Creativity and innovation are becoming increasingly important for the development of the 21st century knowledge society. They contribute to economic prosperity as well as to social and individual wellbeing and are essential factors for a more competitive and dynamic India. Education is seen as central in fostering creative and innovative skills. Keeping this in mind, Oakbrook Business School conducted a seminar on “Embracing the creative side of teaching”. This seminar had the presence of eminent personalities from the teaching field namely Dr. Narendra Dixit (Founder, Som Lalit Institute of Management), Dr. P. K Mehta (Director, LJ Institute of Management), Dr. Gopalkrishnan(Former Director, Institute of Management Studies), Dr. Shailendra Gupta(Head, Training & Development, Calorex Foundation), Prof. Chandramauli Pathak(Sr. Executive ICECD), Mr. Rohit Patel(Former, Director, Vadilal Chemicals Ltd.) Dr. Gopal Bhatt (Principal, Shri HK Commerce College) and Ms. Shraddha Shah(Practicing Lawyer & Educationist).The seminar had a huge presence of faculties from different disciplines across Gujarat.

Speaker 1:Dr. PK Mehta (Director, LJ Institute of Management)
The first speaker for the event was Dr. PK Mehta (Director, LJ Institute of Management).He has a profound experience in the field over the years. He has taken immense responsibilities as Pro-Vice Chancellor, Director (Regional Services), Director (Student Registration &Evaluation), IGNOU. He is also a visiting faculty at Modern British Drama, School of Languages, Gujarat University. He has also chaired as an expert at NAAC, DEC, Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver and many more. He addressed the seminar by defining education; he said that education means disseminating the knowledge that you have. Knowledge itself is an economy and it won’t be wrong to say that economy depends on knowledge (education). It emphasises the need to encourage the development of students’ creative and innovative potential for several reasons:

The upsurge of new media and technologies that learners use in their everyday lives can be exploited in creative and innovative ways and contribute to formal and informal learning;
The immersion in this media-rich environment leads new cohorts of students to learn and understand in different ways, therefore teachers need to develop creative approaches and find new methods, solutions and practices to grab their attention;

Creativity is a form of knowledge creation; therefore stimulating creativity has positive spill over effects onto learning, supporting and enhancing self-learning, learning to learn and life-long learning skills and competences. He added that teachers are the most important players since it is in their hand to simulate knowledge in their students. He concluded his speech by stating that one teacher can produce hundreds of IAS officers but a hundred IAS officers cannot become a teacher even if they are put together.

Speaker 2: Dr.Gopalkrishnan
Dr. Gopalkrishnan is the director of Institute of Management, Nirma University. Prof. Gopalkrishnan has got more than 25 years of teaching experience in various management institutes. He has co-authored a Book: Trade Unionism and Industrial Development, and has published 40 papers in journals, economic newspapers and chapters in books. He was awarded CRMs Fellowship, IIMA in the year 1986, Won a Prize for a paper “Improving Performance in Government”, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh (A World Bank Project) in the year 1997. He was offered a one year fellowship by University of North Malaysia in 2001. His areas of interests include Energy Economics, Corporate strategy and public policy.

Dr. Gopalkrishanan stated that everybody is capable and has immense creativity infused in them. One just needs to introspect and identify their creative side. He gave example of Ramayana and said that it teaches us to be rational and think with an open mind. He further said that Educational actors need to have a clear vision, awareness and understanding of what creativity is and entails in order to fully comprehend how it can be enhanced. Judging the originality and value of an output entails seeing creativity as a relative attribute. The evaluation of creativity needs therefore to take into account students’ and teachers’ perspectives. Moreover, creativity in education has more to do with the process than with the product, and focuses therefore on the development of thinking and cognitive skills.

Speaker 3: Dr. Shailendra Gupta
An Educationist by choice and recipient of NCERT scholarship, has completed Ph.D in Education from Hemchandra Acharya North Gujarat University, Patan, Master of Education (M Ed) from Regional Institute of Education (NCERT), Bhubaneshwar, Orissa and Post Graduate Diploma in Guidance and Counselling from NCERT, New Delhi. He has more than 20 years of experience of working in the field of Education and before joining Calorex Institute of Education as Principal and Calorex Teachers’ University as a Registrar in 2009 he has worked as:

Head (Training and Development, Calorex Foundation) , Head of School, The Calorex School (IB World School), Ahmedabad,  Principal, Eklavya Institute of Teacher Education, Ahmedabad Lecturer, Eklavya Institute of Teacher Education, Ahmedabad, PGT (Physics), Little Flower Senior Secondary School, Varanasi Dr. Gupta, a well known trainer has conducted workshops for more than 300 schools, Colleges and corporate spread over India. His areas of interest are Communication, Educational Psychology, Parenting, Science and Maths Education, Educational Evaluation and Administration, Action Research in Education, Integrating Life Skills in the Curriculum, Psychometric tools for Personality Assessment, Transactional Analysis, Use of Films and Case Studies in Education and management training etc.

Firstly he asked the faculties who participated in the event if they knew what they were doing, he then cleared himself and said that teachers ought to teach students and not teach their mere subjects. He elaborated his thought by saying that knowledge is worth only when it is grasped well. He urged the faculty to know their students well and teach them in a customised manner. The class needs to be interactive and innovative so that students feel the need of attending the class.

He showed an informative video which enlightened the participants about the future methods of learning. He stated that in future, classes will be available online and student attendance will be optional in the class because all the information will be available on net. In this kind of situation, it will be inevitable for the teachers to deviate new methods of teaching.

Speaker 4: Dr. NR Dixit
Dr. N.R.Dixit is the founder director of Som Lalit Institute of Management Studies. He is a doctorate in the area of strategic Management and guided six scholars for Ph.D. awards. He has a combined experience of more than 50 years in teaching, research, extension work and industrial projects. He has carried out several types of projects and helped in institution building during his career. He is a member of Board of Governors of Oakbrook Business School.
He enlightened the participants to make a prior roadmap that helps the teachers to introspect themselves about their teaching abilities. He asked the participants:

  • Design a judicious assessment plan
  • Align their assessment plan
  • Use the assessment plan in learning, grading and support.

He further added that there are other factors, alongside technologies, that support creative learning and innovative teaching. These are: assessment; culture; curriculum; individual skills; teaching and learning format; teachers; technology, tools. The co-existence of several of these factors would give rise to an enabling environment where creative learning and innovative teaching could blossom. If enablers are not present, creativity will be less likely to flourish. If, on the other hand, all enablers are in place, it is still not possible to deduce that creativity and innovation are happening, as teachers and students will still have to actively engage in the creative and innovative process. Enablers are therefore indicators of the kind of environment which could nourish creative learning and innovative teaching.

Speaker 5: Prof. Chandramauli Pathak
Dr Pathak is currently the Senior Executive at International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD), Ahmedabad. He has over 30 years of experience in the field of teaching and training in Entrepreneurship at school, graduate and post graduate level. He is a well known Entrepreneurship Expert with diverse experience in curriculum development, teaching and developing entrepreneurship courses. He has acquired his Bachelors in Engineering from LD Engineering College, Ahmedabad in 1970 and has pursued several courses in premier institutes like IIM Ahmedabad, Vena Leiden University, Netherlands, International Finance Corporation (IFC), South Asia, Indian Society for Training and Development (ISTD), New Delhi, International Labour Organisation, New Delhi, Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA), Ahmedabad. Prof. Pathak engaged the participants in a number of activities. He distributed straws and asked the participants to make “anything” from the straws and explore their creativity. The participants made a number of innovative objects from straws like a windmill, house, boat, swings and many more. He then asked each participant to give an adjective to themselves and prefix it with their names. He explains what a person aspires to be or what he/she already is. The participants were highly appreciative of his session and had great fun.

Speaker 6: Dr. Gopal Bhatt
Dr. Gopal Bhatt has more than 37 years of experience in academic field, currently he is the principal of Shri HK Commerce College, Ahmedabad, he is also the state coordinator-UDISHA, Placement cell established by the Dept. of Higher Education, Govt. of Gujarat, member of Faculty of Commerce, Gujarat University, Board of studies in Commerce and many more. He has served as lecturer at RJ Tibrewal Commerce Colg., MS University, Baroda and Gujarat University respectively. He has been actively involved in events like Indo-Japan students exchange programme of Gujarat University as cultural counsellor and various other programmes. He has a number of publications and papers to his credit.

Dr. Gopal Bhatt gave a detailed presentation on “Creative teaching & Learning”. He stated that a class is a heterogeneous mixture of students, each student has different pace, aptitude and attitude towards learning. A teacher should therefore be tactful and flexible in his/her methodology of teaching. He stated teaching skill is technique which involves following materials:

  • Preparation of study material
  • Case studies
  • Stories, examples, exercises
  • Activities
  • Innovative techniques

He also added that learning mood and mode of a student must also be stimulated so as to steer him/her towards learning. These factors play an important role in grounding for creativity and innovation to a thriving environment, proposing a series of central factors which can support the shift towards a more creative and innovative education.

Speaker 7: Mr. Rohit Patel
Mr. Rohit Patel has prolific experience in the field of management training. He has been Director of Vadilal Industries Ltd, Ambuja Export Ltd. and Vadilal Chemicals Ltd. He is an active member of Programme Committee, AMA, member of HR Committee, Charusat, member of board of studies in Humanities & Social Science, Nirma University.

Mr. Patel is also a visiting faculty at EDI, Nirma University, AMA etc. Apart from this, he has conducted several numbers of training programmes at IFFCO, Nirma, AEC, SEWA, Aga Khan Social Welfare Board etc. He is also a columnist and a prolific writer. He has published more than 18 books on personality development & Management.

Mr. Patel conducted a very interactive presentation, he asked the participants to open the doors of their mind and think differently. He asked a number trick questions and riddles to the participants and made the session all the more fun and interesting. In the end he urged the participants to imbibe qualities like originality, rationality, different thinking and inculcate passion and creativity in everything you do.