Experts are concerned about creativity in the education curriculum especially in early education. Are the students being engaged in such a way to ensure they become creative beings? To analyse the issue, it is important to discuss the definition of creativity, its importance and the similar but different terms of teaching creatively and teaching for creativity.
Our writers will create one from scratch for
Characteristics of Creativity
There are several definitions of creativity. In the older centuries, it was defined as divine inspiration however in the recent years there has been research conducted in the area that has given rise to several definitions of creativity. The creativity characteristics can be divided into four dominant areas. These include the generation of ideas, the act of ensuring that there is depth digging and also the exploration of new ideas and listening to one’s inner voice. In order for one to generate ideas, they should exhibit divergent thinking, flexibility, originality and metaphorical thinking. As the individual digs deeper into the ideas, he will get involved in convergent or critical thinking where he analyses, synthesizing and redefining the ideas (Treffinger, Young, Selby and Shepardson, 2002).
The individual will desire to bring order, remove ambiguity or confusion and link the ideas using relationships. In the third category, openness and courage to explore ideas refers to the phase refer to the individual’s characteristics such as problem, aesthetic and emotional sensitivity, curiosity, risk-taker, fantasy and imagination and intuition. The individual should be able be unwilling to simply accept authoritarian assertions without carrying his own investigations on the validity of these assertions. Finally, the fourth important element is the ability to listen to one’s inner voice. The individual needs to display certain characteristics such as persistence, self-direction, perseverance, freedom from stereotyping and energy.
One should have a vision of where he wants to be and work towards attaining that vision.
Importance of Creativity
Education specializes in concentrating on three disciplines. It focuses on a mastery of the basic literacies, the fundamentals of major disciplines such as mathematics and teaching morality and citizenship through religious studies. However there are many changes in the world and educators need to impart disciplines of creativity on the students to assist them to thrive in the current world.
There are the forces of globalization which cause major migration between locations causing a high supply of human resource yet the demand for these jobs are quite low. There is also technology which enables companies to reduce the size of its human resource staff as there are computers and other machinery which are able to do most of the duties (Craft, Gardner and Claxton, 2007).
Individuals should be able to generate ideas and create their own jobs and even have companies where they can employ others. For the individuals who are employed, the employers are demanding more than their academic papers. They want employees who are creative, innovative and brilliant at communication with their colleagues. There are also pressing planetary problems that may not be addressed simply by the application of these education disciplines. The world is facing hostility between nations and religions, global warming, severe diseases such as AIDS, ecological disasters and biological terrorist attacks.
The world needs creative people who will be able to assist the human population tackle these problems. Even in this century where there are many challenges, it is also a time where there are great opportunities for the young people to be creative and innovative.
The young people should be equipped with the skills to grasp these opportunities. Creativity can be applied in all areas whether based on arts or sciences. When individuals are creative, they feel accomplished and it highly boosts their self-esteem.
Teaching Creatively Verses Teaching for Creativity
Teaching creatively is different from teaching for creativity. Teaching creatively occurs where the teachers aspire to spice up the education approaches to make learning more interesting for the students. It involves the teachers being imaginative and entertaining (Claxton, 2006). It is associated with taking breaks in the national curriculum and events being held where arts such as plays and paintings are presented.
There is a lot of physical expression as the students and teachers interact more and engage in many activities (Jeffrey and Craft, 2003). The students were excited as they would be able to move to different classes, the library and the laboratories as they explored their world. The teaching methods made maths interesting and science came to be perceived as a journey of discovery. Teaching for creativity is different however as it involves the teachers developing the creative mentalities or behaviour of the students.
The teachers encourage the students to believe in their own creative identities. The students with the assistance of the teachers identify their creative abilities. The teachers encourage attributes such as curiosity, sensitivity and other creative characteristics in the students (Jeﬀrey and Craft, 2004). The students are encouraged to have some time alone to come up with ideas and let their imagination flow. There is no limitation to how the ideas should be structured. Later the students come together and brainstorm on the different ideas.
At the end of the day, there is ownership of the student in what they are doing as they see their ideas bear fruit and projects are undertaken.
It is possible to teach creativity to the students however it has to be approached with certain concepts. Creativity should not be approached as a special power which an individual has or lacks. Creativity is really multidimensional. Creativity involves stretching the minds of the students and causing them to think afresh and really outside the box. The teacher should create scenarios where there is experimental “ play”. The students are told to think of the various alternatives and possibilities and then there are sessions of critically evaluating and analysing them. The students are encouraged to really analyse the status quo or the accepted assumptions in their area of study and challenge them if need be.
The teacher desires to bring the students to a point where they do not place any inhibitions or limitations to their creative process. They should have flexibility and challenge the status quo. Apart from the assumptions of other scholars, the students have to deal with their own personal assumptions and preconceptions. They need to unlearn so that they can begin afresh. There is an emphasis from the teachers towards the construction of something new or different. Those who are creative usually have a strong belief in themselves.
Teachers have to encourage the students and build their self-esteem to increase their creative performance. An individual is usually creative in the fields they are interested in. The teachers should help students recognise their interests and focus on their creative strengths. Using this approach will cause the students to be interested and excited about creative teaching.
Assessment of Creativity
It is generally clear that whatever the students are taught, they should be tested. If the teachers teach creativity, then assessments should be carried out on the creative products of their creativity. The teachers should examine the creative portfolios of the students. These could be the creative works that have been developed over the course of the year. In brainstorming sessions with the students, the teachers can analyse the ideas for divergent and convergent thinking.
The student’s ideas can be analysed in terms of fluency in expression, the various alternatives and possibilities given and the originality of the ideas (Adams, 2005). The ideas can also be analysed in terms of complexity and completeness. Are the ideas proposed effective, do they consider the constraints in the real world? There has been quite a lot of debate on the subject of assessment of creativity.
The right tools have to be used. There should not be a lot of focus on divergent thinking only or the measurement of the IQ alone. If the wrong measures are used, the repercussions would be high. The creative growth of the students would be stunted. It may result to an increase in anxiety and tension among the students. There will be decreased morale and motivation. There will be the tendency of categorizing and labelling of students which can lead to damaged self-perception. At the same time, there is an argument that if teaching creativity is not assessed, the students, teachers and other stakeholders will not take the process seriously.
Creativity draws from different abilities and capacities rather than focusing on one special gift or challenge. Given that creativity best takes place in an environment of motivation, confidence and an environment with minimal external pressures, the method of assessment and communication of results should be done carefully.
Adams, K. (2005). The Sources of Creativity and Innovation. A Summary of the
Research. Available through: http://skillscommission. org/commissioned. htm (Accessed August 6, 2012).
Claxton, G. (2006). Cultivating Creative Mentalities: A Framework for Education.
Thinking Skills and Creativity, 1, p. 57-61.
Craft, A., Gardner, H. and Claxton, G. (2007). Nurturing Creativity,
Wisdom, and Trusteeship: Exploring the role of Education. California: Sage
Jeﬀrey, B. and Craft, A. (2004). Teaching creatively and teaching for creativity:
distinctions and relationships. Educational Studies, 30(1), p. 77–87.
Jeffrey, B. and Craft, A. (2003). Creative teaching and teaching for creativity:
distinctions and relationships. British Educational Research Association Special Interest Group in Creativity in Education Conference Paper.
Treffinger, D., Young G., Selby, E. and Shepardson, C. (2002). Assessing Creativity:
A Guide for Educators. National Research Centre for the Gifted and Talented,
University of Connecticut.