Is this Creativity?
Defining creativity is an endeavour for which the results can be rather subjective, Especially based upon the context of creativity in an educational setting, I personally feel that it is not a simple task to define creativity in a general way which can be attributed to every academic subject. And even when you think you have defined it it may not be a definition that encompasses creativity in everyone eyes, creativity is, by its very nature diverse, multidisciplinary, holistic and in a state of flux. However I feel that the following quote captures “creativity” in an apt way to me, in relation to autonomy in academic study.
“Creativity is a mental journey between ideas or concepts that involves either a novel route or a novel destination.” (Timothy D. Griffiths)
This quote expresses the notion that creativity, especially in relation to Science and Technology subjects, can be applied to both problem solving and investigative study. In order to find something out or in order to solve a known problem, with an aim to synthesise individualistic thought processes with solutions and practiced methods and theories. Creativity requires the application of flexible thinking; an ability to question and make links between concepts and items. It has been argued by a number of people, such as Armfield, G. and Hattie, J., that people, in general, have an inbuilt natural creativity. This notion encompasses the ideology that creativity is not a theory which can be taught, but rather a skill to be nurtured and drawn out. I feel it would be wrong to not touch on the dynamic nature of the neurodiversity though process which intrinsically encompasses a through process which is often different from what is accepted as “the way” to think, process and articulate.
In my experience creativity is a tool used on the journey towards a solution or and answers it is not in itself an actual destination. The journey can begin in a myriad of ways; inquiry, discovery or honest curiosity are just some of the routes that begin the creative journey which will take them on unique paths influenced by their own neurological makeup and socio-cultural influences. I feel that Herrenkohl and Mertl really capture this ideas well, the following quite is taken from their ???, entitled ???.
“… introducing them to an initially unfamiliar world, providing opportunity to see how this new world connects to the personal worlds they already know, and encouraging them to become engaged participants who in turn change the intellectual, social, and cultural landscapes as a result of their work.” (Herrenkohl, L. and Mertl, V.)
Within teaching it is the job of the teachers to provide opportunities for pupils to apply creativity, but the fashioning of such opportunities is based upon the teachers own definition of creativity. As part of my research I asked teachers to define their view of creativity, this is discussed within the “Analysis Of Finding” section of the essay.
Assessing creativity; Torrance’s tests of creativity is a method which is most commonly used within the US. It assesses both application of skill and knowledge but also requires ‘examinees’ to put skills and knowledge into context, which may involve the application of innovation. The test can require the applicants to produce drawn images, write or read speeches which they themselves have written. The test is not solely focused upon adolescents. It can, and has been, used at various stages of human development. The areas of reviews which are incorporated into the test, though vast, are extremely focused, as they all have relevance to the outcome as explored by Peal. I found the points of fluency, flexibility, elaboration and originality to be the most interesting, as I felt that they have been applied in one way or another to both the technology and science subjects, as not only a method of assessment, but also having been incorporated as objectives within individual lessons and achieved through teaching methods.
· Fluency: The ability to produce a large number of ideas
· Flexibility: The ability to produce a large variety of ideas
· Elaboration: The ability to develop, embellish, or fill out an idea
· Originality: The ability to produce ideas that are unusual, statistically infrequent, not banal or obvious.
” (Craft, A.)
Though all the points directly relate to one another they can easily be further defined into equally relevant pairs. Fluency and flexibility; which incorporate the ideology that pupils are required to have the ability to produce various ideas in answer to a question or brief, depending on the subject, while incorporating aspect of variety while forming these ideas. These two points are related to the ability of students to apply what they have learnt or what they know in a variety of ways. Elaboration and originality explore the more athletic side of creativity and are defined with words such as ‘embellish, unusual, and not banal or obvious’. It requires pupils to go further than just the production of a variety of idea, and to also embellish and develop their ideas in a way that makes them original.
Altogether, these points provide a good basis for the assessment of creativity without limiting it too stringently. It could be argued, however, that this system would attribute more value to a range of ideas which had been developed to produce unusual results than it would to a singular innovative idea; this appears to be the only downfall of this system as a large variety of ideas does not always prove flexibility. Flexibility could also be defined as how pupils approach problem-solving within the development of their ideas.
Within the process of contemplating the methods of assessing creativity it must be remembered that creativity can be greatly influence by the environment in which it is developed; it is often an individual event influenced by the factors around the pupil exhibiting creativity. These influences can be either elevations or limitations, whether it be a positive or a negative influence is defined individually by the pupils based upon their perception of their surroundings. If the environment and task were replicated with another pupil the same outcome would be unlikely. I can only conclude that to attempt to accurately measure creativity one must define creativity within relation to ones objectives and use continuous assessment to define an average attainment level instead of one off testing.
It is important to provide an environment in which pupils feel both safe and stimulated.
“Students who perceive the classroom as non-supportive and cold seemed to withdraw from their work and activities, alienate themselves, and sometimes they even withdraw from school and show extremely poor attendance.” (Goodenow, 1992)
By providing this it can help to encourage pupils to take risks thus increasing the chances of innovative discovery and creative application. Worth and Lind put forward an interesting point which argues that children develop intellectually in various stages and should be allowed to do so at their own pace. Within a classroom setting it is easy to accommodate this through methods which encompass differentiation, but in the holistic sense of the educational system pupils will be tested, progress to a higher year group and be expected to make educational decisions at the same time as their peers. This is regardless of their grades, maturity levels or various other personal factors. As explored by Erikson, E. and Erikson, J. pupils within KS3 and 4 are transcending through the evolution of ‘Schoolchild’ to ‘adolescent’ to ‘young adult’. [[i]] This is a time of both mental and physical change which requires children to become mature adults while beginning to understand aspects of themselves, and their environment, that they may not have been aware of previously. Within my research I feel I have touched upon emotional aspect which may be factors which affect how learning is both delivered and received. Within the book ‘Emotional disorders in children and adolescents’ it is stated that multidisciplinary approaches are best you to facilitate pupils with learning disabilities, and though the book is specifically related to children with emotional disorders I think that often the approaches for these pupils can also be applied in ways that assist all pupils development of understanding which may in turn contribute to their innovation.
Within the “All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education” report by National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, henceforth referred to as the NACCCE, defines curriculum, pedagogy and assessment as the ‘Three principles of balance’. These principles of balance work in tangent and require one another to be well structured and adapted appropriately to the requirements of the subject, the needs of the classes themselves and be relevant to the key stage that is being taught or assessed. But how are these principles incorporated into the NC to provide balance to the educational system? The NACCCE report defines the national curriculum as “…the framework for school inspection, accountability and quality assurance” (National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, (1999).)
The DT NC ‘Purpose Of Study’ is for pupils to use creativity and imagination to design and make “…products that solve real and relevant problems within a variety of contexts, considering their own and others’ needs, wants and values.” The science NC however begins it purpose of study with a statement rather than a specific plan for pupils. It states that “A high-quality science education provides the foundations for understanding the world through the specific disciplines of biology, chemistry and physics.” The NC within both of these subjects have, within their aims, a specific point which refers to the importance of pupils being prepared for the future. The DT NC states that teachers should prepare pupils to integrate into an increasingly technological society whereas the science NC states that pupils should be equipped with knowledge that allows them to understand both the uses and implications of science for the modern world and for the future. This appears to be the most important point of both the NC of these subject areas. This, in my opinion, displays the belief that we are attempting to prepare children for a future we know very little about, we can only guess what the world will be like based upon its current state. With this in mind the government has decided that the most important feature to the education curriculum, that will best prepare pupils for the future, is a sound knowledge of not only how to use technology but also how it is made and how it works. These aims work well within these subject areas as they incorporate the different aspects of the subject and demand that they are not only taught in a way that increase knowledge but also increases understanding and allows for the synthesis of new ideas which demand the application of a degree of creativity.
- Craft, A. (2001). An analysis of research and literature on CREATIVITY IN EDUCATION. 1st ed. [ebook] Report prepared for the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. Available at: http://www.creativetallis.com/uploads/2/2/8/7/2287089/creativity_in_education_report.pdf [Accessed 8 Jan. 2015].
- D. Griffiths, T. (2008). SCIENTIFIC COMMENTARY: Capturing creativity. 1st ed. [eBook] y Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. Available at: http://brain.oxfordjournals.org/content/brain/131/1/6.full.pdf [Accessed 3 Apr. 2015].
- Erikson, E. and Erikson, J. (2012). Erikson’s psychosocial crisis stages. [image] Available at: http://krishamstroschine.wikispaces.com/file/view/Erikson.PNG/300394508/800x387/Erikson.PNG [Accessed 21 Dec. 2014].
- Goodenow, C. (1992). School Motivation, Engagement, and Sense of Belonging among Urban Adolescent Students. Psychology in the schools, (16), 81–93.
- National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, (1999). All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education. NACCCE report.