The Future of Innovation in Learning and Teaching in Schools 2021
On June 23rd 2021, ROMBi founder and Access 1st Director, Penny Georgiou, presented at the Institute of Government & Public Policy's showcase event; The Future of Innovation in Learning and Teaching in Schools 2021.
ROMBi is a unique block puzzle designed for using structured handplay to retrospectively resolve issues in perceptual organisation (eg, as marked in dyspraxia, but also present in many other issues in learning, work, social, emotional and physical life). The experience of diverse users continues to surprise us, adult professionals (including teachers) are reducing overwork and discovering new capabilities; pupils are doing their homework without tension or strain, others are letting go of exam panic and performing beyond expectations, and there are even unexpected synergies in the classroom in pupils as young as 6.
What learners and ROMBi are showing us was highly relevant for the theme of this event, ‘The Future of Innovation in Learning and Teaching in Schools’. This is especially so when exploring innate potential for hitherto hidden capabilities. Turning challenges into springboards of opportunity becomes a consistent feature of learning experience, with applications across many other aspects of your working lives as teachers, learners and innovators.
Penny’s work and research over the last 25 years includes:
- Experience with disabled (SEN&D) students at university, undertaking and facilitating study needs assessments, specialist advice on support and reasonable adjustments, through Access 1st.
- Setting up a dyslexia support service at a university, including placing students with SpLD with specialist 1:1 tutor. While many were making consistent progress, some were not; even with the most effective tutors.
- It turned out that the students who were not seeing a rise in effective study, (eg, in reading and research, understanding what is required of them, being able to articulate their ideas in writing, organisation of ideas etc,) were those where the diagnostic assessment had noted issues with perceptual organisation or had diagnoses of dyspraxia, (Development Coordination Disorder). The common denominator here was issues in the zone of spatio-temporal awareness.
- Experience as a psychoanalyst in practice, responding to the diverse questions and forms of suffering that people present with, including anxiety, depression, sometimes schizophrenia and paranoia, ADHD, addiction, dysphoria, identity, and many more.
Over and over, Penny and her colleagues are witnessing what students, even those facing acute challenges, are able to accomplish when we as learning facilitators approach questions and uncertainties with an open mind. What seems to be crucial in working wonders is identifying discreet adjustments that are relevant in each case.
In a time of information overload, the term ‘open mind’ can seem a big ask. Open, how? Open to what? The idea of an ‘open mind’ referred to here is a particular kind of experience, a quiet place beyond the noise. It calls for reliable ways to relax in a way necessary for becoming able to see beyond ‘the problem’ to successive steps to successful solutions.
Penny’s psychoanalytic research shows that the force of desire that cannot find creative avenues of expression is experienced as recoil, bringing the myriad unwelcome effects that we see in contemporary suffering.
Experimenting in ways that allow people to begin working on and transforming their own experience is another vital step. It sees suffering steadily yielding to a work-in-progress towards discerning how they can accomplish according to their desire. Research with structured handplay is showing accessible ways for cultivating this capability consistently.
Penny asks, at this “poignant moment of so many changes, challenges and possibilities, how can come to be best placed for navigating what is happening creatively. How can ride the waves to appreciate and benefit from the best as well as the best of our experiences?”
Simply put, she says, that “Without conducive structure, we are disoriented, overworking and overwhelmed; facing the unceasing demands of our own life – expressed in our desire for satisfaction, as well as demands coming from others. This principle goes to the heart of creative innovation, and to issues in health and wellbeing, experienced in the zones of mind, body and relationships.”
As we engage with the challenges of our times, as teachers and pupils are together building futures; from SEN&D, to mainstream, with transformative CPD tools, teachers can now explore potential as it comes within reach through structured handplay.