Encouraging creativity, an assured value at Agora International School Madrid

In 2030, more than half of today’s jobs will be replaced by machines, according to a study by the World Economic Forum. The demand from companies is tending more and more towards specialised and creative profiles. Robots will know everything about analysis, data, mathematics, science, engineering… so in the next decade everything points to there being fewer jobs in these areas. That’s ten per cent of the population. If robots are replacing us in these skills, what are the ones they can’t replicate? Read on and we’ll reveal the pillars of the future.

“Creativity is to make children think, to make them see that it doesn’t have to be that way just because it is, that a teacher or parents are not always right. You have to allow children to make mistakes and to make mistakes”, says Raúl Bermejo, teacher and author of books such as Ser maestro or Thinks for Kids. As he explains, creativity “gives them self-confidence, confidence and the ability to reflect”.

For these reasons, at Agora International School Madrid we try to encourage music and the expressive arts as much as possible, as we consider them to be key to children’s all-round development: they provide enormous cognitive and personal benefits, as well as strengthening their communication skills. In our classrooms we give a leading role to creative subjects through comprehensive arts, dance and public speaking programmes. We review each discipline and its short and long term benefits.

Programmes to contribute their skills

For example, the Music Education Project aims to provide an active experience of music. Our pupils learn a musical instrument, the violin, as part of their daily lives. The school integrates an Official Music Conservatory, the Fabordón Music School, which allows its pupils to obtain the Elementary Music Degree and to continue their studies, optionally and in a compatible timetable, to obtain the Professional Music Degree.

Through the music and excellence of the Fabordon Conservatoire, as an examination centre for Trinity College London Rock & Pop: Trinity’s most ground-breaking exams for bass, drums, guitar, keyboards and vocals, we encourage rock and pop musicians to achieve the Trinity College London qualification through the performance of carefully chosen and adapted songs from all rock/pop genres.

Developing creativity

Music helps to foster creativity, understood as the capacity or ability to pose, identify or propose problems. Creativity is approached from a double perspective as a process and as a personality characteristic. When trying to develop creativity, it is necessary to consider that habits, beliefs, skills and the social environment are involved. Each task aimed at developing creativity should be global: originality, fluency, flexibility, redefinition, inventiveness, analysis, synthesis and sensitivity to problems. Skills and abilities that are fostered every day in the classroom.

In the words of Patricia Bernabé Fernández, teacher of Visual Arts and Technical Drawing in Secundaria at Agora International School Madrid: “we believe that it is necessary and appropriate for all pupils, regardless of their academic and professional future, to be imbued with the necessary sensitivity to introduce aesthetic criteria into their lives which will provide them with personal enrichment. That is why we give special importance to the creative artistic manifestations of the pupils with continuous exhibitions of their work and we invite them to participate in interventions in the space that make the school a modern contemporary gallery. We believe that the creative exercise that a pupil sometimes carries out with a simple paper and pencil can be extrapolated to any project activity, which is why we invite pupils to create in freedom, combating creative blocking through the conscious use of tools and materials that stimulate them to generate ideas, strategies and solutions to different questions, in different subjects, in different situations, in short, encouraging a creative attitude towards life”.

In the field of expression, all our pupils actively participate in our two art studios, which set up, exhibit and defend all the school’s decoration, video installations and also gallery-wide exhibitions. In addition to the weight of the arts in the curriculum, in extra-curricular Painting and Drawing classes we teach disciplines such as charcoal, pastel, tempera, acrylic, watercolour and oil painting, suitable for all ages from 8 years upwards.

Our pupils have the Victor Ullate Roche School of Performing Arts, which also operates within the school with its Sing & Dance Project. A quality artistic education that entertains and excites them, while fostering their sensitivity, concentration and teamwork skills through extracurricular activities such as Musical Theatre, Funky, Hip Hop, Ballet and Singing and Acting.

Finally, Public Speaking classes develop communication skills for public speaking and debating in Spanish and English so that they develop into confident, organised and respectful conversationalists.

In this sense, IB students at the school will put all their primary and secondary school knowledge to the test in the Theory of Knowledge subjects, as well as the icing on the cake with the creative discipline called CAS, a programme full of activities geared towards learning on an artistic (Creativity), sporting (Activity) and/or solidarity (Service) level.

From the eyes of adults, what is the point of encouraging creativity?

In an interview with the head of creativity at Disney, Duncan Wardle says that “children think about how something could be, while adults think about how something could be, because all too often we are told that it can’t be. We are all naturally creative and come into the world with an incredible imagination. We are also intuitive by nature, a tremendously powerful tool. And curious: children ask “why?” over and over again. So far, these are the qualities that education has pushed the hardest, the ones it has said “aren’t important”, but they will be the ones that the robots of the next two decades will not be able to replicate. These four human truths, innate in all of us – creativity, imagination, intuition and curiosity – are the ones that education needs to harness and strengthen, not marginalise. They will be some of the key skills of the coming decades. To this he adds an irrefutable statement: “The biggest challenge facing education is to develop those facets in which we will not compete with artificial intelligence”.

31 / 08 / 21