The changing learning path: Real versus virtual experiences to nurture creativity among students
Diversity among schools and their approaches has widened the gap among the members of the teaching fraternity wherein a teacher working in a rural area might not have ever used technology and on the contrary we also come across teachers working in International/Global Schools who had to teach the concept of Bio Gas Plant in an air-conditioned digital classroom to students who are miles away from the touch or smell of cow dung.
Indian Schools are no exemption to the unique diversity ranging from Government Primary Schools in rural interiors to International Boarding Schools located in hill stations. Some of the key areas in which the schools of India differ include:
- Geographical Location
- Infrastructure and Facilities
- Governing Bodies
- Curriculum adapted
- Teaching – Learning Tools
- Teaching Staff
- Socio-economic background of the students
Irrespective of the differences which exist in each of these innumerable schools across the country, still what remains common is educating the child. How it is done? Different schools have different methods or approaches or designs within their limitations to accomplish this common goal. A school operating in a rural area might prefer to design simple activities as part of their curriculum which promotes learning by doing from the available natural resources whereas an International School might emphasize on the use of digital technology along with activities which give firsthand experience to the child. We may also come across a third category of schools wherein teaching-learning is still carried out in the conventional method of chalk and talk. Which of these methods do we feel have more scope to nurture creativity among students? It’s a very difficult question to answer because we hardly have teachers or educators who have had the direct experience with each of these methods. Diversity among schools and their approaches has widened the gap among the members of the teaching fraternity wherein a teacher working in a rural area might not have ever used technology and on the contrary we also come across teachers working in International/Global Schools who had to teach the concept of Bio Gas Plant in an air-conditioned digital classroom to students who are miles away from the touch or smell of cow dung.
The table provides a comparison of how concepts from different disciplines could be taught depending upon the location of the school such as rural or urban.
The table clearly points out the fact to each one of us that neither rural nor urban schools have complete scope for teaching-learning of a concept in the best possible way. In certain disciplines, rural schools have an edge over their counterparts and vice versa. Which of these two could nurture creativity among students to the optimum? Again it’s a difficult question to answer.
It’s high time for each one of us to accept the fact that children from tribal areas might be more creative than their counterparts in the metros. All efforts by the 21st century International or Global Schools to provide the best infrastructure and facilities can only provide virtual learning experiences. No learning is better than learning that happens in the real and natural settings which is still possible in schools operating in the rural areas. But the irony is even the rural schools have their own administrative challenges which do not allow the teachers to tap the enormous creative potential hidden in the young minds. The net result is under utilization of both natural as well as human resources and thus, failure to improve the educational standards.
It is high time school leaders take a step forward in understanding the implications of the growing diversity and make efforts to bridge the gap through a meaningful collaboration with their counterparts thus enabling a paradigm shift in the teaching-learning process. If practiced in true spirit, we can envisage a generation of learners who carry within themselves a spirit of brotherhood, if not, we do not have any right to claim that we focus on the overall growth and development of the child because we are missing out on the most important component i.e. being sensitive towards fellow beings. Let us pledge to be honest and try to bring a qualitative difference in the thought process (psyche) of all the stake holders who are a part of this noble endeavour.
P V Satya Ramesh is working as a Post-Graduate Teacher in Psychology at the Shanti Asiatic School, Ahmedabad., where he teaches Mathematics up to Class X and Psychology to Classes XI and XII. He is M Sc in Psychology, M Phil in Counselling Psychology, B Ed, and a UGC NET qualified teacher. He has published value based articles oriented towards counseling all the stake holders in the arena of education in a number of educational journals. He has a strong belief in the ancient Indian Value System. He strives to inculcate courage in young minds and teaches them to always stand for what is right. He works in the direction of providing his students an environment which promotes critical thinking and ways to express their point of view without fear.