by Antti Leppilampi
Original source: https://read.xamk.fi/2019/luovat-alat/how-to-find-the-hidden-talents-of-our-students/

“Our best hope for the future is to develop a new paradigm of human capacity to meet a new era of human existence. We need to create environments – in our schools, in our workplaces, and in our public offices – where every person is inspired to grow creatively.” (Sir Ken Robinson)

Those are some deep and important thoughts from this famous world-renowned creativity expert Ken Robinson. Luckily for the past years schools around the world have begun to realize that the world changes quickly so we need to change ways of teaching too.

When students graduate from high school or university they step into the world of unknown or the world filled with possibilities. It is up to us, people working at universities, to help students realize their talents and see the world of unknown filled with possibilities.

We can learn from children

An artist named Faith Ringgold loved art classes when she was in the elementary school, where her teachers gave her lots of great feedback, based on great work she did. At that time Faith appreciated the feedback, but didn’t actually understand why her teachers liked the art she was doing until she went to junior high school. There she realized teachers respected her open-minded childlike way of doing arts.

“Children do not see anything so strange and different about art. They accept it; they understand it; they love it. They walk into a museum and they are looking all around, they do not feel threatened.” (Faith Ringgold)

How can we teach this kind of open-minded thinking to our arts & humanities students?

We met together with creative experts from six EU countries couple of weeks ago to figure out what can we do together to offer students a study program which will help them to realize skills they have and how they can use those skills after graduating to find the work place of their dreams or to become entrepreneurs. At the end of the year students from Croatia, Finland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and the UK will participate in a one week program, which will be held in the University of Alcala in Spain.

There students will get to develop their ideas, show their creative skillset and expand their professional network. Our hope is to build an open mindset for students so that they don’t fear failures and see work in a more childlike way, as Faith Ringgold did. One big aim for us is also to build a new working hub for each country and to do even a larger network of hubs, which will help students to grow creatively and find work from abroad.

So how will we face the new paradigm of human capacity, which Sir Ken Robinson mentioned in the beginning of this text? We don’t necessarily need to invent anything new. Instead, we just need to bring all the creative experts together, help the students the best way we can to get them to tell us – what do they want and why, what do they fear and solve together how we can help them. Maybe then we can bring a couple of new talents to the world.