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Art, Education and Entrepreneurship course’s pinnacle at Learning Center, Aalto University. Photo: Enlighten Image: Jaeseong Park
I am Hanna – doing my final year of Bachelor studies in Product Design in Estonian Academy of Arts. Despite the fact that I am studying product design, my main focus is not on physical objects. I am rather deeply interested in mixing up different subjects and fields and I see myself as the person who starts discussions and in a long run makes the change in society through design methods.
From a quite early age I found out that the school system in Estonia as it is does not support multidisciplinary studies. All the subjects at school are somehow segmented in a way that mathematics, physics and chemistry are all subjects on their own and are not interconnected. Once I understood that they all are the same systems but in different languages, I thought that there has to be a way for these disciplines to be taught conjointly. So I started digging.
As I mentioned, I am a change maker in my heart and mind, education in my belief is fundamental to make the change in the world. Topic of education is something I feel really passionate about. That is how I ended up participating in the Arts, Education and Entrepreneurship course in Aalto University’s NoVA studies in the beginning of September. I had never really worked with any kind of scholars in a programme. So this opportunity gave me a unique experience to understand how young teachers and educators work these days. For me, the most enticing topic of the course was education, but I had no idea that the experience I was about to go through would be so much more than learning something new about the field of education.
The most interesting aspect of the course was to combine art and education with entrepreneurship. It is not common that these subjects are mentioned within one sentence. Me as the person who is interested jointly in education as well as design would like to produce new educational value in society. In my opinion, entrepreneurial factor is very important in this context to generate new value for education in society. During the course, I gained confidence and found out that I have everything to be an entrepreneur myself. Before the course, I thought that entrepreneurship is mostly for business sharks and entrepreneurial talents– this is a stereotype that should not be taken too seriously.
Hanna’s group pitching their education intervention Teacherscise. Photo: Enlighten Image: Jaeseong Park
The most interesting thing about Art, Education and Entrepreneurship course was that I did not feel the kind of stress as usual during projects at school. This particular course was build up the way that student could not feel overwhelmed by expectations yet at the same time me and some of my course mates felt that somehow we were feeling excitement what is coming next. These could be useful to consider for educators to build up their courses in the future. Here are my observations, which could be useful for educators who are not using this kind of attitude and the ones who are in the beginning in their journey as educators.
Observations for Educators
- Teachers/mentors were guiding us professionally through long and intensive days. Tasks and programme were absolutely thought through so the only thing to focus on as a student was our assignments. This precise focus on our assignment gave us the freedom of thought and opened us to new ideas. Very good coordination beforehand is important to enhance student’s ability to come up with creative ideas and not get stuck.
- Positive attitude from teachers and lecturers motivates students to learn and ask questions to develop their skill set. They were always there for students, guiding, asking questions, suggesting methods, noticing students and being interested in the process.
- Partnership with cities and companies from outside is important to feel that the work you are doing is actually important and may start a discussion on a higher level. In our case it was a representative from the city of Helsinki and their feedback was truly encouraging for young people like me who are dreaming for a better change in society that are usually hard to achieve.
Being back from Aalto University I feel that after the NoVA intensive course I am more confident in studying in every meaning of the word. I will take the experience and apply it in my current studies as well as future career. Also, my competence to engage in projects within my school has increased – I ask more questions, I question “obvious” things, because they might not be as obvious as it seems. Additionally I tend to employ entrepreneurial mindset now more than ever.
Written by Hanna Ental
Visiting Product Design BA student from Estonian Academy of Arts
CIRRUS (Nordic-Baltic Network of Art and Design Education) Scholar