The Creative Expressions of the Learning Mind – by Sangeetha Menon

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Our experiences at any time is a collection of memories, perceptions, cognitions, imagination, emotions and sensations, invoked by specific contexts and moments. There is a continuity in all our experiences that combines the past, present and future at the same moment. Many a time we are oblivious of the creative act that takes place every moment of our lives by our ability to experience the past and the distant in the moment of the present. In fact by default we are learners and knowledge creators. But then in the mainstream educational practises and norms which are primarily based on certain Cartesian and Baconian notions of knowledge and reasoning, it is forgotten what makes us natural learners. While several cultures have rich literature and experiential archives on “suggestion”, “metaphor” and other such range of poetic devices and rhetorical figures, how much of such literary, narrative and creative tools are used in educational techniques and frameworks?

How much of emotions go into our imagining the creative outcome? Or is it that reason has an upper hand in the finer acts of knowledge acquisition and its expression? Current neurological theories suggest that brain has the capacity to form new connections all through our life. The neuronal connections are decided by the inherited growth patterns, response to stimuli including internal stimuli triggered by imagination, new learning, habits and attitudes, personal values, etc. Why and for what outcome does the brain generate emotions? Should we consider emotions as evolutionary vestiges or as those subjective elements of personal significance that enhance experience? Are there feelings that are not dependent on sensations? Can feelings be considered as discrete cognitive events?

Is our approach to learning also sensitive to the fact that intelligence is influenced and shaped by the whole personality of the person? Are the creative outpourings of an autistic child important for us to understand the role of imagination in finding meanings and values for human actions?