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Imparting holistic education

It is the responsibility of schools to provide students with a conducive and encouraging environment where they may apply their cognitive abilities to the fullest

Alka Kapur | New Delhi |

One of the most influential women of the present times, Maya Angelou, once said, “If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be”.

This life-changing message holds especially true for students who are in the most beautiful phase of learning. Creativity, along with academic knowledge, helps students to be innovative and also encourages them to learn new things. It is a prerequisite for evaluating information and analysing myriad of issues.

Creative thinking involves thoughts and ideas that transcend the current limitations of a problem and help in devising innovative solutions. Hereby, it is the responsibility of parents to enrol their wards in schools which have a balanced curriculum and give significant emphasis to hone creative skills of students besides imparting quality knowledge of mainstream subjects.

The world is changing at a very fast pace, and demand of modern society is not only literate and learned people, but also the creative and innovative people who may maintain the pace of developments in all those activities which are the prerequisites of global prosperity. Creativity instigates curiosity and multiplies the implications of learning and observations. This inclusive way of intellectual development in children brings out various innovative thoughts and ideas.

Today, academicians around the world emphatically say that a quality curriculum should involve some courses and activities that may leverage creativity and critical thinking in students and help them to think practically the benefits of science, philosophy, languages, cultural studies, and other subjects.

The purpose of education couldn’t be met completely until and unless teachers transform students into critical thinkers. They should be able to understand why they are receiving lectures and classes on so many topics. In the near future, they will experience situations where applying this knowledge, they would be able to develop useful solutions for themselves and society at large. Instead of just memorising or mugging things up, students must develop cognitive and analytical skills that may help them to understand a topic from various vantage points, allow them to break down the larger issues into smaller elements and reassembling them to form a novel picture or concept.

It is the responsibility of schools to provide them with a conducive and encouraging environment where students may apply their cognitive abilities to the fullest. Apart from classroom learning, visits to museums, recreational spots, heritage sites, and industries are also an indispensable part of learning and exposure to students. Besides, after returning from these places, it is the duty of teachers to conduct various activities in the classroom to provide them with additional information. Educationists in every age proclaim that ideal school curriculum should be equally based on practical tools of learning, and this practical learning is not restricted to science laboratories.

Group discussions, role plays, JAM rounds, essay competitions, and other group activities like model projects are those interesting methods of learning which enhance students’ creativity and help them to think beyond traditional definitions and formulae. Besides, there is also an immediate need to change the grading or evaluation system. Appraising one’s performance on just theoretical knowledge and a few of routine practical doesn’t give a clear picture of a student’s holistic learning that s/he develops throughout the academic session.

The evaluation system which relies a lot on written activities should be comprehensive, involving a variety of activities like one’s performance in viva voice. All the desired changes in curriculum, pedagogy, and evaluation system are possible only in the presence of receptive and adaptable teachers.

Being the gardener, they must know the requirements of every child. And, keeping teachers update about the latest developments in the education world, schools must organise training programmes for them on a regular basis. Industry experts, motivational thinkers, and psychologists must train the teaching staff for effective learning and development of every student. Schools can also avail various online international training programmes for the faculty, this way they can save the training cost up to a great extent.

To nurture futuristic talent, schools must adopt a curriculum which enables students to exercise their analytical and creative skills. Students equipped with such creative skills will be able to pave an easy path for the holistic development of self and society at large.

(The writer is principal, Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh)