Natacha Vautour, Coordinator of Francophone Projects for Creative Labs, used several analogies during the conference she offered to the participants of the #Clair2023 event. At the heart of her speech was a big question: What if school was more than a banana bread recipe that you keep remaking?
Natacha Vautour was a French teacher for fifteen years before joining the organization Creative Labswho accompanies schools in the Maritime provinces in the realization of innovative pedagogical projects. Behind her career change, her desire to offer a school world that gives students the desire to go to school, that gives them wings.
To get there, you'll first have to give teachers wings. She goes into this with a series of questions: What if teachers were rewarded for innovating? What if teachers were recognized for what they do?
A question of value
She presented the values that she believes should guide the education system:
- Balance: let's stop "garroting" all together in trends (e.g., interactive board, programming).
- Confidence: grades do not define a child. Let's give them wings to fly.
- Bardasser: In the sense of "pattering", trying things out. Our schools are full of underutilized talent!
- Love: Every child is important.
- Work ethic: Be humble, make mistakes, learn and improve.
- Sustainability: The only thing that is sustainable in a classroom is the teacher; everything else is going to change, so focus on that.
Watch out for runners
In school settings, she says, there are four types of people (this is also true generally in society).
- Runners: Those who move forward despite all challenges, who multiply projects, attract attention; students want to be in their class, they always go beyond expectations.
- Joggers: They move pretty fast, they do one big project a year, they are efficient and meet high standards.
- The walkers: They move forward, they do what they have to do, but no more.
- Sitting: They don't move and do the minimum.
In this context, Natacha Vautour's advice is: "Give the runners wings, pay attention to them and allow them to run even faster. As for the sitting ones, they are not even worth caring about. Pay attention to them only when they are trying to infect colleagues."
At school like at Disney
In thinking about rethinking education, she took a look at the Disney "recipe" that draws crowds and has worked for years. Then she wondered if it could be applied to schools.
- Be accessible.
- Be clean, safe and beautiful.
- Attention to detail.
- Be inspiring.
- Not to be perfect, but to have more qualities than defects.
- Let the visitors interact with the actors.
- To bring a story and an experience to life.
- Offer good food.
- Choose themes that reflect your image.
She likes to "stir up ideas, not people" and continually tells the teachers she coaches to "get back to what they like to do when planning projects. "The key is to give educational value to these projects. It helps to find the why behind each one," she says.
Since many teachers ask her for project ideas to do with their students, she presented a series of projects that are currently being carried out in the creative labs of schools in the Maritime provinces:
- Include technologies in clothing
- Making mathematics visible
- Making light boxes that tell stories
- Design robots that throw treats for cats, plant trees or can play rock, paper, scissors.
- Growing electricity
- Make paper with a mushroom base or that lights up depending on the mood of the person touching it.
Natacha Vautour made a call to action to everyone at the end of her presentation: "If you want something, do it. Don't wait for others. In short, learn to run and don't stop!