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Alternative forms of expression and education!

Model making to express yourself

Photo of Karine Sarkissian
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Moving abruptly to a new place is often associated with so much confusion. A new place and a new culture take time to adapt to.

A few years ago, I collaborated with an Urban Designer and Planner, James Rojas, in setting up workshops for students from various schools in Baltimore. The workshop was part of an exhibition “Baltimore: Open City”- making a statement about Baltimore as an inclusive and exclusive city (

We set up the workshops and gave students the freedom to describe to us elements that make a city welcoming. We laid out a large selection of objects, toys, wooden blocks, and encouraged the students to describe their ideal city using these objects. The came out with the most interesting analogies-we discussed their observations and together spoke about what makes a city ‘open’.

Using such alternative ways of education is a great way to get children and adults to express themselves and to learn from one another. Workshops and less conventional learning sessions are ideal from refugees that may be traumatized from expressing themselves so directly.

What if we created alternative methods of education to help refugees feel more included?


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Photo of Shane Zhao

This is a great example of self-guided learning Karine! Here are a couple more examples of how alternative teaching methods are being used to cultivate a sense of self-driven curiosity in students:

Photo of Karine Sarkissian

Thank you Shane! I'll definitely check out those posts and comment. It was amazing to see the idea and point the kids brought up. They just took piles of objects and mocked up their ideal city! Was a lot of fun as well and got them interacting with one another.