Ignore it or hack it

Parents, teachers and students think about school like that: the bad students are lazy and the good grind their teeth and perform. In most cases it doesn’t even occur that learning might be a joyful creative activity that can even be attractive for the youth and not only for those who want to impress and perform. Yet a number of initiatives show that disadvantaged and middle class children can both learn with good spirit and perform better if we offer learning as an adventure and not a constraint.

Based on their own creative ideas children growing up without a family and middle class children created beautiful art together with the help of art teachers. All this happened in less than three days in the SOS Children’s Village at Kecskemét - compare this to performances rehearsed for a month before the compulsory ceremonies in several schools. At Kecskemét all children were allowed to work on the field most interesting for them, let it be music, text, dancing or video. All the children’s idea and strength were important in the final joint artwork (not only the program set by the teacher). It is not a surprise that most teenagers prefer the genre of rap or slam poetry to the poetic forms of the 19th century.

And it is also no wonder that creating something new can be much more attractive to the youth than repetition. So when the leaders of the camp asked a participant to recite one of his piece written earlier he decided instead to write a new verse in 15 minutes - and he did successfully.

Innovation and creativity is much more motivating for most children than reiterating something crammed in earlier. Sure, not all creative and learning process takes only 15 minutes. But we can expect better endurance when we make something an issue attractive to young people and they feel not only the failure but the sense of success, too. The three day camp and the recording was followed by a number of new recordings and studio works where the participants edited and developed the sounds and pictures themselves. This way they felt real ownership about the final video they have created.

Upon the initiative of Blue Line Foundation, several performances and street carnivals have been held in Kecskemét during the autumn with the involvement of young people, who will be  also helped in their career choioces and school studies. For some of the students this community, and to study or work with them is the only thing they really like and what motivates them. In a different situation they could be put in the box of lazy, bad student who doesn’t want to learn and achieve. It would be so great if we could recognize the values in other fields of life and education, and could call those to an adventure who cannot be motivated the usual way.

See the video created by the youngsters: