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Creative Connection: Children’s Creativity for Behaviour Change

Training of Trainers Collage
© © UNICEF Viet Nam/2009
Training of Trainers Collage

By Keisuke Taketani

18 September 2009
- The teachers from secondary school arriving at the Training of Trainers (ToT) of ‘Creative communication’ in central Viet Nam realized soon that there was one major difference from any other training they had attended: No chairs, no desks, no power-point presentations. Instead mats were lying around in one big circle, welcoming the participants to do story telling, painting or play games.

“This was the first time for me to receive this type of training” said Le Thi Suong, a secondary school teacher in Ninh Thuan. “The training is useful in Bac Ai district where I teach, many children are not good at learning. I think games and exercises make them laugh and study better.”

In late August of 2009, over 20 teachers from Ninh Thuan province came together for two and half days to learn about the creative process as a pedagogical tool and use creativity as a communication tool for behavior change.

Integrated Behaviour Change Communication

This training is a part of “Creative Connection”, a pilot initiative to increase awareness of some key child development issues and enhance behaviour change among school children. The initiative is part of the UNICEF supported Integrated Behavior Change Communication (IBCC) strategy.

The IBCC strategy, started in late 2007, is one of unique features of the Provincial Child Friendly Programme (PCFP) working from the actual situation and priority issues identified on the ground. In stead of working with “silo” communication activities, IBCC brings various messages and communication intervention into one set of “IBCC package”, adapted to the needs and behaviors of different audiences.

“Creative Connection” aims at more innovative and creative communication that moves away from one-way information transfer model to more participatory, self-learning approaches. As the part of the training, a matrix was developed that will enable teachers to lead students through various activities that will touch on a selected set of expected behaviors using creative tools.

The “Creative Connection” workshops will take place in three other pilot schools before year-end. As part of their after school programme, students will work on the selected key behaviors and creative tools to conduct research, art performance or develop multi media tools. In December 2009, the outcomes of activities will come together in presentations in a mini-school festival.

Child-centred approach

Child-centred approach is the key to creative processes and behaviour change communication, but it is not necessarily easy to apply at schools in Viet Nam. Current teaching techniques in most schools is rather top-down and creativity has little space in school curriculum.
“Teaching methods are traditional and not very flexible” says Nguyen Van Nhuong, Head of Primary Education Section at the Department of Education and Training. “There are limitations in the current teaching methods used in schools. To develop the capacity of teachers, we invited a group of core teachers from each school to this workshop to build their capacity and be able to apply in their class”

In Vietnamese culture children respect elderly people and school teachers. Harmonious relationship in the school and community is an essential part of life, and yet, power distance between teacher and pupils sometimes becomes an obstacle to apply creative processes and a child-centred approach.

The training of trainers is only the beginning of the journey for IBCC Creative Connection. Stay tuned for more updates of Creative Connection in the near future.



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