But the ones made here at Atmiya Vidya Mandir were erected by the class of 4th division with the help of their Gujarati Language teacher. These students have a poetry on scarecrows in their coursework/syllabus and for the introduction of the poem their teacher built a scare crow in the neem garden on the campus. When the children saw the scarecrow they said it would be very difficult for somebody to build one, but were positively challenged by their teacher to build their own. Under the guidance of the teacher the students together built the first prototype. The students were then divided into teams who created many other such Scarecrows. It seemed that the little champions erected these bogeyman’s to protect their beloved neem trees.
Confucius once said ‘You hear and you forget you see and you remember you do and you understand’.
Each child in this class now remembers the poem and even if they forget the lines, they have understood the meaning and importance of scarecrows for life.
Learning at Atmiya Vidya Mandir happens round the clock. A typical Science class for 8th standard on a particular day began at 9:54 pm on the terrace of the new school building. 42 students of class 8th with their teacher observed the moon through a telescope magnified at 160 X zoom and experienced beautiful craters on the moon. The curiosity of the students then rose to such an extent that they wanted to explore more and some said they wanted to find their own K-Pax. To challenge these inspirers the science teacher gave them a project and asked them to select any celestial object in the solar system – planet, satellite, comet, asteroid anything in the solar system and asked them to inform him why they were interested in that object. But he also made them think by asking a critical thinking question that if their research team is funded by our dear Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh with Rs 10,000 crore for their project what would they do?
All the teams did impressive research work and some of their original ideas are as follows:
- Setting up an Internet hub on Mars with a telecommunication satellite hovering over Mars.
- Sending plants and insect samples on Mars and see how life if any is affected on the planet.
- Coating their Venus Exploration spacecraft with platinum so the sulphuric acid clouds of Venus does not bother their mission.
- Young authors – this group started writing fiction – they said they went to Mercury and found a dead alien which they brought back to earth and are now going to spend the money on doing research on the alien. (X-files Returns – what will Scully and Moulder do?)
- Creating drilling equipment for their Mission to Europa (one of Jupiter’s many moons) so that they could drill easily through the frozen surface and will check if there is life under the ice sheets there!
It is said that Ye can lead a man to university but you cannot make a man think. But can you say the same about the children of Atmiya Vidya Mandir?
In modern age, creativity has its unique space and importance literally everywhere. Corporate houses and most industries have now accepted that creativity in their business is the way forward. Most of the employers want their staff to be creative. To be able to achieve that staff members have training, workshops, seminars on creativity. Even education system is also no exception to that (which is a very good thing).
But the question is; what is creativity? Plenty of efforts have been made to define creativity. But the most accepted definition comes from the father of ‘creativity’, Mr. Edward De Bono. As per him Creativity is all about generating alternatives. Creativity enables us to be able to acquire more options or solutions for a particular problem.
Creativity tells us that there is always an alternate course of actions. There are always more answers to a question, there are always different approaches to a problem.
Now the million dollar question is how to become creative. What could be the first step? As far as I am concerned, it is the sense of possibility which opens up the door for creativity. You must have been thinking, is it some language teachers trying to solve a math or a scientific problem? But before you make any conclusions, hear me out.
Most of us would consider scientists, mathematicians, painters; sculptures and musicians creative in their work. So do you think any of their work could have been done without them thinking it is possible? Thinking possibilities is a necessary skill to become creative. Most of the people stress on critical thinking which only teaches us what is wrong and what is right. But for being creative, critical thinking skills are not enough. To generate new ideas one needs to be thinking about the different possibilities.
In the field of math, proof is very integral part of the process. But at times proof is nothing but the lack of imagination.’ A’ causes ‘B’. We get the proof for it and once we prove it, everyone has to accept it and we are very happy. But there could be more reasons for B to happen. Unless you think there is a possibility for an alternate solution, there is no way you can come up with the alternate solutions. If Wright brothers did not think that we can travel in air we would not have air planes today. I know it was a very boring example but it is very fundamental and no one can deny that.
How can I conclude my article without talking about this topic in context of education? Being a teacher, sometimes it becomes very frustrating when our students do not understand the simplest of the things. No matter how many times we teach them the same topic it may seem impossible to teach them and we choose to believe that the student is dull and doesn’t make efforts to learn. What can we do? Well I believe we need to develop the skill of thinking possibilities. Unless we believe it is possible to make students understand, we cannot come up with alternate explanations. That is what I call being a creative teacher. So next time someone asks you how to become creative, just tell them it is “POSSIBLE”.