By Prof. (Dr.) Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay
Hon’ble Vice-Chancellor – Sister Nivedita University, Kolkata

Education has been constantly changing and the pandemic has transformed the education horizon like never before. The paradigm shift of education from teacher-centric to student-centric has actually called for a greater need for creative learning and teaching. We need to understand that education is no longer confined to teacher-student deliverables rather it is more spread out in the application of theoretical learning. Education today calls for a research-based education system that will constantly make a student have a quest to learn and question. Most importantly the students should be able to use the strategies and techniques with the help of the fundamentals to arrive at a solution for a given problem. What will make the difference in this type of learning is not the answer to a given problem but rather the approach which the students are taking to arrive at that conclusion. This type of learning will enable students to have streamlined thinking and will make learning a continuous process.

Creative learning will require the teachers to understand the optimum combination of adoption & creation. Since the syllabus and curriculum will be more student-centric, quizzes and assignments will form an integral part of the grading process. There will always be an effort for the Faculty Members to try new innovative ways in reaching out to the students. The strategies adopted by the Faculty members should emphasize & foster student’s imagination so that they are not afraid of new things. The Faculty Members must promote the habit of asking questions among the students. The Pandemic has been instrumental to make this process gain momentum. Through online learning, virtual classrooms and virtual labs are now more popular and thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) that students can learn at their own pace and enjoy learning with its rich content, graphics & animation.

Creative Learning & Teaching would most importantly require support from the top management as well as the stakeholders which include parents and Faculty members as well. Research scholars should be engaged more in this type of learning process as the education ecosystem should be research-oriented. Faculty Members can initiate the momentum by asking open-ended questions, making students do self-reflection exercises, creating flexible learning environments, adopting flipped classroom models, make students learn to take calculated risks and so on.

The students should be given basic guidance and they should work on interesting models & assignments. They should be taught modern research skills so that they can learn to leverage those skills to a more complex thinking procedure. This process will enable students to innovate and create rather than work on the stereotyped models. The understanding should be at such a level that initially students should be given case studies to work on and gradually these students can develop their own case studies and research models to understand the multiple approaches which are available and choosing the most viable approach to arrive at a solution.

However, it is very important that students should not be overtly graded in all respects and their understanding of the concepts should always be monitored. The coming times will be even more dynamic & complex and it’s pretty essential that students are taught in developing their creative thought process as this thought process will go a long way in helping them understand these complex variables which are critical to success in various sectors.