Mak­ing an ex­tra ef­fort to make the class­room a free and open space can help nur­ture stu­dents’ cre­ativ­ity

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - EDUCATION -

Ac­cord­ing to a renowned psy­chol­o­gist Martin Selig­man, “We have fi­nally ar­rived at an era in which more cre­ative think­ing, less rote fol­low­ing of an or­der and…even more en­joy­ment will suc­ceed bet­ter”. How­ever, how pre­pared are schools to fos­ter cre­ativ­ity in stu­dents? Sir Ken Robin­son, an in­ter­na­tional ad­vi­sor on ed­u­ca­tion stated that “All kids have tremen­dous tal­ents but we squan­der them, pretty ruth­lessly”. The cur­rent ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem ef­fec­tively ed­u­cates peo­ple out of their cre­ative abil­i­ties.

In a study pub­lished in 2005 by Dr Sarsani and Dr Halam, In­dian teach­ers stated that pre­par­ing stu­dents for ex­ams (87.3%), vast syl­labus (86.2%), in­ad­e­quate re­sources at schools (80.5%) and con­flict­ing cur­ricu­lum de­mands (76.3%) are the ob­sta­cles en­coun­tered in fos­ter­ing cre­ativ­ity among stu­dents. While it is ev­i­dent that change at a broader level of the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem it­self is re­quired; the ques­tion is what can be done given the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion?

Robin Fog­a­rty in an an­nual con­fer­ence on su­per­vi­sion and cur­ricu­lum de­vel­op­ment in San Fran­cisco high­lighted that there are three crit­i­cal at­tributes to de­velop a good learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; first, the art of teach­ing, sec­ond, the in­struc­tional method­ol­ogy used and third the cur­ric­u­lar frame­works to bind this learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. There­fore, even within the ex­ist­ing cur­ricu­lum there is scope for nur­tur­ing cre­ativ­ity. Some ar­eas that teach­ers can keep in mind are as fol­lows:

Plan for the lec­ture

In or­der to fit the ac­tiv­i­ties that com­ple­ment the reg­u­lar lec­ture based method, ad­e­quate plan­ning must be done be­fore the ses­sion starts. A re­al­is­tic les­son plan along with ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tiv­i­ties can be de­signed.

Build an en­vi­ron­ment to en­cour­age cu­rios­ity among stu­dents

Fos­ter an en­vi­ron­ment where cu­rios­ity and cre­ativ­ity is val­ued rather than rote learn­ing. Sir Ken Robin­son stated that “If you’re not pre­pared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with any­thing orig­i­nal”. A class­room en­vi­ron­ment in which word-toword def­i­ni­tions from books are re­in­forced with praise and ac­cep­tance can­not fos­ter cre­ativ­ity at the same time. Ad­e­quate re­in­force­ment and en­cour­age­ment for ask­ing or writ­ing some­thing new must be the norm rather than the other way around. Teach­ers could start a sys­tem wherein they can meet with stu­dents dur­ing a sep­a­rate hour if pos­si­ble, but not dis­cour­age stu­dents from ask­ing per­ti­nent ques­tions and la­belling them as dis­turb­ing el­e­ments’.

En­cour­age Peer Learn­ing

Group ac­tiv­i­ties and peer-led dis­cus­sions can go a long way in help­ing stu­dents de­velop origimis­con­cep­tions nal ideas about top­ics present in the cur­ricu­lum.

Cre­ate a cre­ative space

Even though re­sources are lim­ited, a lot, how­ever, can be done to cre­ate a space where new ideas can be stim­u­lated through bul­letin boards, spa­ces for stu­dents to dis­play their cre­ative skills, putting up in­for­ma­tion about their re­cent achieve­ments or their fu­ture goals and be­liefs. These ac­tiv­i­ties should not be merely lim­ited to the pre-school level. The need to cre­ate in­di­vid­u­alised and un­ortho­dox spa­ces has been rec­og­nized by tech­nol­ogy gi­ants such as Google, Ap­ple and Mi­cro­soft. As early as in 1958 the for­ma­tive book, The Poet­ics of Space, high­lighted the power of sur­round­ings in in­flu­enc­ing our mind.

Fos­ter Di­ver­gent Think­ing

What can a pen be used for? Def­i­nitely writ­ing, but also to open the sim slot of an iPhone. Di­ver­gent think­ing forms an im­por­tant part of cre­ativ­ity and prob­lem solv­ing. Giv­ing home­work that utilises such think­ing skills in­stead of a rou­tine as­sign­ment would help stu­dents not only un­der­stand con­cepts bet­ter but also train them to ‘think’ out of the box rather than just ac­cept what is the norm.

Recog­nise that each child is unique

Re­search has noted that ex­ter­nal mo­ti­va­tion in the form of com­pe­ti­tion and com­par­i­son of­ten dis­cour­ages cre­ativ­ity. Recog­nis­ing and ac­knowl­edg­ing each stu­dent’s unique tal­ents can help build self-es­teem.

Teach­ers must be up­dated

Keep a tab on re­cent up­dates re­lated to re­sources, in­sti­tu­tions, schol­ar­ships or even events that can help stu­dents get field ex­po­sure to ex­plore unique in­ter­ests.

Ses­sions for brain­storm­ing

Take time out in class to dis­cuss the in­ter­ests, views and goals of the stu­dents. Go­ing that ex­tra mile will help de­velop an en­vi­ron­ment where stu­dents can ex­press them­selves freely.

Fos­ter your own cre­ativ­ity

To help bring out the cre­ativ­ity in stu­dents, teach­ers them­selves must be cre­ative.

PHOTO/HT

Bul­letin boards are spa­ces for cre­ative ex­pres­sion

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