Sanika Ganesh

Molecular and Cell Biology
Spring 2019

The exam-based infrastructure of education in India compromises the holistic assessment of a student’s abilities and distracts curricula from cultivating the learning process.  E. Paul Torrance, a renowned psychologist in creativity research, warns against competitive academic environments because “pressures to conform” stifle a student’s creative potential by discouraging learning, which involves taking risks, making mistakes, and growing. The first stage of Torrance’s teaching model consists of “heightening expectations and motivation,” suggesting that a student’s psychological well-being is a key factor that influences creativity.  Additionally, education for students in India with disabilities generally lacks resources, a developed special needs curriculum, and support for teachers.  As lead student investigator, I am studying how creativity, psychological well-being (PWB), and academic performance (AP) are correlated in deaf students by asking: (1) Is enhanced creativity responsible for high PWB and AP? (2) Does AP reflect or reward creativity? (3) Can low PWB be attributed to low AP? To study the relationships between these variables, in the summer of 2018, I collected data from the Indian Red Cross School for the Deaf in Pune, Maharashtra, which serves underprivileged communities. I am currently conducting rigorous statistical analyses of the data, collaborating with professors on how to interpret the results, and writing a paper on my findings. Education reform to foster creativity at public schools, the ideal vehicle for social mobility, is advantageous to all students, but especially to those with disabilities or those from underprivileged backgrounds. If creative academic environments can boost a student’s PWB and AP, further research can explore how creativity builds a student’s real-world skills and career options.