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Edu LightenUp 2021: The Building Blocks to Foster Creativity in School

Edu LightenUp, held by For Children Education Vietnam (FCE Vietnam), is a summit of 150+ seasoned and leading thinkers in Education, across sectors in Vietnam. In this conference, Dr. Nguyen Chi Hieu (CEO, IEG Consulting) guided the audience to look and discuss contributing factors to one of the most sought-after skills in the 21st Century: Creativity.


Most of the developed countries did not have mass education much before the middle of the nineteenth century. These systems were developed in large part to meet the labor needs of the Industrial Revolution. Schools base heavily on the principles of mass production: sitting in rows, working together in small chunks of time (period), taking standard outcomes tests, and such.

This system worked well for producing massive quantities of identical products.

Consequently, for those who failed to meet the stated requirements, they would be thrown out and considered defects. However, being different is the root of creativity, not being identical.


Dr. Nguyen Chi Hieu shared his insights working with school both national and international schools that the process of renovating schools cannot be done by one or two group of stakeholders. It is a multi-layered process that requires the involvement of everyone that in or is care for the Education Landscape. Here is the brief takeaways:

  1. On the foundation layer, education should create an environment that students want to learn and can learn things they want. Everything else should be based on this level.

  2. Next is the role of teachers in facilitating learning. They need resources, collaboration and trust to do this.

  3. Principals have a key role in cultivating a type of culture that let teachers do their work effectively and efficiently. To do this, they have to consider both internal factors (such as administration, budgeting, professional development, teachers' level of autonomy) and external factors (such as funding, outside experts, pressure from higher management levels).

  4. On the next level, policy makers must get involved to create types of adjustments to best assist schools in their areas they are in charge.

In the next part of this sharing session, he also shared a model on how to incorporate creativity in school settings:

At the doorstep of innovating, educators can start by holding one-day workshop on a particular "creative" subject. By this, students and other interest groups can "dip their toes" in this new approach of learning without disrupting the current mode of learning. This activity is low cost with low level of innovation. A good start.

Next thing educators can try is re-inventing the ways teachers teach existing subjects. By each level, the level of effort (Execution Levels) increases along with Impact (Level of Innovation and Effectiveness).

It is worth noting that there is no perfect example of a Creative Schools. Each school comes with its own set of values, challenges and ambitions. By practicing what suits a school's particular context, they can have there own version of a Creative School.


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