Galway students bring creative thinking skills home from Denmark

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galway daily news galway students taking part in eu creative thinking project
Coláiste Muire Máthair students (l-r) Chelsea Mashasi, Oliwia Miczal, Daehan Coll and Samuel Shomefun, who attended the EU Bang project in Denmark.

A team of students and teachers from a Galway school have returned home from a trip to Denmark, where they were the only Irish students to take part in a five-day creative thinking workshop.

The team from Coláiste Muire Máthair took part in EU Bang’s Innovation Week, an initiative led by the creative leadership school Kaospilot in Denmark and supported in Ireland by The B!G Idea, Ireland’s nationwide free creative thinking initiative for students aged 15 to 19 years.

EU Bang aims to support the development of creative thinking skills in the classroom. Creative thinking is one of the world’s most in-demand skills according to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs Report 2023′.

The students went to the Educational Innovation Festival in Aarhus, Denmark to workshop with learners and teachers from Italy, Denmark, Croatia and Greece during the country’s Innovation Week.

They also worked on testing a new, open-source digital learning resource for teachers called The Learning Framework, designed to support teachers to bring creativity into the classroom.

Their teacher Sinéad Phillips said the entire experience has boosted the students’ confidence, communication skills and independence.

“The skills they have taken from the different activities and challenges will benefit them not only in future school projects but well into their adult lives,” she said.

Ms Phillips says the initiative taught her that there was no wrong way to approach a project when teaching creative thinking skills.

“We have to work to not shut down all different approaches immediately because they don’t fit the exam model. As teachers…we have to improve on scaffolding students in the approaches so they can eventually follow their own thinking to the answer.”

Student Daehan Coll, who took part in the EU Bang Innovation Week, said it is vital that young people learn creative thinking skills.

“There are many challenges in life. If young people can think creatively, this will help them to come up with solutions to their problems they might not see initially.”

He said creative thinking is about using different ways to make sure you see a challenge from all sides and perspectives.

“I have learned not to give up if I can’t find the answer on the first go. I try a different way and try to see it from another perspective so I can find a solution. I now find challenges less intimidating.”

Kaospilot worked with The B!G Idea in Ireland and three other educational institutions across Europe to develop the free, open-source digital learning framework for an EU community of educators and learners.

The framework, found at banglearningframework.eu, offers teachers a guide to bring creative thinking into their classrooms.

Creative thinking is a vital tool for students, said Siobhan Blaney, Head of Education with The B!G Idea.

“It boosts motivation, builds confidence and resilience, enhances problem-solving skills and improves academic outcomes. The B!G Idea, with its focus on equitable access to creative-thinking education, was delighted to contribute our expertise and experience to the EU Bang project.”

The Galway students and teachers will share their insights into the project at an event called ‘Exploring The Future of Youth Education with BANG’ on 10 October, which is also part of Erasmus Days, a European celebration of learning.

To register to attend the event, email siobhan@thebigidea.ie.