November 2001

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Dr. Harnek S. Kaile

All the inventions in the world in the fields of science, engineering, medicine etc. and writing of literature is possible only because of the creative individuals. Had there been no creative talent, man could never progress in any field and had always been living in stone age.

Inspite of so much importance of creativity, our whole system of education opposes it. Teachers don't have good opinion about children with some strangeness in their behaviour and those who ask uncommon questions in the class. Generally, such children become victims of teacher's anger. When a child talks of something creative, the teacher starts rebuking him by saying, "Sit down, sit down. You are saying silly things." American psychologist E. P. Torrance conducted a study about the attitude of teachers towards creative children in five different cultures - U.S.A., Germany, India, Greece and Philippines - and came to the conclusion that majority of teachers disapprove of such behaviour as asking questions, unwilling to accept opinion on mere authority and freedom of taking decisions. Getzels and Jackson asked the teachers about their liking of their own students. It was found that high creative students were liked only up to average level, even though their academic achievement was the same as of the high intelligent students. Generally, the teachers oppose creative talent in children and this view gains strength when we peep into the student lives of famous creative individuals. School was just like 'jail' for Rabindranath Tagore and his teachers thought he was not fit for study. But he won world fame when he was awarded Nobel Prize for literature. Shakespeare was mentally weak and he had to leave the school. But he became the most famous dramatist of the world. darwin was given no importance in school, but he is remembered even today because of his Theory of Evolution. Creative talent may be there in abundance in thousands of children, but it remains suppressed because the educational institutions don't provide proper environment for them.

Sometimes, the creative individuals are considered mad. No doubt, certain creative persons - writers Henry James and O'Neill, painter Van Gaug and scientists Newton and Darwin - were mentally ill. But it doesn't mean that all the creative individuals are like that. A vast majority of highly creative individuals were mentally healthy and balanced.

The present environment of our educational institutions is not conducive to the development of creative talent in children. Often, the creative students cannot adjust themselves in such an environment and become problem students.

Every teacher desires that the academic achievement of his students should be excellent. About four decades back, it was thought that only intelligence contributes to the academic achievement of students. In an investigation in U.S.A. in 1962, Getzels and Jackson found that students of high creative group have almost the same academic achievement as those of high intelligence group. After this, a very large number of researchers conducted studies to find out the relationship between creativity and academic achievement and most of them reported that, along with intelligence, creativity contributes significantly towards academic achievement. But, as stressed earlier, the teachers suppress creative talent in students and, thus, they are doing injustice with the teaching profession itself. Now the question arises: what should be done in this respect? Here are a few suggestions:

1. The teacher should give an appropriate answer to some uncommon question asked by a student and, thus, satisfy his curiosity.

2. Uncommon views of students should be given recognition and spark of creativity present in these views should be blown to the possible extent.

3. The students should be encouraged to show their creative talent in different mediums. Generally, creativity is limited to writing stories, poems etc. But there are other mediums also (music, drama, painting etc.) in which students should be encouraged to express their creative views.

4. The attitude of the teacher towards the students should be full of affection and sympathy so that they may share their views with him unhesitatingly.

5.Students giving creative answers in examination should be encouraged.

6.Students should be provided with opportunities of self-education. The teacher should simply guide them and not interfere unnecessarily in their self-education.

7.As far as possible, experimental method should be used in science subjects. For example, it is not enough that students should be told that the colour of leaves is green because of light, water and manure. They should be asked to place a growing plant in a dark room without water and manure and observe it.

8. There should be a provision of library periods in the time-table so that the students may go to the library and read good books, magazines etc. in different fields like literature, science and medicine. In this way, the possibility of developing creative views in their minds will increase.

9. The teacher should ask curiosity-raising questions to the students. It will be quite helpful for developing creative talent in them.

In short, the teacher should create such an environment in the institution as is helpful in nurturing creativity in students. It will certainly give great artists, writers, scientists and engineers to our country which will touch new heights of progress.