Israeli expert helps students in Usti Region develop creativity and mathematical thinking
The method of Israeli expert Opher Brayer, which is being used to develop creativity and mathematical thinking in children in the Usti Region, is producing its first successes. At the Rethinking Education conference, teachers from selected schools presented the results they achieved during the first semester using the so-called Stages method. The Innovation Centre of the Usti Region is helping to get the project off the ground.
The conference included a demonstration of the method as applied during normal teaching at the Nestemicka primary school in Usti nad Labem. “We’ve been testing this system of innovative and dynamic education since October in two primary classrooms, one a special class for children with developmental dysphasia, and the other a regular fifth-grade class. Namely in the special class we’ve already seen a lot of progress in the students and will work to expand Stages into other classrooms,” says the schools’ director, Marie Capova.
“The method gives children a fixed system and at the same time develops their creativity and gives them room for discovery. Their thinking and analogical reasoning are faster. For me, the Stages method also completely changes the traditional student-teacher relationship and the characteristics typically associated with it. In the exercises we do, the students often outmatch me. And that’s just great,” says Ivana Koprivova of Molekula, an Usti community school for home education.
The method is also being tested in Mnichovo Hradiste at a primary school specialising in education for children with learning disabilities. “The progress in our children has been unbelievable – they’re more creative and more tolerant toward themselves; they come up with their own combinations and approach the work with keen interest. I’ve dubbed Stages ‘sense-filled learning’, and I think it’s the first method that can truly advance our students,” says teacher Zuzana Hladikova.
The Stages method combines development of mathematical thinking with creativity and uses play and complexity to develop the individual as a whole. Each day within the framework of their normal curriculum, students spend 20 minutes playing prepared exercises, of which Opher Brayer has over 14 thousand based on various disciplines such as karate, dance, maths, comics drawing, music education, and others.
“The Stages method has big potential for so-called machine learning and readies children for the changes that will affect education and economics in coming years due to the advent of artificial intelligence and robotics,” explains conference attendee and leading global expert on artificial intelligence and machine learning Nell Watson of Singularity University.
As of last October, over 500 children have been enrolled in pilot testing at nine primary schools in the Usti Region and one school each in Mnichovo Hradiste, Horice and Prague. “Starting next year, we want to have as many as 5,000 students enrolled in the project. Feedback from teachers and especially from students has been exceedingly positive,” says talent development expert and Stages founder Opher Brayer.
The Innovation Centre of the Usti Region is helping implement the Stages pilot programme in schools and has also arranged for expert testing to be conducted by J. E. Purkyne University’s Faculty of Education, the results of which should be known following the end of the school year.
Expansion of the method is just the first step in the extensive Stages project. The project was cofounded by Opher Brayer and Usti entrepreneur and philanthropist Martin Hausenblas with the goal, among others, of transforming Usti nad Labem into a Central European Silicon Valley with a strong startup scene, an IT school, and a centre of outstanding technology companies.
Who is Opher Brayer?
Renowned Israeli talent development expert, business mentor, coach, teacher. He started out as a jazz musician and teacher of jazz at a music school, where he met talented individuals and developed an interest in mathematics and the application of its principles to music education. His life changed with a visit from a representative of Disney, who had come to hear his lecture and, based on it, immediately invited him to the company’s development centre for the design and creation of theme park attractions. There, he used his method to train designers to be more creative. Since then, he has worked on multiple projects for global companies such as Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, Nokia, Osram, Orange, and others. He has created an entire range of methods for developing talent and trains top managers and industrialists in management strategies and growth processes. He also taught at the Academy of Business Intelligence of professor Ben Gilad in Boston. Currently, Mr Brayer is working on his Stages educational project, which he co-founded with Czech entrepreneur and philanthropist Martin Hausenblas.
For more on Opher Brayer and the Stages project, visit http://www.stages.global.