Two groups of students difficult to deal with are the over-active and the passive. Even though the teacher may find the over-active student more exasperating, passivity might be more damaging for the student concerned.
Passivity usually comes about from the way lesson is conducted. It is quite difficult to imagine that children of school going age should naturally be passive unless they are troubled by illness or some such cause. “Passivity is the most dangerous pitfall in contemporary education”, was the conclusion of a group of college professors in America. “The student is kept happy and satisfied with himself because he is a never given anything that might strain his ability. The net result of this is to weaken the effort so essential to creative power development”, they went on to say.
One effective cure for this state of affairs in a classroom is creativity. It generally ensures enough scope for action for the active, as well as excitement and stimulation for the passive. The student who is allowed creativity may become amazed at his own capabilities and enjoy the thrill of being valuable to him self and others.EVERYONE CREATES
Everyone is born with the urge to create. It is part of our programme of life. Whether we are parents trying to calm down a crying baby, or teachers trying to encourage learning by raising a student, curiosity, we create. Our conversations, telephone calls, letters, speeches etc. Are all testimony to how we are naturally creative.
There are some who would argue that a child requires training before he can begin to create. Others, however, hold that school education tends to stifle creativity. Dr. Stanley Czuyrles, Director of Art Education at New York State College for Teachers says” a child is highly creative until he starts at school. Then under traditional procedures, almost all our teaching tends to cramp his imagination.”
Oftentimes, our creativity is unleashed when we need to solve ordinary problems in life:
“A monkey threw a coconut from a treetop at a hungry Sufi, and it hit him on his leg. He picked it up, drank the milk, ate the flesh, and made a bowl from the shell.”
WHAT KIND OF TEACHER IS LIKELY TO INSTILL CREATIVITY IN STUDENTS? * One who can enjoy surprise: Such a teacher will not be put us by the unpredictability of creative students who can come up with the most unexpected things. * One who has the generosity to laugh at one’s own mistakes: When students surprise us, we may not always deal with it the ideal way. There may be mistakes on our part. But if we take it sportingly, the mistake cannot defeat us. Accepting one’s limitation in no way makes it worse than it already is. * One who enjoys Imaging: Fantasy is a favourite activity of students. Perhaps in our classes we do not leave enough room for fantasizing. All fantasy is not waste of time. A good part of our life, - some would say all of it-is only trying to realize in real life what we fantasize in our minds. Our students should be allowed to fantasize. When they do so the teacher can help to chip and shape that fantasy in ways that will truly benefit him and his surroundings.AMANDA’S SMOKE ALARM
Seven-year old Amanda Parham’s compassionate solution to a serious problem won a national award in America. She invented a lifesaving smoke alarm device for the deaf. Standard smoke alarms make noises or flashlights. However, if a deaf person is asleep, those kinds of alarms are no help. Amanda’s smoke alarm triggers a mechanized arm that reaches out and “shakes” the sleeper awake.BEHAVIOURS OF CREATIVE STUDENTS
Curiosity Creative students are more curious. They ask more questions, and experiment with things. They are found in places they are not supposed to be, and not things no expected. Awareness Creative students are aware of things that are happening around them. They are mentally alert and observe things, events and people. Awareness is what helped Newton to develop the theory of gravity by seeing the falling apple. Openness to new ideas They accommodate even contradictory thoughts. They look for original ways to reconcile apparently irreconcilable things. They are able to put two or more ideas together to get a new idea. They also see defects, even in their own things, and suggest better ways of doing a job or reaching an objective. Independence Creative persons are somewhat independent and hold on to their idea; that is why sometimes such persons are said to be proud and stubborn. They have the moral courage to hold on to what they believe is right. Both Edison and Einstein were sent out of school for being somewhat like this. Ready to keep on trying They do not easily give up. Inspite of repeated failure, creative people keep trying. Edison failed over 1000 times before he invented the light bulb.FOSTERING CREATIVITY IN THE CLASSROOM 1. Encouraging atmosphere
The biggest block to creativity is failure and ridicule. Creativity needs an atmosphere of acceptance where the only failure is “not to try”. Children’s fantasy soon disappears if it is time and again suppressed by adult prohibitions. Imagination instead, should be stimulated.2. Variety, the spice of learning
Encourage original expression in writing, singing, painting drawing, acting etc. At an interschool music festival in Calcutta last year, the chief guest opined that a special award be instituted for the best original composition. “Despite lack of training for it, young people can express themselves creatively making their own music, and it could be a light to them about their potential”, he observed.3. Develop the sense perceptions
Nearly all knowledge comes from the five senses and imagination. Creativity depends on the new combinations founded on previous ideas gathered through these senses.4. Encourage a sense of curiosity
Let the students ask questions about things they find puzzling and let them at first try and find out the answer. Encourage them not to take things for granted. “Does thins thing have to be this way? Can’t it be made smaller, bigger, more attractive, stronger?” are some of questions that may be asked.5. Reward Creative effort
Teacher and Parents should be on the look out for opportunities of praising any creative effort or achievement, So, a) Treat with respect unusual questions asked by the children. b) Treat with respect unusual ideas and solutions. c) Show students that their ideas have value. d) Provide opportunities and give credit for self-initiated learning. e) Provide opportunities for students to learn, think and discover without threat of immediate evaluation.6. Teacher, be a creative Person
When teachers themselves are creative, they are likely to encourage creativity in students. Creative students easily show boredom with long-tried -out methods of teaching. This may hurt the sentiment of the non-creative teacher, who in turn may consider the student a nuisance. Instead, the teacher should try out new ways of teaching, new ways of encouraging creative effort.
Anil D’Souza had Sam Engineer as his music teacher. Anil was creative and would find something extra to do besides his lessons. So it was that even before he was allowed to do so, he should venture to write original lines of music, which he would take to the tutor. Instead of scolding him for his presumption at being able to compose, Sam would sit down to play the lines on piano, say how good it was, and suggest one or two corrections.
Wasn’t Sam an easy-going teacher? “No” Anil says, “As a matter of fact, he was strict, but he was also a friend, and I was sure he would do the extra bit for me.” Little wonder then that Anil would walk straight to his teacher with his little creations.MOM ON STRIKE
Gretchen Schulte recently found it necessary to use her creativity to solve a family problem: her children were taking her motherly services too much for granted. She cooked, cleaned, did laundry, sewed and drove them to their activities. When she asked them to help her and they refused, she went on strike. To dramatize he actions, she posted a very large sign outside her house that read “Mom on Strike” Her desire to gain her children’s cooperation led he to an original way to solve a common problem.
Ultimately it is not he who has the textbook solutions that wins in life, but the one who has several alternative solution to choose from.