The education system has long been criticized for rewarding conformity rather than creativity. As a teacher, I do feel that conformity is crucial in some areas. However, enabling creativity in young people propels them to achieve more than teachers and parents expect of them. Most importantly, enabling and encouraging creativity allows each child to learn in his/her own style. As educators, it is our duty to tailor our teaching styles and provide opportunities for children to arrive at their own answers to life's questions.
There is also the widely held belief that the content taught in school, or rather the way the content is taught has very little connect to the outside world. So while our students may understand theories and principles, they may not be able make the connection between theories and physical manifestations. This is connected to the idea of 'mindfulness'. Not just children, but adults as well, are not mindful or aware of their surroundings - why do things happen the way they do, how can we improve our surroundings, what is my role in the bigger scheme of things - these are kind of reflective learners we need to nurture. It is important for parents, teachers, schools and even big businesses to realize this. After all, creative thinkers are good for business!
As a 'new' teacher, I have been going through some extensive training. It is encouraging to see that the focus of new teaching methodology is creativity, individuality and reflection. As a new generation of teachers takes over, I hope to see a generation of empowered students who take responsibility of their own learning and are mindful of their surroundings. It is now also time for big businesses to also step up - invest in a more creative workforce for the future! Horlicks Pakistan has recently launched an initiative to do just that.
Horlicks Pakistan in association with WWF brings #DreamsForTomorrow, an art competition that will take place in schools across Pakistan, bringing out the creative side of students. The campaign is focused towards engaging school going kids and their parents in a creative process of talking about a child’s dreams for the future. Participating schools will be given books that contain stories designed separately for each grade, providing the necessary direction for the creation of the artwork. All schools will be submitting their entries for the competition. If you are a parent or a child reading this, contact your school to find out if your school is part of the program. You can also find more details on this Facebook event page.
Horlicks Pakistan was kind enough to send over a kit for me to go through and make a mess painting with my nephew. While my 3-year-old nephew has usurped the art supplies, the books are an invaluable resource for children in Grade 1 to 10. The books are concise and written in the local context (there is a severe shortage of such content).
I remember filling in the WWF Sticker Book of Animals when I was a child. The joy it brought to me was immense – the agonizing over the Number 1 sticker ‘The Giant Panda’ led to many sleepless nights; learning about different species, the sense of responsibility and accomplishment was amazing! I hope that with #DreamsForTomorrow, this generation of Pakistani children can experience the same wonder and mindfulness that it instilled in us.
For more information on how I am using the kit, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - @sundusrasheed