Aayesha Fazal focuses on a Migration, Youth and Children Platform. She is one of our seven jury members of the Hackathon. We were curious about her learning journey. Find out what she said.
“I started my journey as an educator in early childhood settings. Young children can teach us so much about the human condition in their unabashed authenticity, but inevitably you see this wane as they are taught to practice behaviour that allows them to be ‘manageable’ in the classroom. Being a part of this structure gave me the opportunity to really reflect on my school experiences, how my environment responded to me and how it moulded me.
I grew up as an international school student in Singapore and was provided with an extremely privileged education. For a long time I perceived it to be an idyllic space for people of different backgrounds to exist together, but inevitably I had to come to terms with the pressure of cultural homogenisation and the judgement that came with not conforming. While understood as progressive, the system of these schools came from cultures and mindsets that did not reflect their local context, and in a post-colonial world this isn’t generally seen as a problem. My disillusionment with the idea of ‘school’ heavily informed where my passion for education (as I chose to perceive it) took me.
I now work outside of traditional school structures, in spaces where learning and community building go hand in hand. Across contexts of privilege and access, from refugee youth to international school students, I appreciate the opportunity to work with young people that are most confronted with the pressure to reject their identity in order to be successful. I’ve learnt that empowerment is a key not just to academic potential, but also to well-being, healthy aspiration and fulfilment.”
Aayesha, what do you think we need to keep, develop and bin to create learning for 21st century learners?
I appreciate the growing focus on social emotional learning, individualized learning, and inclusivity. I believe that the most important skills that learners develop are the ones role-modelled in the environment around them. I think an important development that is happening in education is the shift away from change exclusively through curricula, and instead an emphasis on the learning culture and the importance of empathy and mutually respectful relationships.
You can find Aayesha on LinkedIN