At Armada, we cultivate creators.
Creators are pioneers, visionaries, and empathetic collaborators. They are boundary-busting innovators, they work across disciplines, and they’re open-minded agents of change. Creators take advantage of the many challenges and opportunities provided by the globalized world, and they invent new solutions for tomorrow’s problems.
Through research and experimentation, we’ve developed our own three-part pedagogy for helping learners of all ages become the creators they were meant to be.
In World Class Learners, Dr. Yong Zhao calls on the world’s education system to foster a new kind of young person: the global creative entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are compassionate creators who can empathize with people’s needs and build solutions, services, and products for the world’s problems. While entrepreneurship is often associated purely with business, we believe an entrepreneurial mindset is an essential quality for any undertaking. Entrepreneurs are social, economic, and political innovators who view failure as an opportunity for growth and challenges as fertile soil for discovery. Entrepreneurs realize that our life’s work should be found at the intersection of our great passions and the world’s great needs. We foster entrepreneurship by combining our key methods of mentoring, learner autonomy, and product-based learning.
BIG PICTURE CAPACITY
People with big picture capacity have a comprehensive range of skills and connect seemingly disparate areas of knowledge in their quest to find and solve problems. The world’s problems and opportunities aren’t separated into the typical silos of math, science, language, and history. Big picture ability is deeply rooted in the real world. As Daniel Pink argues in A Whole New Mind, today’s workers and thinkers must be able to perceive the symphony of the big picture amidst the everyday turmoil of small details and demands. People who will thrive in tomorrow’s world will be flexible and multifaceted, interdisciplinary and audacious. They will never see their learning as limited by a major, and their work will never be limited by their profession.
As the world grows more interconnected, communicating effectively and openly has become a fundamental skill. Our emphasis on complex communication reflects our international focus, and we work hard to grow in our ability to share, discuss, challenge, and learn from people of different cultures, languages, and ages. Meanwhile, experts like Rene Brown have shown that the “soft skills” of empathy and vulnerability are often the deciding factors in leading a happy, meaningful life. For us, the concept of complex communication strengthens our capacity to generate solutions, products, and services that people will actually need and want. Empathizing with users is one of the essential elements of design thinking, and the skills of complex communication will allow creators to connect with collaborators and like-minded people around the world.
A WORD ABOUT MENTORSHIP
Mentorship is hugely important for our approach to education, and Mentors take on many roles within the lives of Armada’s young learners: they are simultaneously guidance counselors, role models, collaborators, and friends. We don’t like to use the words students and teachers because it doesn’t reflect the relationships we build here at Armada between adults and young people – nor the dynamics of our collaborative learning process. We are committed to lifelong learning and our Mentors reflect this principle by growing their capacities alongside the children. Mentors are educators, designers, cultural workers, and researchers who help support, challenge, and guide young creators.