260 schoolchildren, 35 teachers and 270 adults took part in MO Museum’s together with the British Council in Lithuania project “Visual Thinking Exchanges through Art” representing their respective communities. Educational sessions are based on a method created by a MoMA’s educator and a psychologist. During them the participants were developing main competences which are necessary in the 21st century.
The goal of the project was to develop participants’ critical thinking, creativity and communication skills. MO educators were aiming for this with the help of modern art and the visual thinking strategy that is used in MO Museum’s educations. All these three competences are considered to be significant for being a full-fledged member of the society.
Visual abilities strengthen human's perception of the world
“Reducing regional and national minority exclusions, making their involvement in the social life as great as possible, cherishing the feeling of solidarity are important aims of this project. To reach all these goals MO invoked the visual thinking strategy from the educational sessions. Scientific researches have proven that visual thinking strategy not only develops creative thinking but also helps to raise critical thinking skills, encourages people to reflect their environment and react to the changing world faster. These abilities are relevant for the development of civil society with assurance of active involvement of all its members”, says Milda Ivanauskienė, MO Museum director.
The value of visual skills to the world’s perception is also emphasized by one of the MO educators Karen Vanhercke which also had a hand in this project: “The way we think about things and the world is based on visual skills primarily. Visual impulses and sensations dominate all the other sensations. We are developing our visual literacy in schools and museums with the help of discussions about pictures and we are aiming to strengthen critical thinking, creativity, reflection skills.”
She also mentions that MO’s visual thinking strategy method develops children’s and adults’ cognitive abilities and enhances reflection skills.
We are developing our visual literacy in schools and museums with the help of discussions about pictures and we are aiming to strengthen critical thinking, creativity, reflection skills.
Video story of the project
We invite you to watch a video reviewing the whole project. Here you can hear MO Museum educators, representatives from the communities and the children talking about their experiences.
The results were being estimated
MO educators’ invitation to look at the artworks without any preconception allows people to think about art confidently.
The educational sessions of the project were continuous therefore it was possible to follow the change of participants’ attitudes and estimations. We noticed that 80% of the participants felt a change during the continuous sessions: they started expressing their opinion more openly and fearlessly, discussing freely not only about artworks but also about relevant questions of the present time.
During the project MO educators noticed the enhancement of communication, critical thinking, creativity, reflection skills of both adults and children. During the final sessions the participants were saying that communication, public speaking, critical thinking skills were the main things they developed the most.
In summer the project was most intensive in adult communities. Tatars’, Moldavians’, Jews’, Russians’, Poles’ communities were searching for new experiences in the museum. MO educators went to meet different communities outside the museum as well. They were in Ignalina, Kybartai, Marijampolė, Trakai, Šalčininkai, Šilutė, Švenčionys, Švenčionėliai, Visaginas.
In autumn the project moved to various 9 schools from the capital city and more distant districts of Lithuania.
During the continuous educational sessions, adults and schoolchildren together with MO educators were practising the main principles of the visual thinking strategy. By applying them they were developing their visual literacy, critical thinking, creativity. By doing various tasks the participants could get acquainted with each other, develop their communication and public speaking skills and get inspired in the museum space.
Age doesn’t matter to this project. All the sessions are based on a dialog between the participants and the educators therefore each session might be very unique and different. Participants interpret artworks differently, with various feelings about them so it’s a great incentive to analyze a variety of topics.
How do the participants feel about this project?
“I saw myself through another person’s eyes”, “It was like a therapeutic session when we were free to analyze and ask questions”, “Each of us found something new inside ourselves”, “We were free and without any preconceptions, unlike in real life”. These were the emotions the participants shared after MO Museum educational sessions this summer.
Schoolchildren which participated in autumn were happy with having an opportunity to visit MO Museum, try different and unusual educations and most importantly – say personal opinion fearlessly, learn to accept different attitudes and get acquainted with others.
“I got acquainted with my classmates better, everyone became more friendly and it seems to me that everyone understands each other better. Here it is possible to communicate without being afraid of saying your own thoughts,” said one schoolchild from the educational sessions.
It was like a therapeutic session when we were free to analyze and ask questions.
Educational project “Visual Thinking Exchanges through Art” is a part of the “People to People” program and is organized collaborating with the British Council in Lithuania.