APCL believes that each child is a unique creation and hence, should be assisted properly to develop her or his total inherent potential in life. The Creative Learning methodology has been developed by Vijoy Prakash on the basis of his Information Processing Model, set forth in his seminal book - "Creative Learning".
Each Child has a Unique Learning Style
Dr. Howard Gardner, a Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, has proposed that people know and learn through multiple intelligences:
These intelligence are developed in different measures in different children. Thus, they have a unique learning style. Generally, schools follow syllabi and curricula to cater to the needs of verbal and logical intelligence. Hence, only children having verbal and logical intelligence would have chances of success. Others do not get required success. That is one of the reasons why children of the caliber of Lata Mangeshkar, MF Hussain or Sachin Tendulkar may find the teaching processes in the schools not conducive to develop their potential. Further, as schools adopt mainly Chalk and Talk methods in teaching, learners get opportunity to develop only verbal and logical intelligence. APCL has developed techniques to integrate all intelligence in its teaching methods so that children with all learning styles get opportunity of developing their potential in their own learning styles.
APCL believes in holistic approach to education by properly integrating left and right brain activities. Activities have been designed such that learners of all learning styles are able to learn properly.
Each Child has a Unique Learning Environment
APCL firmly believes that each child has a unique learning environment. As learning environment plays an important role in the learning process, learning activities should be totally child centered and contextual. Before going to school a child spends his/her early childhood entirely with parents and relatives at home and even after joining school, child has to spend a large span of time with parents at home. So the school activities must take into account these social, economic and cultural factors while designing the teaching and learning activities. In fact, arrangement must be made to effectively involve parents, teachers, peers and materials in the learning process. This can be easily shown on a learning square in the following way.
Learning is Best in a Joyful Atmosphere
An atmosphere of joy and happiness provides a motivating environment for Creative Learning. Experiments have shown that the development of brain in a child is 25% more, if he/she is brought up in an atmosphere of love and happiness, than in an atmosphere of stress and strain. Main concern in this regard is to develop a system, where one can learn with joy. How can we create such a condition? One of the lessons we have learnt from our past experiences is to create learning occasions in the form of games. So, games may provide a clue to the actual nature of activities for CLM. APCL has tried to design most of its learning activities in the form of games as far as possible.
Learning Continues from Womb to Tomb
It is now well recognized that learning is a whole time activity all through the life. Hence, the basic objective of any creative teaching/learning methodology should be to prepare a learner to develop capacity for this continued journey for learning.
Lessen Competition, Enhance Cooperation
One of the serious defects of the present education system is that it only promotes individualization. Each learner is considered a separate entity with almost nothing common with others. But, in actual life situation, seldom work is done individually. With increasing sophistication in almost all walks of life, we are going to face more and more complexities. Such complexities can be handled only by groups and not by individuals. It has also now been more or less established that group cooperative skills are different from individualistic skills and as such should be attended separately. The introduction of a sense of excessive competition leads to alienation, which, at times, proves to be a barrier in the development of group spirit. Hence, Creative Learning Methodology requires development of skills pertaining to team formation, team spirit, and teamwork.
Curiosity is the Mother of Creativity
Curiosity is the base of Creative Learning. It is allocation of attention to things for one's own sake. It is curiosity, which propels a person to try out new method, new solution and new product.
Curiosity comes naturally to a child. A child is attached towards anything mysterious and worthy of attention. The object may or may not be useful, attractive or precious, as long as it is wonderful, it captures their attention. Gradually, with age most of us lose the sense of wonder, the feeling of awe in confronting majesty and variety of world. Creative individuals retain their childlike curiosity in their field of interest. They keep on taking interest in strange and unknown even a age of ninety years of age. As unknown is limitless, there is no end to their curiosity.
Teaching Learning Methodology
Develop the Natural Learning Process
Based on the unique learning style each child has a natural learning process. The basic object of any learning program should be to develop this natural learning process. Seven Core Creative Competencies have been identified whose development may lead to development of natural learning process.
Learn and Master the Symbolic Method of Learning
Each intelligence method has a set of symbols and patterns, which help us in learning through a particular mode of intelligence. For example, the verbal intelligence use words as symbols, spatial intelligence use pictures as symbols, and so on. It would be important to learn the symbols of various intelligence and the art of their arrangement in patterns for effective communication.
Lessen Individual Competition and Promote Group Competition
As individual competition has led to feeling of success to a few and failure to maximum people, more and more group activities and group competition should be organized at the school. As managerial skills are going to be important, managerial skills should also be taught from early classes in the forms of games and activities. They have also been linked with the evaluation methods to bring seriousness.
Develop Mental Image Making
Based on Yogic methods of learning, APCL has developed unique Visualization exercises to develop processes of Mental Image Making. These exercises help learners to develop power of concentration, memory and imagination. It further helps them to have better emotional control, which is now considered to be so vital for achieving success in life.
Learning can be best, if they can be linked with their emotions. Hence, activities are linked with the emotions of learners and are performed in a festive mood. For this purpose traditional games played in different parts of world have been studied and the lessons have been linked with them. Different activities have been linked with the traditional festivals. A well-defined plan is followed to teach emotional management to the learner. Entire environment in the school is kept informal. Learners address teachers and other staff as uncle/ auntie. Creative excellence can be attained only in an atmosphere of total freedom.
Make Creativity a Habit
It is said that a child is born creative, but he remains creative till he goes to school. There is a natural tendency of every child to explore nature, try out innovations and work for a personalized solution. But in the school this tendency is not encouraged. In the rote learning system a child is expected to learn whatever is taught in the class and reproduce them whenever he is asked to do so. This kills the natural creative instinct. APCL tries to sustain the creative spirit through various well thought-out activities. Learners are expected to be engaged in their creative pursuit by designing new games, toys, and items from day-to-day waste. Learners are also expected to compose/write poems, stories, etc. right from Std. I. They are also be expected to design and construct new items of their aptitude in every term. The skill of creativity and innovation forms an important competency for monitoring and evaluation.
Creative Teaching/Learning Methodology requires development of competency where creativity can become a habit. For this purpose APCL has adopted a program called APCL Charter to inculcate the habit of creativity.
Develop Core Creative Learning Competencies
In order to bring out the inherent creative potential APCL has identified seven Core Creative Competencies (C3) which are essential in any natural process of learning:
Power of Observation
Power of Expression/Communication
These competencies are the base of any creative learning process. As these competencies are related to the natural process of learning, their efficient use may make a person most creative. Activities have been designed to develop these Core Creative Competencies. All subjects presently being taught in the schools are taught in such a way that they develop these C3. During the course of development of these competencies the text materials developed to transact CBSE syllabi are used so that learners may not have any difficulty in learning at higher level. In this process traditional learning practices of our indigenous system are also used.
Learn the Art of Learning
APCL believes that teaching is effective only if it leads to self-learning. Children should be given opportunity to master the art of learning. This way they would be able to utilize entire time available at their disposal right from cradle to grave. It believes that a school should prepare the learners for this onward march on the path of learning. For this purpose APCL believes that :
- Every occasion is a learning occasion.
- Every person, animate and inanimate object in the world is a learning object, learning facilitator and learner.
In this sense APCL believes in working towards the formation of a Learning Society.
Develop Creativity Through Games
Games basically provide a good opportunity to perform an activity in an atmosphere of joy. It is always played in a joyful atmosphere. Although seriousness is introduced by introducing competitive elements into games; however, joyfulness is never allowed to be lost. When children play games, they have to continuously face new situations. As such they also get an exposure of handling new situations. This way it facilitates development of creativity in children.
Games basically serve various purposes:
- Learning to experiment, explore and discover
- Learning to play together and cooperate
- Learning to use their own hands and other loco-motor system
- Learning to use one's imagination and memory in a creative way
- Learning to live with successes and failures in right spirit
- Learning to be self-confident and self-reliant
- Learning to handle emotions and relationship in a better way
Now, as children love playing games, it would be better to design activities in the form of games. In this connection, it would be important to note that children in different age groups like to play different types of games. Initially, children love any kind of kinesthetic activity. If a small child is asked to run and count the number of trees in garden, he will perform the task with great happiness. He will consider it to be a fun. But, if grown older, he may not like such running around, but he may love games dodging other children. He may love to solve mysteries. The nature of games may change, but still love for games is never dwindled. Children never get tired of games. So, to attain creative flow, activities in the form of games are the best forums for learning. All activities have been converted into this mode as far as possible without sacrificing the real content of learning.
Learn the Art of Questioning
Inquisitiveness and curiosity holds the key to creative learning. Curiosity is basically a self-propelling lubricant, which keeps on inducing a person towards self-learning. A child is by birth inquisitive. This curiosity has to be sustained. Mihali Csikszentmihalyi has suggested an interesting curiosity development plan. APCL has found that learning the art of questioning may provide a forum to such curiosity development plan. APCL believes that it is not only important to know the art of answering (as is being done in the normal schools today), it is rather more important to master the art of questioning. Questioning guides the path of thinking- both convergent and divergent and thus gives direction to curiosity. Therefore, the school teaches art of Questioning and evaluates the growth in it.
Activity based Learning
As the learning through activities is most durable, APCL has evolved a system of learning, which involves learning through different kinds of activities involving:
- Physical activities
- Rhymes & Music
- Role Play
- Children Parliament
Although books are important agents for transfer of knowledge, they are not taken to be the only agents of such transfer. Other materials are also used properly to ignite the flare of learning. Investigative methods are be used to promote inquisitiveness. Even Science and Mathematics are taught through activities involving joy and exploration.
Learn the Art of Management
In the new millenium every person has to be a manager. Be it a family management, social function management, or business and industry management, all require high level of competence and professionalism. Hence, managerial ability is required to be developed right from primary classes. APCL has developed unique package of activities based on traditional cultural practices to develop managerial abilities and monitors the development on regular basis.
Use Relevant Content of Learning
The school follows CBSE syllabi. But, to make the learning relevant it uses additional exercises in the form of projects and other activities so that the learners easily learn about self, family and neighborhood. Knowing oneself is the base of all learning. Emotions can be best controlled by learning and managing oneself and others. APCL believes in the principle that "Learn about yourself before learning about others." Hence, activities are so designed that learners learn about their family, friends, relatives, village, town, cultural traditions and its significance as part of learning program.
Use Competency Based Evaluation
Evaluation is basically an exercise to know the strengths and weaknesses in the learning of a child. SCL follows a unique pupil evaluation method. It is a competency-based evaluation. As it is important to know what a child knows, but it is more important to know what he/she does not know, the evaluation system also indicates the weaknesses of the child in a more explicit manner.
It is not only necessary to diagnose the weaknesses of the child it is also important to apply appropriate remedial correctives to improve the learning capability of the child.