John is the Dean of Happy Cow, the children’s education division of Evam. In this blog he is talking about how the idea of Big Hero 6 came up!
One of our relatives came home this holiday season and we went to a famous water theme park in Chennai. They had two sons- 12 year old and 15 year old. The park has a criteria where anyone below 13 was a child and anyone above 13 was an adult. Both of them were frustrated and we had to wind the trip up and go to a different place because none of the rides were of their interest. Children’s rides were too silly for a 12 year old and adult’s rides were too complex for a 14 year old. Our relatives kept cribbing on how bad the boys are brought up and their own parents were embarrassed to even be there.
This kept me wondering why they did what they did. A lot of instances came to my mind on what exactly happens in that age. They start growing from all the child plays, but they don’t step into adulthood; they have their peers who are also in the same dilemma but keep an eye out for what their friends are doing and involuntarily succumb to the peer pressure. They are being advised on whatever they do because the adult community thinks this is the time when they get exposed to all the ‘evils’ of the world and they are right. They don’t want to be advised either. Anyone hates sentences that start with words that will advance into advises. So what do we ‘Teach’ them? Do we teach them at all? When it comes to art, I would say not.
This is the age when they want to explore and experiment on new things. They want to do it all themselves and they don’t want any adult interference. That is where this thought of Big Hero 6 dawned from. It lets them do what they want and figure what they want to do with it. It invites them to come and experience the art form. What they learn out of them is evolved from them. When I think of a puppet and develop its characteristics, I am automatically thinking empathy. When I am standing in the shadow and taking a posture to make people understand what I intend to tell them, I am learning the nuances of body language for better communication. When I am creating a story from nowhere and telling that story through an art or song or a performance on stage, I am getting better at public speaking. They are not taught. They are experimenting and coming up with their own. The art form fuels their need to do new things. Leadership learnings fall into place automatically as they experiment the art form. But hey, if they are part of the workshop interested in the art or leadership, now they have a new peer. A peer who doesn’t have a pressure because they all share a common interest.
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