Implementation of “From Disability to Creativity”(SOI-MT-270)

Author: Robert Vella – Deputy Director and Part-time Lecturer

School/Organization: Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), Gozo Campus, Malta

The LS chosen for this lecture is an adaptation of ‘From Disability to Creativity’

The reasons for ‘how’ and ‘why’ I chose this type of ‘lecture sharing/dialogue’ varies. The keywords I had in mind were: inclusion, disability, critical thinking, group discussion, creativity, listening to others, and experiences. Keeping these keywords in mind this LS seemed to be very appropriate. I had in mind the class of ‘Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Years’ – students with the intent of working in an education environment with very young students. Purposefully, this type of lecture was chosen due to the importance of ‘Inclusion’ with these students since: it is a mixed-ability class, sometimes they are excluded, they will be working with diverse students, and to try to show them the importance and beauty that diversity can have in a group.

The implementation context

The Beauty of Diversity

As aforementioned this was delivered to the 1st year students following the BA (Hons) in Early Years where their units focus on Educational topics such as Philosophy, Communication, etc. in Early Years Pedagogy. Due to many reasons, already mentioned and emphasised below, the topics of Inclusion and Disability for this group are very important. The class has students with mixed abilities. Also, all students must appreciate the importance of inclusion and disability but being that these students chose a future career with very young students this topic is even more important. Likewise, I believe the importance of awareness of diversity (maybe in Malta and in particular in Gozo) still needs to be emphasized much more. The group consists of twelve students with ages from 18 to 20 years. Since the students finished their Secondary Education they have a good acquaintance with arts and science digital heritage, as the Maltese curriculum covers such topics in their History, Geography, Social Studies, Science, etc. subjects, which are obligatory for all students. Still ‘Inclusion’ – not only in a disability context, but even on a wider scale, is sometimes considered a taboo, taken for granted, and sometimes unfortunately even ridiculed.

The narrative

Prior to the Lecture:

  • Three days before the lecture day:
    • I divided the class into groups and, 
    • I asked each group to research at least 3 personalities (just in case they had the same personalities) with disabilities who made an impact during their lives and asked them to prepare themselves some points for discussion. Apart from researching, the students needed to use group work and teambuilding, since they need to meet together to develop their presentations. Also, I made them aware that during the lecture apart from the topic ‘Inclusion’, they will obtain skills in critical thinking, group discussion, listening to others, and sharing their experiences.

During the lecture day:

  • I believe that Inquiry-based learning is very valuable with such students, so the 1-hour activity followed this strategy, together with an element of flipped-classroom
  • What is inclusion? (3 minutes – students’ responses)
  • What makes us diverse? (3 minutes – students’ responses)
  • What makes us special? (3 minutes – students’ responses)
  • Youtube (to show 1st video clip):
    • We are all different: This video (4.5 minutes video; 1.5 minutes reactions)
    • This video (resource)
    • This video (resource)
    • This video (resource
    • Home task: students were asked to search for other resources (not necessarily videos) that they can use during their placements
  • What keywords did you use for your searches and why? (5 minutes)
  • How did you carry out your task? (3 minutes)
  • What personalities did you discover (3 minutes)
  • Each group discussed a personality (15 minutes)

Conclusion: The Beauty of Diversity

  • What is inclusion? (3 minutes – students’ responses)
  • What makes us diverse? (3 minutes – students’ responses)
  • What makes us special? (3 minutes – students’ responses)
  • What did you learn today? (3 minutes – students’ responses)

This video (Britain’s Got Talent 2020 – 8.5 minutes)

Learning outcomes

Although there are several learning outcomes, the main focus discussed is the three below, with ‘Inclusion’ being the prominent one.


  • Defining Inclusion
  • Beauty of Diversity
  • We are all special
  • People with disabilities making an impact

Some students’ comments:

  • P1: “I never knew how many people with some kind of special needs were so successful”
  • P2: “Although I believe in diversity, this activity made me much more aware of diversity and the importance of Inclusion”
  • P3: “For me, inclusion was somehow different, I came to realise more what inclusion means, the important to feel included, and to make others included”


  • Be able to divide work accordingly
  • Working in a Team
  • Combine material to be presented

Some students’ comments:

  • P2: “Working in a team is not always easy, we have different ideas and sometimes we ‘bully’ each other so that our ideas are heard”
  • P4: “Although we had other group work activities before, the fact that this was short notice made a difference, but then since it was not for an assessment it was very joyful”


  • Be able to research on your own
  • Be able to combine your research material with that of others
  • Make sure that material found is verifiable 

Photo 1: Presenting the Learning Scenario to the students 3 days before the delivery

Photo 2: Students’ Presentation on Nick Vujicic

Outcomes for the educator

My experience:

First of all, I must say, since this was my first experience, I never knew about the vast information Europeana has. The information I managed to visit in the last few days is very informative and the learning scenarios, resources and other information are very helpful and very illuminating and educative.

Sometimes we find it difficult to go out of our ‘comfort zone’ and we find every excuse that we do not have time to include ‘extra topics’ out of the syllabus, but I encourage other educators to make use of Europeana for different topics, and the importance to find some time to include a lesson or more on ‘using arts and science digital heritage in their activities’. This will help students to appreciate more the ‘world’ around them and make them better citizens. I suggest other educators be creative and use the resources as help and then adjust them according to their needs, in particular to the needs of the students. In this respect, this is my main message in using Europeana – Be Creative! As aforementioned the site is a sort of a browser, so the various information in it is very helpful and great. By creativity, I mean that the LS in Europeana is meant to be a help and one needs to be imaginative and use the LS to accommodate the class and different students according to their needs. In this case, I used the topics and saw how ‘animatic’ developed this LS with regards to inclusion, in this case for ‘blind/impaired’ persons, and I adapted this LS for the greater community.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario?  From Disability to Creativity (LS-DI-545) created by Anita Matic

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Wellcome Collection.

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