Literature and Art, Design Thinking in Education
I am Shreeya Pradhan, an interior designer turned educator with a passion for children and education. After completing my Master’s degree in Interior Design, I focused my final thesis on how design can change education. This laid the foundation for my journey into education, and I began implementing my ideas by curating workshops for various institutions. My experience working with corporates, rural schools, and mental health organizations has given me valuable insights into different educational models.
I grew up in a very social environment where different perspectives and ways of thinking were always present. My parents were never strict about academics, marks, or exams. Instead, they emphasized having multiple experiences outside of school for personal development. This environment allowed me to travel, explore, and grow as an independent thinker, making decisions that have shaped me as a person.
My own educational experiences played a significant role in my decision to become a teacher. I went to a regular SSC school for 12 years, but my family’s support in exploring various subjects, sports, and extracurricular activities ignited my interest in learning. I learned about the field of design and discovered the potential of ‘design thinking’ to enhance experiences. I wanted to change the school learning experience for children, since it takes up the first and most formative years; and this seemed like the way to make it possible.
What motivated me to pursue a career in education was my love for working with children. I think they have unmatched potential, and I find it extremely rewarding to work with them. My mother, a lifelong teacher, and Kiran Sethi were huge influences in my decision to teach. Seeing their impact on students made me want to create a similar positive effect.
When I found UnSchool, I was immediately attracted to its philosophy. The freedom, variety of subjects, self-learning approach, and the potential for children to become independent learners resonated deeply with my beliefs. I feel that children can achieve wonders when curiosity is encouraged, and they are not constrained by rigid systems.
In my teaching approach, I like to create an energetic and open space where children can freely express themselves. I strive to make children believe in themselves, and I emphasize independent thinking, communication skills, and global awareness. I also aim to support them in any way they need, hoping to inspire through example.
Outside the classroom, I enjoy poetry, travel, squash, and outdoor activities. My love for these hobbies has shaped my attitude towards perseverance, optimism, and patience. These qualities have been instrumental in my teaching and my relationship with my students.
Looking forward, I have many aspirations as an educator at UnSchool. I have numerous ideas I wish to implement, including creating a space for children with special needs. I envision UnSchool as a ground of hope and dreams, and my main aim is to support any child’s dream, providing them with the necessary support to make those dreams a reality.
My journey at UnSchool is more than a job; it’s a mission to empower and inspire. With a blend of design thinking, a broad understanding of diverse learning needs, and a deeply rooted belief in the transformative power of education, I continue to shape the lives of my students. UnSchool’s vision of imaginative and independent learning aligns perfectly with my commitment to innovation, empathy, and empowerment, and I’m excited to see where this journey takes us.