The American cultural anthropologist and author, Margaret Mead once said, “Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” This is very relevant in the contemporary world, where the education system adopted by schools across the world can be called a process of indoctrination or conditioning of human minds. This indoctrination of ideas and thoughts into the minds of young learners curbs their creative expression and growth. The English philosopher, John Locke in his ‘An Essay Concerning Human Understanding’ asserts how the human mind at birth is like a tabula rasa or “blank slate” and how cognitive development occurs with the sensory experiences of an individual. This argument refutes the commonly held belief that some people are born with the power of intellect, while others aren’t. Parents and teachers must realise that creativity and critical thinking ability are skills to be practiced by children from an early age, not one that only some are gifted with. The development of these skills is possible only when children are encouraged to think for themselves and arrive at their own creative responses to everyday problems. After all, children are not machines that respond mechanically to mere commands through dutiful obedience.
Most teachers know that the poor thinking and reasoning skills of their students are caused by the influence of television, internet, video games, social media, changes in culture etc. But what they fail to do is address and resolve the issue through proper guidance. Many a time, children are trained to arrive at the ‘right answer’ because of a teacher conforming to an educational system that fosters memorizing facts, rather than thinking ‘outside the box’. This process of drilling information into students employed by schools hampers the creativity and imagination of children. Moreover, actual education takes place only when children are able to think creatively, explore new ideas, and arrive at their own innovative solutions to problems, thereby leading to the social progress of a larger world. Thus, it is highly essential that children are trained how to think and not what to think. But how can you do this?
Teachers can employ various strategies to train children to think outside the box. For instance, they can give open-ended questions, which would avoid the problem of a single ‘right answer’, which is inevitable in the case of closed questions. Similarly, students must be encouraged to present their views and defend them through a demonstration of how they arrived at a particular answer. Likewise, teachers must show all the alternative answers available to a question and illustrate how some answers are better than others. Teachers must also be able to create a free and positive environment that encourages students to question each other. A drastic revamping of the education system, especially with regard to grading, is essential to promote students to take risks, think independently, and arrive at novel ideas.
Chrysaalis hopes to provide such an atmosphere by incorporating fun-filled games and activities that require active participation of all students. Our i-Maths program nurtures young children in the age group of 3 and half to 8 years to acquire a strong grasping power, facilitating their overall holistic development. Our curriculum focuses on equipping children with an ability to solve problems both critically and creatively. By employing learning techniques that enrich the observation, reasoning, problem-solving, and creative skills of students, we aim to free children from the monotony associated with the conventional system of rote-learning. i-Maths lays a strong base of knowledge of basic math concepts and principles, thereby creating long-term impressions that will help children learn and solve complex arithmetic concepts and equations with ease.