Maryam Fallah

Maryam Fallah

Art gave me wings to fly

I am an industrial designer. I have been working on ideation, sketching, painting and presentation since I was about 7 years old. My interest in art started with a painting class which was very innovative. Every summer I used to spend most of my time in the painting class. My art teacher taught me how to paint fearlessly. At the end of each summer, our works would be presented in famous galleries which had a main role in increasing self-confidence in me.
In this painting class, we would read stories or poems, for instance from Shahnameh--a famous epic literary work. After listening to the stories or poems, each child would choose a part of the story to illustrate. After initial sketches, we would paint the chosen sketches on bigger sheets or pieces of canvas which were fixed vertically on the wall. This was the complete process of learning how to ideate, sketch and present. In addition to fostering creativity, our teacher helped us develop better courage and self-confidence. By the age of eighteen I was not only a good painter but also a self-confident person who could learn valuable lessons from stories.
My painting teacher helped me through choosing the best major to study at university. After four years of studying at university, I felt like the effect of that painting class was much more than many university classes. By the last semester, I was awarded a prize in a national industrial design competition, which is held each year among design students. Solving 8 design problems in four hours in a creative way isn’t easy. I’m sure that my ability to succeed in this exam came from my painting class. By the last year of university, I was feeling like I still wasn’t a good designer but a good painter. So, the secret of indirect instruction of my painting teacher became a big question to me. I started to research about different learning methods. I understood that our schools were using old methods based on behavioral theory. In contrast, the painting method I experienced was so similar to most updated learning methods.
My painting teacher is called Marzieh Taheri Shirazi. She has studied radiology and by the first year of working as a radiologist she has felt like she has faced the end of this path. Looking for a major that doesn’t have any end, she started to study Art. She opened the first professional art kindergarten when her first daughter was about 4 and the first elementary school when her second daughter was about 6. In fact, she had understood weaknesses of current educational centers and has innovated a new art integrated teaching method.

Why do you want to be a part of the HundrED Community?

Today, I am a designer and most of my projects are dedicated to children’s products and services. Furthermore, I am an instructor who teaches design thinking and problem solving in this special elementary school. Last year, I started to write a book about innovative schools around the world. Then, I found Hundred as an impressive organization that can support educational innovations.
In my country (Iran), schools ought to follow the syllabus developed by the Education Ministry. Mrs. Tahery added her innovation as an extra-curricular course to school’s schedule. The biggest problem is that persuading parents to trust this education method is a tough job. I understood the advantages of the method only after twenty years of being exposed to this learning method. Proving the efficacy of this innovation and presenting the results of it to parents is a big challenge, as it is not endorsed by an institution. I found Hundred a great support for similar engagements and with its endorsement I hope to show this innovation is reliable.
Moreover, as a student who experienced a joyful learning and learned how to overcome stress by means of art, I would like to present this method to others so they profit from it.

How can education support students to flourish?

Education is like a dance stage and appropriate instruction gives a hand to each child to reach his or her best potential. It  should not make children dance the same way. 

So, by understanding that every child is unique and personalizing educational methods for students, we could probably be sure that every student can flourish.

What role does innovation play in education change?

Innovation gives a new taste to students so that they can learn betterand enjoy learning more . A small private school in Isfahan, Iran, uses illustration and painting to make learning enjoyable and memorable.    
In addition to compulsory courses, the school offers extra hours for mingling painting and language learning. The unique feature in this method is that children themselves are the creators of the paintings and drawings, which aim at fixing the lessons in the minds of children by targeting the long-term memory. Younger students who learn to read and write start by drawing the written word to illustrate its meaning. For instance, they draw a fish tank, using the alphabet letters in the word ‘fish’. Older students use the text of old Persian poems as well as illustration of meanings to draw pictures, and they easily memorize the poems in this manner. In fact, they illustrate their books again and each student has a completely new book after a year. Students who used this learning method could memorize every detail of textbooks even after years. The point is that they have learned with an indirect instruction and student-centered method.

Three HundrED innovations you love. (and Why?)

Aula 42



Three innovations you would love for HundrED to know about. (and Why?)

art integrated education

design thinking workshops