Encouraging Creativity, Sustaining Curiosity and Improving Ability among Students


Greetings from The Progressive Teacher.

It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.

From the Autobiography of
Albert Einstein (1949)

Rita Wilson
Rita Wilson

Today, we want our students to have zest for life and hope in their capacity. An essential part of preparing students for life is helping them see that life is interesting and filled with potential for joy. One way we can do this is to help them experience creativity.

What is creativity? It might vary in different subjects or in different cultures. Can I teach creativity while also teaching my essential content? The answer is ‘Yes, and the students will learn more than ever’.

Steven Wok in his article ‘Joy in School’ says – ‘Let students create things; take time to tinker’ among the key elements of a joyful school life. In schools we are not punching widgets, we are nurturing young people.

Instilling curiosity in students encourages their desire to learn. When students are magnetized by a new idea or a new situation and are compelled to explore further, regardless of external rewards, they can be said to be truly motivated.

Curiosity is a heightened state of interest resulting in exploration. Its importance in motivating scholarship cannot be ignored. Curiosity is also a critical component of creativity. Fostering curiosity and creativity in today’s learners is a challenge.

Most teachers would agree that cultivating curiosity in learners is an important task. Providing students with adequate guidance while affording them the opportunities for exploration, however, is easier said than done. Not all students are highly curious, and what might stimulate curiosity in some students might result in anxiety for others. It is the job of the teacher to recognize these differences and control the classroom or other learning environment to accommodate all learners.
In the context of the theme of this issue,

P Ajitha in Teaching Paradigms for the New Millennium says one needs to marry the art and science of teaching to arouse curiosity; Shree Prakash Sharma in A Creative Writer opines that creativity can considerably be developed through bringing about changes in the ways of learning, teaching and knowledge-gaining; Col Saini in Challenges of Mentoring the Mentors exhorts that challenges of change are one issue which needs to be tackled with full preparation and unlearn and relearn the system of teaching and learning in the new context; Shimmi Sharma in Edutopia explains connectivity across the world has an exuberant effect on the students’ innovation skills because these students do not repeat other people’s ideas; Salla Vijay Kumar in If I not Now, When warns (education should) not produce jack of all trades but schooling should enable the children to be ready to face the future, to encounter it with a smile; Meenu Bhargava in Nurturing Curiosity says, the future belongs to the curious. The ones, who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it(life) inside out.

Geeta Sehgal questions Do we have a system in place in our schools that promotes creativity in our children? Aarti Bakshi insists, It becomes our duty as educators to push the classroom teaching boundaries and allow curiosity to flood our world’; Alka Kapur encourages teachers to keep the flame of curiosity burning in children, then pretty much everything else will follow from that; Cleta H Lobo clarifies – The creative teacher motivates students to correlate with other subjects, to extend their knowledge.

Besides these, there are other articles in this issue which deal with a vast panorama of subjects.

On behalf of The Progressive Teacher I wish you all the very best for the forthcoming school examinations especially those teaching the Board classes. May all your students come out with flying colours and brace themselves for a new year in school and beyond.

With best wishes

Rita Wilson

Rita Wilson has over 40 years of rich experience as educationist including over 30 years of experience in school leadership positions. She is the former Chief Executive and Secretary Council for the ICSE, New Delhi.

She is a consultant to a number of corporate houses and educational institutions. She is serving as a Member of the Board of Governors/Managing Committees of some of the most prestigious schools and colleges of the country.

She has vast exposure to the education systems of Japan, Germany, England, Thailand, Singapore, Sharjah, Dubai and Finland. She has initiated, conducted and organised workshops for school teachers and principals all over India With a B.A. (Hons) English Literature, M.A., M.Phil. (English Literature), B.Ed. to her credit, she has edited three series of English readers and work-books for school children.