Additional Perspectives and Research for Creativity in Education
One of the best statements of rationale for more inclusion of creativity in Grades K-12 schooling comes from the introductory page of the P21 Arts Map, designed in cooperation with nation’s arts educators and The Partnership for 21st Century Skills:
“Business leaders and visionary thinkers concerned about preparation of students for the future know that the ability to be creative – a key 21st Century Skill – is native to the arts and is one of the primary processes learned through arts education. The examples in this Skills Map illustrate how the arts promote work habits that cultivate curiosity, imagination, creativity, and evaluation skills. Students who possess these skills are better able to tolerate ambiguity, explore new realms of possibility, express their own thoughts and feelings and understand the perspectives of others.” – P21 Arts Map at http://www.P21.org (published in 2000)
Any discussion about creativity in education should begin with a thorough look at defining what it means to be innovative and original. As stated by the Partnership for 21st Century, essential factors in creativity are demonstrating originality and inventiveness in work, being open and responsive to new and diverse perspectives, developing, implementing, and communicating new ideas to others, and acting on creative ideas to make a tangible and useful contributions to the domain in which innovation occurs.
Another fantastically in-depth resource is the website of Linda Naiman, founder of “Creativity At Work” and a pioneer of arts-based learning as a catalyst for developing creativity, innovation, and collaborative leadership in organizations.
She has posted one of the best definitions of “creativity” I have ever read:
“Creativity is the act of turning new and imaginative ideas into reality. Creativity is characterized by the ability to perceive the world in new ways, to find hidden patterns, to make connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and to generate solutions. Creativity involves two processes: thinking, then producing. If you have ideas, but don’t act on them, you are imaginative but not creative.” – Linda Naiman
A few of my favorite articles from her website:
- What Is Creativity? http://www.creativityatwork.com/2014/02/17/what-is-creativity/
- Can Creativity be Taught? http://www.creativityatwork.com/2012/03/23/can-creativity-be-taught/
- Seven Habits of Highly Creative People: http://www.creativityatwork.com/2012/03/06/seven-habits-of-highly-creative-people/
In her blog on “Can Creativity Be Taught,” Naiman reflects on the research of George Land (1968-1993, revised in 2004) and a popular TedTalks video of his presentation “The Failure of Success” – https://youtu.be/ZfKMq-rYtnc.
Land’s statistics concluding with “non-creative behavior is learned” show that the longer a student is in school, the lower he/she scores on a creativity tests. We teach our children “not to risk being wrong” and don’t go “all out” in finding an unique solution to a problem… only respond with “the one correct answer!” This reminded me of a insightful Sir Ken Robinson TedTalks video, filmed in 2006, with more than 36 million viewers: (http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity?language=en). If you have not viewed any of Sir Ken’s TedTalks, you owe yourself a look!
One of Naiman’s blog posts is a book review for Let the Elephants Run: Unlocking Your Creativity and Changing Everything by David Usher. On my “required reading” list, this brings us to our next stop for a more penetrative discussion of creativity in education! Usher asks, “How do we jump start our creative process as adults? What does it mean to be a creative person? How do we follow through with our ideas and turn them into tangible outcomes?” These are the fundamental questions with which we must grapple in order to enhance the creative potential and self-expression of our students.
Other excellent books on creativity that should be investigated include the following:
- The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity by Carrie Bloomston
- The Creativity Challenge: Design, Experiment, Test, Innovate, Build, Create, Inspire, and Unleash Your Genius by Tanner Christensen
- Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World by Tina Seelig
- inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity by Tina Seeli
- The Ignorant Maestro: How Great Leaders Inspire Unpredictable Brilliance by Itay Talgam
- Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
Finally, I will leave you with a link to the late great curriculum innovator and co-author of “Understanding By Design,” Grant Wiggins, who proposed a revolutionary framework for improving student achievement. Emphasizing the teacher’s critical role as a designer of student learning, UbD™ works within the standards-driven curriculum to help teachers clarify learning goals, devise revealing assessments of student understanding, and craft effective and engaging learning activities. Since his death in May 2015, I have noticed numerous postings (and variations) of his creative rubric:
Some more “creative” food for thought…
Care to comment? Please send me your favorite creativity links/publications.
If you have not read the rest of my articles (quoting other “masters”), here’s the list:
- Creativity in education – Are we ready for a new paradigm shift? (MAIN PAGE)
- Creative teaching and teaching creativity – PART I – How creative are you?
- Creative teaching and teaching creativity – PART II – Definitions and rationale
- Creative teaching and teaching creativity – PART III – Creative techniques BLOG 10
- Creativity in schools revisited
More to come…
© 2016 Paul K. Fox