voting.
They then linked these aspects to think about complex problems like: ‘What if you would always be in the minority group?’. First individually, then sharing their thoughts building on a group thinking process. “Maybe we should sometimes step up for a minority group and vote for their plans?” The students presented their ideas by drawings, like this one:
Back to the Education World Forum.
So we were invited to the EWF in London. During this 3-day conference we visualised talks, but also gave our view on the role of drawing in education. During our 12 minutes TED-style presentation we also invited a guest, Zainab. We met her during a previous course at the Heathland School in Hounslow, London. This young woman explained to us that she wanted to become a politician and that she liked drawing to explain her ideas.
So we decided to kick-start her career and let her draw her imagined future classroom. In two minutes she gave a booming speech! As a user of the education system and – hopefully – as a future politician.
Thanks to Gavin Dykes and his team at the Education World Forum. They provided a good start for our mission: to make drawing part of education again!
If you also believe in the power of drawing and share our mission, please contact us. Maybe we can do a visual brainstorm together. Or perhaps we can give our inspirational lecture to another room full of enthusiastic people!
Get in touch!
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