Sustaining curiosity and improving learning ability of children
What is creativity and how do we help children to sustain it? Anything that we create is our creation. Our creation stems from our curiosity. Would it not be appropriate to assume that curiosity brings out creativity in us? An important question arises ‘Do we have a system in place in our schools that promotes creativity in our children?’
Creativity involves birth of ideas that did not previously exist. It is also aroused when you move away from the routine and perform a task. Creativity involves thought processes that can be achieved accidently or deliberately. Curiosity can be sustained by creative thinking techniques. But unfortunately there is so little emphasis on creativity that it compelled someone to remark ‘Schools Kill Creativity’ and thereby ‘Schools Kill Curiosity’.
It is observed that major emphasis in schools is on academics and very little time is left for allowing children to explore their curiosity and enhance their creativity. Education and creativity should be treated on equal footing and deserve the same status, as children have extraordinary capacities for innovation.
Bill Gates asserts ‘innovation has been and will continue to be the key to improving the world.’
Creativity at its best
There is a story of a little girl who was attending a drawing lesson. She started scribbling something and when her teacher asked her what she was drawing, she innocently and confidently replied, ‘I am drawing a picture of God’. ‘But no one knows what God looks like,’ said the teacher.
Effusive with innocence the girl replied, ‘They will in a minute’. This is a beautiful example of sustaining curiosity.
Open ended material
Another way of promoting creativity in children is by providing children with open ended material that can be used in a variety of ways. It could be in the form of puzzles, tangrams, word building and use of many such ideas.
I recall, my English teacher would begin reading a story making it interesting and exciting with the best of gestures and expressions. We would look at her with awe and admiration; she would then suddenly stop at important junctures and pose a question, ‘What do you think could happen next?’ And did we not put on our thinking caps and come out with strange ideas…ideas that breathed of freshness and creativity. This is a remarkable way to build curiosity in kids and improve learning ability.
Brainstorming generates ideas and inspires curiosity in kids. A topic is floated and children present their own perspective on the topic. There could be agreements and disagreements. However, children should be taught to respect others ideas and it should be explained to them that brainstorming is an exercise that generates a number of ideas though not every idea is used towards the end. It is a skill that can be easily developed by assigning project work and by reading and listening activities.
Child at Play
I noticed a three year old boy at play. He collected all his toy cars and placed them at a cross road. With a remote, he moved a car and ‘lo and behold’ in a fraction of a second the cars piled up one above the other. He promptly moved a toy police van and an ambulance. His first endeavor was to help the victims. Play allows freedom of thought and awakens curiosity; thereby it imbibes in a child self learning of concepts and values. In this case ‘Compassion is the process of self learning.’
Video / Snippets
Making children watch magical films helps them to think without inhibition. It also helps students to come out with innovative thoughts thus enhancing their creativity.
Cheri Sternaa of USA rightly states that the greatest gift we can cultivate in students is arousing their curiosity. Our challenge is to make sure children stay curious and feel empowered to solve problems in uniquely innovative ways.
Dancing has immense therapeutic effects apart from giving your body a sculpted look. Dancing is setting free of your emotions, it also allows us to experience ourselves in ways one had never imagined, thereby igniting our creativity. Dancing has healing powers also. Letting up of pent up emotions brings out the suppressed curiosity within us.
List of Do’s and Don’ts
Children should have the freedom to free play. Many sets of regulations may discipline a child but curb his curiosity. The list of Do’s and Don’ts should be kept to the minimum. One must learn to be less demanding and more responsive to a child’s view to awaken and sustain the curiosity embedded in him.
Let us open our hearts and minds and empower the children of today to create their world of tomorrow – a world that may be different from ours but it surely will be beautiful and more meaningful to the futuristic society, in order with the societal changes that take place slowly but surely, and usher in a completely new world… a world seen through the eyes of today’s child.
Geeta Sehgal, with teaching and administrative experience of over 40 years has worked in a number of prestigious schools. She started her career in Army Chakki School, Pathankot in 1978 followed by New Era Public School, Mayapuri, Sachdeva Public School, Pitampura and Rohini, Vishal Bharti Public School, Paschim Vihar, New Delhi.
She has functioned as Centre Superintendent for CBSE Examination and as Head Examiner CBSE. She has also functioned as observer in AIEEE and was a member of Affiliation team of CBSE.
After retiring, as Principal, she joined as Director Academics at Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi in 2013.
She has attended numerous conferences and seminars nationally and internationally and the 11th international study tour of Finland.
She has developed content for Pearson Longman in Social Studies for classes I – V. She has a flair for writing and is presently in the process of writing stories for children.
She has been conferred with the Golden Tray Award for excellence in best teaching standards in Delhi State in 2009.