Inspiring Education: Unleashing Creativity and Core Competencies with the Institute of Imagination
Carrie Anne Philbin MBE, Director of Learning

As educators, we have a remarkable opportunity to shape the future generation. In the pursuit of cultivating well-rounded individuals, we work hard not only to teach children subject specific skills and knowledge but also to unlock their creativity, nurture curiosity, and foster critical thinking skills. It is in this context that the Institute of Imagination (iOi) strives for a transformative approach to education.

The Eight Core Competencies:
Our late, great patron, Sir Ken Robinson taught us that ‘Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world’. From this ideal of what education and learning could be, eight core competencies were highlighted in his book, ‘Imagine If…’ that form the foundation of a holistic education. These competencies are curiosity, creativity, criticism, communication, collaboration, compassion, composure, and citizenship. The iOi’s approach to STEAM education is designed with these competencies, providing educators with a framework to inspire and develop well-rounded individuals. We believe in cultivating a generation of imaginative thinkers and problem solvers, through hands-on learning, creative exploration, and interdisciplinary experiences. By seamlessly blending arts, sciences, and technology, our activities foster an environment that encourages children to embrace curiosity, unleash their creativity, and develop the critical skills required to navigate an ever-evolving world.

You can download a poster of the 8 core competencies for your classroom here.

The core competencies don’t begin and end with our work, you can leverage these core competencies in your classroom. Here are some suggestions:

– Encourage students to ask questions about the concepts and phenomena they encounter during the school day.
– Provide opportunities for exploration and hands-on experiences that spark curiosity and promote inquiry-based learning.
– Integrate real-world problems and challenges into the curriculum to ignite students’ curiosity and inspire them to find solutions.

– Foster a classroom environment that values and celebrates imagination and creative thinking.
– Provide open-ended projects where students can generate their own ideas and solutions.
– Encourage students to think outside the box, take risks, and explore multiple possibilities.

– Teach students how to analyse and evaluate information and ideas in a thoughtful and reasoned manner.
– Incorporate opportunities for students to present and defend their ideas, supporting them in developing persuasive arguments.
– Encourage respectful debate and discussions where students can critically assess different perspectives and viewpoints.

– Provide opportunities for students to communicate their thoughts, ideas, and findings through various mediums such as oral presentations, written reports, and multimedia projects.
– Teach effective communication skills, including active listening, clear articulation, and the ability to tailor communication for different audiences.

– Design group projects and collaborative activities that require students to work together, sharing ideas, and combining their strengths.
– Teach skills such as active listening, compromise, and conflict resolution to enhance effective collaboration.
– Foster a positive and inclusive classroom culture that promotes teamwork and encourages students to value diverse perspectives.

– Incorporate activities that promote empathy and understanding, such as exploring real-world issues and their impact on individuals and communities.
– Encourage students to consider the social and ethical implications of their projects and how they can make a positive difference in the world.

– Integrate mindfulness exercises or reflection activities to help students develop self-awareness, emotional regulation, and personal balance.
– Create a supportive and nurturing classroom environment where students feel safe to express their emotions and seek support when needed.

– Encourage students to engage with their local community and identify ways they can contribute to its betterment through their knowledge and skills.
– Integrate projects that address social and environmental issues, fostering a sense of responsibility and active participation in society.

By intentionally incorporating these core competencies into your curriculum, you can create a holistic learning experience that goes beyond subject-specific knowledge and empowers students with essential skills for lifelong learning and success.

iOi School Programme
You can see how we teach with these core competencies through our immersive School Programme designed to bring our innovative approach to your classroom. Through workshops, hands-on activities, and collaborative projects, students are engaged in a dynamic learning experience that fosters the core competencies. And the best news is that it is free! You can sign up for our school workshops and discover more here.

Online Teacher Development and Resources
We additionally provide a comprehensive range of online teacher development resources, to help you learn more about our approach. These resources offer practical guidance, lesson activities, videos, and innovative teaching strategies to help educators integrate creativity and interdisciplinary approaches into your classrooms. You can also connect with a vibrant community of like-minded educators, to exchange ideas, access valuable resources, and gain ongoing support from iOi’s experienced mentors. You can access our free content and community for teachers here.

Unlock the potential
Incorporating the Institute of Imagination’s approach and the eight core competencies into STEAM education can revolutionise the learning experience for students and educators alike. By embracing curiosity, fostering creativity, promoting collaboration, and nurturing compassion, we can empower students to become lifelong learners, critical thinkers, and agents of positive change. The iOi’s School Programme, online teacher development initiatives, and rich array of resources provide invaluable support in implementing this transformative approach. Let us embrace the power of imagination and work together to inspire a new generation of innovative thinkers who will shape a brighter future. Discover the possibilities with the Institute of Imagination and unlock the potential of education. 

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