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Embrace pedagogy that sparks ideas, stops instruction

By Nita Arora,

Educators who encourage creativity treat their students as co-learners and encourage self-esteem.

Developing and using alternate methods of assessing learning outcomes can encourage creativity among students, writes Nita Arora.

Children are bundle houses of latent creative potential that awaits a tap to be discovered and developed. A two-year-old is fearless, inquisitive and eager to explore and learn, but then begins structured learning and passing on of the prejudices that makes this kid conform to the norms and follow clichéd patterns. Do we stifle the creativity of the same kid whom we set out to be the best? Static learning notion, as the one correct solution to multitude of problems therefore needs to be discarded and the educators themselves need to come up with more than one creative and flexible solutions. Encouraging creativity over correctness of response should be the guiding principle.  

Educators who encourage creativity treat their students as co-learners and automatically build and encourage confidence and self-esteem. Their students have the courage to challenge notions and think out of the box. These students imbibe the culture of mindfulness and respect divergent opinions and are ready to consider alternatives. 

It is important to note that how the strokes of each child differ from the other as the young ones try to retrace the letters of alphabet or the drawing of the facilitator. Their smiles showcase their joy as they colour in liveried shades unleashing the creative spurts. It only ceases when they are instructed to shape out things as desired. 

It is time to rethink patterns so that students evolve creatively as the present day machinations demand out of the box thinking skills. And what better time to rethink than this ongoing pandemic era that made all to sit back and realise the need to adopt and adapt. 

As educationists we can create patterns to hone this even in the structured curriculum. It is advocated to adopt a reading culture, project based learning with a lots of ‘Hands on’ activities to design and draw inferences from. And if accompanied with no fear of failing or being judged, would lead each child to think and try out new ideas. 

Some of the ideas to develop and nurture creativity: 

  • Creating a compassionate, accepting environment 
  • Flexible seating with an interesting mix of inside-outside class experiences  
  • Encouraging reading and research, with journaling of ideas 
  • Allowing group of students to teach and interact with peers 
  • Asking students to think of possible questions to a solution or answer statement. 
  • Taking the class on field trips, showing videos or inviting ‘experts’ from different areas  
  • Brainstorming sessions 
  • Encouraging risk taking 
  • Practising mindfulness  
  • Using gamification to encourage participation 
  • Giving students the charge of designing the project  
  • Giving students the time to speak, think and move/ draw freely 
  • Using story threads, enactments, presentations, writing poetry or drawing  
  • Allowing students to lead the discussion in classrooms, wherein subjects are explored in an integrated manner 
  • Developing and using alternate methods of assessing the learning outcomes 

We can embrace pedagogy that sparks ideas, stops instruction – making way for self-paced learning, for collaboration, providing supportive material, that are open to all types of learners in the making. It is time to emphasize the process of learning and not the product. 

Let us be collaborators in this process which does not have limitation of time bound projects but pave the pathway for each student to share ideas and wherein we collectively reflect on the methodology, process and the outcome of student-led discovery. 

Nita Arora is the Co-Learner and Co-Creator of Sri Venkateshwar International School, Sector-18, Dwarka, New Delhi. Views expressed are personal.