Awaken Genius
GOFUNDME Campaign  

Every Child Wants To Be Successful
 is LIVE  

Are Pupils "Excluded"
From Learning?

Persistent disruptive behaviour is the most common reason for exclusion from school accounting for approximately one third of all permanent and fixed-term exclusions (DfE,2019a). According to the Timpson Review of School Exclusion, the rate of both temporary and permanent exclusion is highest among Black Caribbean and Gypsy/Roma and Traveller pupils, and 78% of permanent exclusions issued during secondary school were to pupils who either had special educational needs, were classified as in need or were eligible for free school meals. 11% of permanent exclusions were to pupils who had all three characteristics. (DfE, 2019b) While few studies have quantified the prevalence of trauma among young people who belong to these groups, there is evidence that social, educational and intellectual disadvantage, and belonging to a racial or ethnic minority are risk factors for trauma (Brewin, Andrews & Valentine, 2000; Hatch & Dohrenwend, 2007). There is evidence that trauma exposure leads to poor regulation of the stress response system and this, in turn, can lead to impulsivity and poor emotional control (Tarullo & Gunnar, 2006; Bright & Thompson, 2018). As a result, young people with trauma histories are more likely to respond to subsequent stressful experiences with internalising or externalising behavioural problems (Milot, Éthier, St-Laurent & Provost, 2010; Grasso, Ford & Briggs-Gowan, 2012). Challenging behaviour and trauma are associated.

Young people who show challenging behaviour are more likely than average to have been exposed to trauma. Furthermore, there is evidence that, in some cases, challenging behaviour is a symptom of trauma.

Anxiety in the Classroom 

Anxiety manifests in a surprising variety of ways in part because it is based on a physiological response to a threat in the environment, a response that maximises the body’s ability to face danger or escape danger. In addition, anxiety can also make children aggressive. When pupils are feeling upset or threatened and don’t know how to handle their feelings, their fight or flight response to protect themselves can kick in — and some children are more likely to fight. They might attack another pupil or a teacher, throw things, or push over a desk because they’re feeling out of control. It’s not uncommon for children with serious undiagnosed anxiety to be disruptive at school, where demands and expectations put pressure on them that they can’t handle.

Limbic System Therapy in Education 

The limbic system acts as a control centre for conscious and unconscious functions, regulating much of what the body does. In some ways, it connects the mind to body, bridging the gap between psychological and physiological experiences. For example, by activating the freeze, fight or flight response, the limbic system triggers a physical response to emotional experiences such as fear. The limbic system helps the body learn and remember information. It also plays a role in regulating cognitive attention. 


Awaken Genius uses the limbic therapy in learning which helps the brain form deep and meaningful new memories in order to rewire children’s automatic response towards learning as a threat - using the multi-sensory learning approach targets the part of the brain that is feeling and reacting automatically; and creates a new experience which contradicts what that part of the brain has learned through trauma. As a result, the new experience can change the way a child with a trauma history respond. This is achieved by incorporating the participatory creative arts and a classroom community to enable children to develop deep bonds and create a safe and secure learning container before academia is introduced. 

 

Polyvagal Theory 

Awaken Genius uses the Polyvagal Theory – Which is a powerful tool in neuroscience and psychophysiology used to understand how perceptions of safety/threat influences our behaviour, often outside of our awareness.

Polyvagal Theory provides the evidence that it is not educationally valid to simply add a creative activity to a lesson and expect children to develop their creative skills; pupil’s physical and emotional state must be conducive beforehand.

 

Awaken Genius lessons are designed to not activate a sensation of threat or risk, thereby maximising the opportunity for learning. Pupils are able to find opportunities in finding social solutions – children will be able to practice turning to their peers for rescue, whilst simultaneously being taught how to rescue their peers. The Awaken Genius curriculum allows flexibility so that teachers can ‘hold’ the emotions of the group or individuals in a safe space without adding to the anxiety.

Workshop Video 

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Creative Design

GIVING

life to

learning.

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Students feedback to
Awaken Genius Programme 

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Community & Belonging
is the Opposite of Trauma

Below, is a list of our creative and collaborative classroom methods and its benefits:

Learn With Fun:
 There is a creator in all
of us! Creative and collaborative classroom communities provide an opportunity for pupils to learn, whilst having fun and to take creative risks. Our teaching activities, such as storytelling and drama enables pupils to learn without the pressure of learning. Children are naturally fun loving, therefore including creative activities alongside Maths and English, increases their appetite for learning. Fun filled, peer collaborative activities will be an ongoing feature throughout our AG journey; also, creative thinking and reflecting in groups as well as supporting pupils to learn about accepting others’ ideas.
Improves Focus and Attention:
The average attention or concentration of a child is just a few minutes.  Mainstream school teaching methods may cause pupils to lose their focus midway; hence, including creative and collaborative teaching strategies are sure to improve pupils focus and attention - consequently, study time would be more productive. Incorporating collaborative, memory activities as well a more flexible and fluid classroom environment will greatly improve pupils' attention span.
Freedom of Expression:
Our creative classrooms provide pupils with the opportunity to express themselves; whether during classroom discussions or field trips, pupils are able to voice their inner thoughts; allowing them to participate in their learning, without fear of being shut down. This freedom of expression, gives pupils a sense of goodness and happiness. Contributing in their learning journey, also gives pupils a sense of satisfaction. A creative and collaborative approach to learning makes pupils more open to take new learning risks that come their way and also gives them a feeling of accomplishment and pride.
Emotional Development:
 We are all inherently creative. Creative expression is important
for a child's emotional development. Most importantly, it needs to happen during their primary school years so that they can mature by responding well to the happenings around them. Creativity gives children that freedom to explore their surroundings as well as to learn new things from them. Pupils long for a classroom setting that helps them to explore freely without boundaries. When encouraged to express their emotions creatively and appropriately in their classrooms, their levels of confidence  levels will also increase.
Enhances 
Thinking Capability: 
Creativity can stimulate imaginative thinking capability in pupils. Hence, we promote activities such as open-ended questions, creative and collaborative community, bonding activities, brainstorming and reflection as part of the framework. As a result, this enables pupils to learn with fun and ease. Weaving in the creative arts will keep pupils interested and engaged in the learning - this organic, learning environment gives pupils the pleasure of creativity. The open-ended questions opens pupils up to a world of imaginative thinking, allowing them to come up with creative responses.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety: 
Mainstream schools are becoming increasingly stressful, with standardised testing being a feature at primary school level and throughout the educational journey. 
Alternatively, our classroom community is set aside for creativity woven between strenuous examination study times in the mainstream school setting, in order to reduce stress. The fun activities relaxes pupils, thereby reducing anxiety, enabling them to prepare for and excel in their exams. Adopting a pupil centred approach, allowing room for visualisation and reflection also reduces pupils' stress. 
Boosts Problem Solving Skills:
Our creative and collaborative classroom communities develop pupils' problem-solving skills. Creativity can alter the way pupils approach a problem. After experiencing our creative learning environment sessions, pupils  become impressively, optimistic. Creative problem-solving is encouraged by empowering pupils to think out of the box and be more imaginative and innovative - the problems (or opportunities) are redefined by the pupils, hence the solutions or responses become more innovative.
Better Communicators: 
Our collaborative classroom community promotes creativity and opens pupils up to a whole new world of communication! Pupils conduct better conversation, stimulating innovative thinking/talking sessions in their free time - this also triggers collaborative problem-solving and shared learning; giving pupils a sense of community. Classroom discussion and reflection helps pupils to think creatively as well as understand and welcome others’ views. This kind of shared creative learning experience encourages pupils to open up to one another in order to develop as better communicators.
Follow
Passions:
Working out their passions in addition to excelling in academics is important for pupils to become successful in life. Our creative and collaborative classroom communities give space for pupils to explore their passions; whether it is music, dance, poetry, drawing or other art forms - this provides pupils with a sense of happiness, which enables them to approach academics with a free mind.
Future Opportunities:
Our creative and collaborative visual aides encourage pupils to visualise their goals and timelines with their minds eye; inspiring them to 'see' their potential and future goals. We provide a platform for pupils to envisage how successful they can become as they develop academically as well as chronologically. The skills and the confidence gained throughout their school days impact the way pupils advance in their future careers. In fact, creative persons have the upper hand in triggering future opportunities over those with a mere academic skill set. 
Innovative Mindset: 
 Our framework provides a space for open-ended questions and classroom community discussions, which are two popular creative learning strategies that support pupils to develop an innovative mindset. Pupils have opportunities to think more critically about the question or subject and come up with innovative ideas. This 'pupil friendly' classroom reflection also aids pupils to think decisively about others’ ideas and contributions, while thinking critically to produce something innovative. Our stimulating classroom setting is colourful and vibrant rather than black and white, encouraging pupils and teachers to engage in some fun and humour between lessons.
Drive Lifelong Learning: 
We empower pupils to develop a creative mindset as well as a desire to learn new things. Our creative and collaborative classroom communities provide the scaffolding to build curious mindsets because a curious mind is ever learning.
Classroom Communities: 
When pupils work in collaboration towards a common goal, learning becomes an activity valued by peers.
In addition, pupils are motivated to help one another learn; translating the teacher's language into "student language.”
Pupils, who are able to explain tasks to one another, are effectively, strengthening their own learning as they are required to organise their thoughts in order to explain them to classroom, community members; they must engage in thinking that builds on other ideas (cognitive elaboration), which greatly enhances their own understanding.
Classroom community members can also provide individual attention and assistance to one another.
Moreover, regular and constructive collaborative, classroom community groups supports pupils in mastery of material, exam preparation as well as better performance in examinations.