Analytical thinking and innovation
- Analytical thinking: Analyzing information and using logic to address issues and problems
- Innovation: Creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas
- Analytical thinking and innovation sits at the heart of all of our activities. Each creative activity provides starting logic (Do this), after which participants are challenged to refine their activity (Try this) before being asked to devise their own personalised version of the activity (What can you do?) This may relate to any of the many creative topics we provide activities for.
Active learning and learning strategies
- Active Learning: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making
- Learning strategies: Using instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things
- Creativity: A willingness to develop and try out their own ideas
- Responsibility: A willingness to make important decisions on their own
- Autonomy: Individuals willing to learn or work with little supervision
- Originality: The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem
- Neurons excels at each of the six components listed within the active learning and learning strategies. Creativity is stimulated through participation as participants produce original "artworks" under their own autonomy (or for younger children assisted by a parent). Our activities provide the learning strategies to actively learn, and to be responsible for the learning.
Creativity, originality and initiative
- Initiative: A willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges
- Learning strategies: Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things
- Our activities encourage initiative. Every activity contains a "Try this" and "What can you do?" section purposely written to encourage participants to expand upon their original creative output. It is within these sections that true creativity and initiative flourish.
Technology design and programming
- Programming: Writing computer programs for various purposes
- Technology design: Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs
Critical thinking and analysis
- Critical thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems
- Mentoring: Monitoring performance of yourself or other individuals to make improvements or take corrective action
- Complex problem-solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions
- Critical thinking is one of the most important skill sets for all children. It is particularly important for children and young people that wish to progress in to further education. Developing the ability to critically evaluate is, for example, nurtured within our creative writing activities. Indeed the first activity within this topic - to produce a structured film review - is a perfect example of developing critical evaluation skills.
Leadership and social influence
- Leadership: A willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction
- Social influence: Having an impact on others in the community, and displaying energy and leadership
- Our existing volunteering and social action programmes are a significant part of our Neurons programme. By definition their goal is to give children and young people the chance to develop social action, or as referred to above, social influence skills and experience. Through these activities participants develop their own leadership skills.
- Concern for others: Being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful in the community
- Cooperation: Being pleasant with others in the community and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude
- Social orientation: Preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others people in the community
- Social perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do
- The development of emotional intelligence is a key developmental goal for children within schools that often goes unnoticed. Having the ability to respond to and manage challenging situations in an emotionally appropriate manner is part of everyone's developmental growth. Given that these behaviours are a fundamental part of our organisation's core values, we look to shine a light upon these within as many of our activities as possible.
Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
- Idea generation and reasoning abilities: Abilities that influence the application and manipulation of information in problem-solving
- Quantitative abilities: Abilities that influence the solution of problems involving mathematical relationships
- As mentioned previously, the "Try this" and "What can you do?" sections of a Neurons activity are designed to stimulate idea generation. Equally our STEAM activities will require quantitative abilities, plus Neurons will bring arts based activities which focus upon the development of numeracy skills for younger children in particular.
Systems analysis and evaluation
- Judgement and decision making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one
- Systems analysis: Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes
- Systems evaluation: Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system
- Of all the skills provided by the World Econommic Forum, this final grouping may appear the most complex. However, Neurons will reduce the complexity to produce activities that provide the opportunity to develop these skills within bite-sized creative activities. For example, this skill relates to "systems" and "system thinking". A system can be relatively simple, such as a song produced in GarageBand. A Neurons activity may encourage the participant to consider a GarageBand song as a "system" and to break it down in to its component parts. These could include "mixers", "instruments", "vocals" and "effects". From this understanding the participant will be able to perform an analysis of how to produce a better sounding song or melody.