“Creative Schools” should focus on these 8 C’s

I’m currently reading Sir Ken Robinson‘s latest book, “Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution that’s Transforming Education” and he sums up what schools should focus on with these 8 C’s. Forego ABC’s or forget the 3 R’s, these 8 C’s are the core competencies that children should be able to develop and wherein all curricula should focus on:

CURIOSITY: The ability to ask questions and explore how the world works

Remember when all we hear in the classroom is the teacher’s voice because we were told to keep quiet the whole time? The learning process is a 2-way street. Encouraging learners to ask questions in the classroom, deepens their curiosity and makes them more engaged in the topic being discussed.

CREATIVITY: The ability to generate new ideas and to apply them in practice

The most downloaded and watched TEDTalk is Sir Ken Robinson’s “How Schools Kill Creativity”. Let’s be part of the statistic and watch it because it sums it all up..

CRITICISM: The ability to analyze information and ideas and to form reasoned arguments and judgments

Schools should focus more on critical thinking rather than information. Robinson says that they should be data-driven and not data-informed. Kids these days are in the middle of information explosions. They are bombarded with so much information online and even offline. They need to strengthen their critical thinking to know how to make use of these data, how to incorporate it correctly in his life and how to determine the truth from fallacy.

COMMUNICATION: The ability to express thoughts and feelings clearly and confidently in a range of media and forms

Children should be able to communicate their thoughts and express their feelings well. They should also be allowed to express it not just in written and verbal form but also in other media like the arts, dance, theater, etc.

COLLABORATION. The ability to work constructively with others

Children are social beings and an important skill is for them to be able to work/play well with others. Bouncing off ideas with one another not only strengthens their social domain, but also encourages good communication and critical thinking.

COMPASSION: The ability to empathize with other others and act accordingly

Major behavioral problems like bullying, prejudices, and violence stem from the inability of a child to empathize with others. Together with Collaboration, schools should have a culture of Compassion all the way from teachers being able to understand the plight of their students up to students being sensitive to the needs of the people around them. A lot of times, Conduct is only based on how the child behaves in the classroom, during class. Conduct is how a child conducts himself whether the teacher is looking or not.

COMPOSURE: The ability to connect with the inner life of feeling and develop a sense of personal harmony and balance

There are a lot of cases these days of children going through depression, anxiety and severe stress. Children need to develop not only compassion for others but also compassion for themselves. Schools focus more on the outside world when there is an inner world that kids dwell in daily which is built by their ability to control, understand and connect their feelings with what is going on around them. Socio-emotional development should be as important as cognitive development which is why schools should have programs that encourage kids to digress, step back, assess and express how they feel.

CITIZENSHIP: The ability to engage constructively with society and to participate in the processes that sustain it

The progressive theorist John Dewey said, “Democracy has to be born anew every generation, and education is its midwife.” Children should be sensitive to the current events of the world around them be able to understand and have an opinion on their rights, on the responsibility of government and the laws that protect them. Schools should not just talk about this in Social Studies but rather develop a sense of citizenship (not necessarily conformity) and love of country.

5 Ways a School can handle a Calamity.. and L.A.R.O.!

It’s the calm after the storm. The Philippines has been ravaged by Storm Ondoy/Ketsana and Storm Pepeng/Parma. Statistics show that rainfall during the 2 storms even surpassed Hurrican Katrina. Over 500,000 people are affected and/or displaced from their homes.

How should Schools handle a Calamity like this?

1. Give. A school belongs to a community, to a country, and the world. Whatever happens around it, has a direct effect on the school, if not its students. After a tragedy like Ondoy strikes, a teaching moment rises to send an important point to the students.We encouraged all our families to bring in any relief goods they can bring.

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2. Talk about it. During the meeting this morning, it was decided that Homeroom time for the Graders is Storm Talking time. Children sometimes hide their feelings during stressful moments. The teachers were tasked to encourage the children to either talk about or draw their experiences. After the activity, a lot of emotions and thought were unsurfaced from the students that even their parents weren’t expecting. Giving them a chance to air out their feelings, will make them cope faster and better.

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3. Reach out to other schools. We are blessed that our school in the Quezon City area was not affected by the storm. However, a lot of public and private schools in the Marikina, Pasig and Cainta areas were either flooded, filled with mud or totally destroyed. Our local newspaper has reported that the storm damage on schools already reached 73 Million pesos. Also, reports are pouring in of students losing all their books and supplies to the flood.

Our school organized a relief effort called L.A.R.O. Laruan, Aklat at Regalo para sa mga batang nasalanta ni Ondoy (Toys, Books and Gifts for the children ravaged by Storm Ondoy/Ketsana). It started as an effort to give learning materials to child evacuees and has transformed to an effort to not only give children but also schools totally destroyed by the storm. If you’re interested to join, check out the Events Page in Facebook.

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4. Prioritize. After a nationwide crisis like this, frilly events can be cancelled for more important ones. We decided to cancel our yearly Costume Day (or Halloween) to make way for a relief drive. Simpler is better in times like this.

5. Take care of your families. At the start of the storm, teachers reached out to their students by asking if they were directly affected by it. We were able to determine whose houses we can help in cleaning or whose notebooks and supplies we needed to replenish.

The most important thing that this calamity has proven is the resilience of the Filipino people. If your school was not a victim of the storm, be a blessing to the others who have bowed down to it destruction.

If your school needs help, contact  L.A.R.O. at info@nest.ph or at 0920-952-3825. You may bring your donations for the children and schools at 92 Matahimik St., Bgy. Malaya, Quezon City, Philippines. If you want to give through PayPal, please click the Donate button. Be a blessing!