What is ACTS?
Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills (ACTS) is an EU-funded education research and development project that is part of the Erasmus+ program and described as ‘a paradigm shift’ in education.
The ACTS project aims to facilitate creative thinking and maximise potential in all students through an integrated approach to curriculum development and implementation, combining the highly-focused, analytic thinking and memory training often involved in formal education with the softer focus, non-verbal experience of interconnections and context that is often found in non-formal and informal learning.
What is ACTS?
The ACTS project aims to facilitate creative thinking and maximise potential in all students through an integrated approach to curriculum development and implementation, combining the highly-focused, analytic thinking and memory training often involved in formal education with the softer focus, non-verbal experience of interconnections and context that is often found in non-formal and informal learning. EU assessors praised the ACTS project as:
- ‘forward looking’ and ‘highly strategic’, based upon a ‘solid analysis with ambitious outputs’
- ‘offering a highly credible, valid, portable alternative with results that would not be possible or desirable if developed by a single country’
- including ‘novel working methods to motivate students’
- ‘All phases of the project have been thoroughly considered and are designed to realise the project’s objectives and deliver robust outcomes’.
There are five strands to the project:
- Curriculum Development to enable and enhance an identified spectrum of Creative Thinking Skills within curricula that supports formal, non-formal and informal learning.
- Qualification Registration onto the National Framework, formally recognising and validating Creative Thinking Skills within an integrated approach to formal, non-formal and informal learning and trans-disciplinarity.
- Book Publication: ‘Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills: Educating for a creative Future’ (author: Elaine Holt) is available as a free download here. This book outlines the Creative Thinking Skills Spectrum and where they can be found, enabled and enhanced.
- Accredited Upper School Teacher Training connected to the ACTS project. A Post Graduate Certificate in the Philosophy and Practice of Integrative Education is being offered by Crossfields Institute and awarded by Alanus University, Germany. Developed by Crossfields Institute and provided currently in UK/Finland and Denmark. It is recognised by the Ministry of Education in Denmark as the mandatory qualifying teacher education course for those teaching 14-19 year olds in Steiner schools
- Conferences, Workshops and Events for on-going Continual Professional Development for teachers and School Governors, for business and higher education, explaining the theory and practice of this approach and providing assessor training.
The ACTS project has identified a key spectrum of creative thinking skills that are developed through the integrated approach currently found in Steiner Schools, and articulated these skills in a manner that can be internationally relevant, attainable and assessable.
This curriculum development creatively meets the call from higher education and the workplace for improved creativity and innovation to accompany technical expertise. In the longer term, there is also the potential to provide additional personal resources and resilience to young people, through appropriately enabling and enhancing the Creative Thinking Skills Spectrum, so that future generations have the necessary inner tools to take with them towards an increasingly complex and uncertain future.
The suite of qualifications is called the Integrated Education Certificate/Diploma/Extended Diploma and will be accredited, at UK National Qualification Framework Levels 2 and 3 (European Qualification Framework Levels 3 and 4), The Certificate includes a Creative Thinking Skills module and an Independent Project. This certificate can stand alone or form part of the Core Diploma at each level. The core Diploma, in turn, can stand alone or form part of the Extended Diploma. This will make it relevant and accessible across the widest possible demographic, including disadvantaged students. The Creative Thinking Skills module can use any content from which appropriate evidence can be drawn, alongside the independent project component, allowing schools or training centres to use this approach in a managed way alongside existing provision. This has attracted positive interest in UK and overseas. The Diploma/Extended Diploma modules have subject specific learning outcomes but with an emphasis on trans-disciplinary working, personal projects/studies and the incorporation of non-formal and informal learning. There will be no externally set exams; student work will be assessed through submission of portfolios of evidence. These qualifications will meet the need to recognise and validate achievement that is most efficiently gained through an integrated variety of formal, non-formal and informal learning. In an increasingly mobile world, these qualifications and the elements within them will be portable. The awarding body is Crossfields Institute (UK), an awarding organisation recognised by Ofqual.
The UK regulator, Ofqual, has granted Sector approval (with no preconditions) to Crossfields Institute for ‘Foundations for Learning and Life’, which is the appropriate sector for these qualifications. This would place them onto the register of regulated qualifications in the same sector as the International Baccalaureate. Crossfields Institute (the awarding body) will be responsible for completing due diligence and meeting all the necessary regulatory requirements.
THERE ARE FIVE PARTNERS WORKING TOGETHER ON THIS PROJECT:
- Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship (UK)
- Steinerskoleforbundet (Norway)
- Steinerkasvatuksen liitto (Finland)
- Sammenslutningen af frie Rudolf Steiner skoler i Danmark (Denmark)
- Crossfields Institute (UK) – the awarding body for the qualifications.
The content and context of the Creative Thinking Skills Spectrum is now available as an easily understood and digestible publication suitable for practical use and wider academic dissemination, in the form of a book available here. The author and project designer, Elaine Holt, has provided the working definitions, interpreted from successful Steiner Waldorf pedagogy, which have become the foundation for the suite of qualifications. It is intended that the book will become available in early 2019.