Setup Menus in Admin Panel

Students need the liberty to think out of the box

By Dr. Sudha Acharya,

The shift from “what to learn” to "how to learn” is the dictum stated by NEP 2020.

The best teachers teach discrete humanistic skills in ways that allow diverse learners to become successful, writes Dr. Sudha Acharya.

In the words of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad- "Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model” 

Inspired by these very sagacious words, we understand that education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the minds to think independently. The minds will be empowered to think with clarity and confidence in an unbiased manner when students are given the liberty to think creatively. With the change of times, there has been a paradigm shift of prerequisites in a student’s repertoire of skills needed for the future. It’s fair to say creativity has been the driving force behind the most ground breaking innovations of our time. When we look around, we’re surrounded by innovation that would not have happened were it not for incredibly creative and determined people embracing ambiguity, challenging the status quo, not taking ‘no’ for an answer and discovering new ways to solve all kinds of problems. 

The change we see around today, has its roots in the foundational years of schooling. The contemporary world of knowledge, characterized by an explosion of information and ways of communicating it, requires creativity more than ever in handling scientific knowledge. The main condition is freedom: Freedom to raise original unorthodox ideas, freedom to deal with complex issues. I think the best teachers teach discrete humanistic skills in ways that allow diverse learners to become successful. Telling our students to do what they want is ‘no’ creativity nor logically speaking ‘freedom’. I believe that as educators, we should shift from a memorize and repeat focus to one in which students are encouraged to grow academically by pursuing things that interest them. Students need to be able to develop their own thoughts and questions; not regurgitate what they’ve been told. The shift from “what to learn” to “how to learn” is the dictum stated by NEP 2020.  

Encourage them to take risks with new projects, because by doing so, they will show you what’s possible when applied creatively. Creative solutions are not always conventional; as teachers we need to ‘Co-create; Co- design, Co-learners ’which means pushing boundaries. Challenge your students each day by giving them questions that may have been never asked before or ask them how we can change things up in our own classrooms today? Providing direct feedback on each idea presented will help students identify which parts of their work are working well so they can focus more attention there while also providing them with constructive critiques where necessary, to give them room to make improvements within those areas if needed.  

So, the point is, creative freedom of students not only means learning new things but it also means that the environment which is offered to students should be self-sufficient to impart their creativity. Feeling, Watching, Thinking, doing – are the essentials of learning. For example – a Start-up Project in a school not only provides a forum that needs analysis through brain storming sessions but also takes the students further on procuring ingredients to the logistics involved, experimenting with methodologies, the act of preparations of products and later labelling, advertising, selling, constructive feedbacks and self-reflections. The whole process goes through a cycle of experiential learning from concrete experience to reflective observation and from abstract conceptualisation to active experimentation. Here, the teacher as facilitator is a navigator & not the controller!  

Opportunities for independent & team project work, Internships, Research based Projects, theatrical performance of a lesson or story line are ways to explore thoughts, encouraging innovation, leaves no one behind, and helps team building. Afterall, its only in our uncertainties lies creativity & freedom! 

Dr Sudha Acharya is the Principal of ITL Public School, Dwarka and the Chairperson of NPSC. Views expressed are personal.