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Intent ≠ Creativity

Published over 1 year ago • 2 min read

Have you heard the childhood fable of sour grapes? It goes something like this:

Once upon a time, there was a hungry fox. He came across a bunch of grapes hanging high up on the grapevine. He jumped and jumped and tried a lot to get those grapes. Yet, he couldn't. Disappointed, he commented that the grapes must be sour and went away.

The moral of the story that I was taught is that when someone cannot achieve a goal or a task, they think that the outcome related to that goal or task is negative. Simple enough, right?

Recently, I have started visualizing this story from a different angle.

Once upon a time, there was a fox student hungry for knowledge. He came across a bunch of grapes hanging high up on the grapevine.

And there was a board beside the vine that said: Develop a novel solution to reach the grapes with the optimum use of the tools you have. Also, explain your solution in a presentation format and submit it before the evening.

What about the fox now? It has no clue what to do. It has never been taught how to develop or build any of these things. But the fox still has the Internet to his aid. He searches, tries to find previous solutions to the problem, and works really hard. Yet, understandably, he couldn't come up with anything satisfactory. Not able to clear the task, he did not get the grape of knowledge and went away disappointed. Sour grapes.

So whose fault is it?

The fox, the grapes, or the system that put the fox student at a disadvantage?

That's what the Indian Education System is. The grapes or outcomes are hung at too high a vine for students to grab them. There is also no path or direction on how one can get them. You are left alone to figure it out.

Understandably, the ones who are naturally motivated or have some advantage can take a higher jump and grab the grapes. The others are left behind empty-handed. Does it mean the others did not want the grapes enough?

Let's say someone teaches the fox student how to build a ladder step-by-step. No, not a novel solution or a presentation but a real, working ladder. Bring wood. Chop it into appropriate sizes and pieces. Fix them together. Place it on the wall, climb the ladder, and get the grapes. Simple as that.

In education, intent comes first.

Creativity is not a good measure of intent. A student may want the outcomes badly but might not know what to do to achieve them. Yet the education system punishes them by asking for creativity.

More than the students, the system and the educators need to understand this idea. Bring the grapes close enough to the students by giving them a proper, clear path, and the steps to walk that path. And then watch them grab those grapes with both their hands!


This week has been pretty hectic.

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Tanay Pratap
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February 14th 2023
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I have had to close a lot of work because I will be traveling to New Delhi next week. That said, I am super excited about Sunday when I finally get to meet my students from Delhi for the first time.

I am especially looking forward to some of them.

Ritik Sharma, who says, "This Event Will help me in making good networks and learnings as tanay bhaiya always said that Networking is the key to grow in career",

Ahsan Rigu, who says, "I am a student in neog23, I think this event will help me to make sure i develop the skills i need to navigate the job market better after I become a neograd. It will also be great to see Bhaiya in real life and meet some of my peers in person."

And finally, Yash Yadav because I loved his honesty, "Networking with people with similar interests and Tanay bhaiya ke sath selfiee"

More than 500 people have already registered. If you are in New Delhi this weekend, come, and meet me at IIIT on Sunday at noon.


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tanaypratap's letters

I write about mentorship, education, tech, career, and startups.

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