Did I ever tell you about one craze hobby of mine? I call it ‘ Watching faces ‘. Try it yourself, it is relaxing. All it takes is to observe the way each person’s face is created (by the Almighty, if you are a believer, that is) in a uniquely different way with the same set of tools- one pair of eyes, one pair of ears, one pair of brows, one nose and just enough flesh to fill in the forehead, cheeks and chin. What splendid variety, with permutations and combinations! Call them ‘ designer faces’ ‘?
That brings me to the immense possibilities of teaching to young children. Teachers who teach the same subject year after year are said to be experts in that area. But it could ALSO spell doom to the liveliness inside classrooms. If that is the case within the walls of the school, what about the parents handling young ones at home? Instead of passing on ‘ what I had been taught’, ‘what I have understood” to the children, parents could rather take a journey of exploration. Instead of ‘teaching’ the child, the parent could make learning (the lesson) an experience that they undergo together. At schools, though most boards of education insist on this way of learning, the pressure of completing tasks pushes the teaching staff to a ‘dry-run’, squeezing out any enthusiasm that would trickle every time a new topic is taken up. The teaching aids (OHP, videos, field trips, etc) certainly usher in the much-awaited air of freshness and life among students.
When a parent or a teacher refuses to look at teaching as a vocation (if not a ‘passion’), knowledge becomes a casualty and learning becomes a forced-feeding. I was in for a shock when someone recently told me that she found me being ‘fussy’ about teaching children, et al. “How to make things look new every time?” she asked me.
‘Will it be okay for you to wear uniform all through seven days of the week, eat the same meal three times a day or order the same dish every time you go to the restaurant?’ If we yearn for variety and diversity even in trivia, how could school life go colorless?
Term it ‘monotony’ or ‘stereotyping’, the student becomes the sacrificial lamb in the hands of teachers and parents who lack the zeal of teaching. I invite the members of this peculiar group to ponder over the following-
In the culinary domain, we have recipes after recipes dashing out yummy food items with same set of ingredients. Imagination never ceases!
In the domain of music, have we heard of the last composition ever? Classical music, rock, jazz, folk music… whatever the branch, still, imagination never ceases!
In the world of chocolates, new products flood the market periodically. Changes in shape, size , color or taste and a new flavor of chocolate is born! Imagination never ceases….
If variety is the spice of life, creativity is the life of teaching. Parents and Teachers, come, adorn the robes of Lord Brahma (the ‘Creator’ in the Hindu mythology) with pride and responsibility. You are creating a new era of promises, prosperity and peace.
And that is the need of the hour.
Let me first have a one-to-one session with you. Tell me what you do every time the series of ads appear on the television while you almost lost yourself in one of those never-ending soaps or your favorite match on the sports channel. Do you walk away temporarily to attend some work? Or do you press the ‘mute’ button and engage in conversations? You could be saying ‘Yes’ to one of the two, if my guess is right. But I am sure that it is not the case with each and every commercial break. When you come across a ‘new’ advertisement for a product or brand that you would endorse yourself, don’t you sit up and watch eagerly?
That is the success of the creator of the ad. Catching your attention is not exactly the USP, but it lies rather in catching your attention effectively . It is as simple as making a dish mouth-watering with the toppings, dressings and attractive way of serving.
Once a parent told me that she isn’t the kind who could improvise ideas to make learning interesting for her child. “Then you shouldn’t be complaining that your child lacks the drive to study.” I told her. “As you sow, so you reap- is that what you are trying to tell me?” she quipped, “But I am not the kind to clown around in the name of guiding my child’s studies.” “Well,” I told her, “It is just about YOU enjoying what the child is studying!”, I assured her, “Creativity is then born . It cannot be forced to be born!”
So, what do ‘creative’ parents and teachers do to go that extra mile? Here are some examples.
A fifth grader had the confusion between ‘latitude’ and ‘longitude’ of the globe. The mother tried to tell her that lines of latitude run parallel to the Equator. The child understood in a jiffy when the mom told her that lines of latitude are kind of ‘flatitudes’, covering several nations and seas in circles. So what happens to the longitude? “See the letter ‘l’ in longitude? You can remember that the lines of longitude run parallel to the ‘l’ of ‘longitude’!”
A parent simplified the Physics lesson on Reflection by using the most crucial property of the child- the TV’s remote control equipment. The television was operated with the help of the remote control equipment by directing the beam to the television’s reflection which was in the diagonally opposite direction. The child would never forget the lesson, which he learnt the fun way.
And there is this teacher who wiped out confusions between ‘East’ and ‘West’ of the map: he asked the class to roughly draw the country and to write “WE”- each letter on either side of the country. So “W” comes on the left and “E” on the right of the country, indicating ‘West’ and ‘East’ exactly.
Leave alone coming up with such delightful ideas. Are we ‘good enough’ to at least enjoy the child’s why’s? and How’s? Here are a couple of them:
A nine year old asked her father why the ceiling fan usually takes longer time to stop rotating while exhaust fans stopped abruptly when they are switched off. “Is that because they are positioned differently?” A good question, indeed!
A four year old was desperate to know if there are speed-breakers for air crafts and ships as we have on the roads, which force automobiles to slow down.
A six year old wanted to know why the parents refused him a gift he was dying for, just because ‘it is beyond our financial affordability’. “Why don’t you use the (ATM) card?” quizzed the child, “You just have to take out as much as you need from that machine!”
And do you have the answers to this simply original stuff?
‘Where there is a Will, there is a Way’, they say. Well, I feel ‘Where there is unconditional love, there is Creativity’.