• Saturday, February 28, 2015

Combining creative expression and critical thinking

Labiba Adil

“It's a jungle out there and you need to be ready,” says Dr. Shamsad Mortuza, Chief Advisor, Department of English, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB). He further explains that to be able to “think right and express right” is the key. With this in mind, ULAB introduced 'Skills for Life'. For the third year, 'Skills for Life' is offering 14 courses under three categories: Learn & Grow, Create & Express, Protect & Serve. This popular campaign focuses on honing essential skills and preparing A-Level and HSC students for their next step in life.
'Skills for Life' will attempt to cultivate the ability of creative expression and critical thinking. It will do so not through traditional methods of teaching, such as lectures, but through dynamic interaction between participants. It is also an opportunity to “dispel myths” that Bangla medium students believe about English medium students and vice versa. Through such diverse interaction each will come to learn about the other's strengths.

“One might have strong verbal skills but the other could be more creative,” says Dr. Mortuza. However it is the combination of both skills that will generate creative expression. 'Skills for Life' is the platform for both English and Bangla medium students to learn from each other.
'Skills for Life' will engage participants with contemporary matters such as the 2014 World Cup, Gaza War etc. This will require the participants to tap into their critical thinking skills and creatively deal with challenging real-life situations. Flash fiction is another technique that will be used to merge creativity and efficient expression to create micro fiction. Rather than using classical texts, graphic novels, animation and adult fiction will be adopted for discussion.
Individual needs will also be acknowledged. All questions and queries will be answered. This makes 'Skills for Life' a good opportunity for those who plan on applying abroad for further education to ask questions about education in other countries.
“Often students who go abroad to study are required to think and express in a different way than they usually do,” explains Dr. Mortuza. Therefore this exposure to different ways of expression and in-depth critical thinking will enable these students to be flexible and adapt well to any demanding context at home and abroad.
The 'Skills for Life' campaign is an initiative which takes root from ULAB's ethos of social responsibility and commitment for change. It hopes to broaden the horizon of students and better equip them with skills which will prove to be indispensable in the future. 

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, July 17, 2014

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