This time we talk with Victoria Haro co-founder of the University of the Environment (Mexico) about what a change maker is, social entrepreneurship and creativity. You can see the full transcription of the interview below:
Creativity to reimagine the world
«The clearest thing should be that nothing is clear. Change is the only thing permanent and young people should be very creative and committed to that question.
The challenge of integral education that develops the mind, the emotional, the physical, the spiritual sounds really nice but it’s really difficult to really do it, in action, in a balanced healthy way.
Young people will have to reimagine the world. Each generation when we are young we have to do this and it has been always like that, it’s not like “that time in the world when this has been the question”, this has always been the question.
The one thing that I think is crucial is that they answer the question, not us. That’s the quid of creativity let them be creative with the question. You can put some conditions but the idea that there is a strong element of self-directed learning in all learning is crucial for creativity. Otherwise they will always be following instructions, they will be always following the designs of others.
As educators we have to provide safe and inspiring conditions for students to go and do it, go and experiment change, it’s not a theoretical thing. You need concepts, you need tools but you have to explore and experiment it.
I love the idea of gradual processes. So you start by designing rollers, skates and then a bicycle and then a motorcycle, and then a car, and then a plane…so you start little by little but you experiment all the time. I think actually is the only way. If you want to be a change maker you have to make changes start experimenting yourself.
With the idea that failure doesn’t really exist when you are student, everything is a learning process, everything is a learning opportunity so there are no mistakes, there are learning opportunities, it’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it. If you are a student is a whole point isn’t it? So, no failure.
The purpose of evaluation should be to learn and not to judge
The student has to participate in the design of the evaluation process, this is what I think is crucial. I particularly really like rubrics, where you have criteria and then you have like a gradient and there is an explanation of what each gradient means. When these are co-designed between students and evaluators and they are also co-evaluated between students they are superuseful.
So for me the most important thing is that evaluation should be in a culture of learning. So evaluation is only useful for you to learn: where are you, what others see in terms of what you present as an evidence of a process or a learning. Not for judging, not for saying you are good or bad.
Gaps years after High School for finding your purpose
I think the idea of gap years is superinteresting in the sense that between high school and university there is a process where you explore and you really ask yourself the question “what is it that I would like to start learning?”
Jumping from High School to University is very hard specially for example in Latinoamerica where you have to specialise from the beginning, there is no liberal arts college you have to decide if you want to be a layer, a doctor… So you are 18, you have no idea, it’s problematic in terms of time and resources but I think we could come up with a creative way of offering young adults a good process, at least a year process. They don’t have to go around the world like you guys which obviously would be awesome.
Change must be achieved together
«There is no change maker ever. There are change teams and change communities, it’s always a co-change process and this is important, I like the word co-change maker.
In many case social entrepreneurship has the social endeavour, the social purpose as its central mission and by achieving this it also creates economic benefits, that’s why is entrepreneurship, it’s not a NGO thing, it’s a business. But it’s a different way of conceiving business. I think this movement is trying to say all business should be social-environmental not some social and some not social.»
And a final advice for aspiring change makers & entrepreneurs…
«Do everything as it was the most important thing in the world but knowing at the same time that it doesn’t matter at all.«