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Maker-Centered Learning

“If you’re going to do something, I believe, you should do it well. You should sweat over it and make sure it’s strong and accurate and beautiful and you should be proud of it” 

― Ron Berger, Expeditionary Learning


A culture of excellence and pride requires critique protocols, public audiences, models of excellence, and lots of time for multiple drafts and rehearsals. Unlike traditional education that focuses on quantity - of subjects, project outputs etc., we believe that Learners need to focus on Deeper Learning. Given intentional, expert facilitation, mentoring, time and access to the latest tools, learners build their own motivation when they witness their own high quality abilities. The process that Catalyst coaches use to encourage pride in one's work is transformative.  To this end, we have designed our program to maximize the number of hours Learners can work on projects to get into the FLOW - that moment between boredom and stress where focus is attained and intrinsic motivation is at its highest. 

Inspired by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)'s Critical Making, Catalyst Learners don't use maker-centered tools to make things after having the thinking is complete. The very process of creating opens up new possibilities for deep, expansive, thinking which stimulates the manipulation of materials to give form to ideas. Learners develop the skills to use their creativity to communicate their ideas in powerful forms while giving and receiving constructive critiques that develop lifelong ability to self evaluate, reflect on improving, articulating and evolving their ideas. 

Each Studio brings Learners the opportunity to work with different materials and tools to create artifacts, be it a play, architectural models, toys, physical prototypes, technology or services to connect with the people they observe and study to attain their goals. They experience the joy of "playing" with innovative tools while becoming facile at creative thinking, collaboration and communication. 

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