Namely, to let delegates know that the standard “cells and bells” classroom experience offered by so many schools across the globe can – and needs to be – transformed.
It’s through innovative design, he says, that schools can become “learning communities”; places conducive to experiential learning. Places where kids actually want to be.
“The whole purpose of education is to create students who can navigate life on their own,” the founding president and CEO of Fielding Nair International poses.
So why do we give students less freedom and stricter hoops to crawl through as they progress up in year levels?
And why do we force children to inhabit learning spaces (and sit on cheap plastic chairs) that are designed to facilitate a model of education that harks back to the 1800s?
Both are pointed questions, and ones that the “world’s foremost authority” on innovative school design is here to offer an alternative to.
Prakash says that our obsessive focus on learning is counter productive. Instead, if we seek to offer children actual experiences, then learning becomes the collateral bi-product. Learning simply happens in spaces that allow it to, he argues.
It’s time to throw out the didactic classroom model and introduce flowing, interactive spaces that allow kids to learn and explore the world in multiple ways.
"Children don’t need to be taught to learn, they are born with that skill. It’s our job as educators to create an environment in which they thrive,” Prakash asserts.
He’s devised a poignant analogy to illustrate this: educate not like a carpenter, to build something that’s pre-determined, but like a gardener. Create the best conditions for learning, and help your students to flourish in ways that are unique to them.
“You can’t standardise a brain, so what’s the point of standardising education?” he says.