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How does a Teacher's attitude towards Creativity affects student creativity?

I have a problem with creativity and I'm afraid it affects how I teach. I'm not sure when it started, but I think it has to do with feeling like my creative efforts as a child weren't perfect enough. I am a perfectionist and I was raised by a perfectionist and anything less than perfection wasn't acceptable. I also have a problem with not knowing how to assess creativity or creative projects. And that brings me to the problem of control.  Maybe I'm just afraid to let my students do anything which I can't control and mark either wrong or right....


And yet, I know that I'm being too hard on myself. I don't think any of my students last year would say that I didn't let them be creative. I did drawing in front of my class (with apologies to them, of course, of my lack of perfection) and tried to strongly affirm them in their creative efforts. can I go about conquering this and truly teaching with and for creativity?? Any suggestions?

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Check these articles out:

This is my favorite quote:

• Don’t tell someone to be creative. “Such an instruction may just cause people to freeze up,” say Bronson and Merryman. Here’s a better approach from University of Georgia professor Mark Runco: “Do something only you would come up with – that none of your friends or family would think of.” Using this approach, he’s doubled people’s creative output.
Thanks so much! I read both those articles and found both useful to my inquiry and to my practice. I've also watched Sir Ken Robinson (TED series) on creativity and schools. I like his definition of creativity being "not afraid of being wrong." Great you-tube video for you to check out.
One interesting movement that is developing, at least in the English language teaching area, is "dogme", which focuses on building lessons, resources, activities, etc. based on student interest and needs as they emerge during the lesson. You will find much information on blogs run by Scott Thornbury and Jason Renshaw, amongst others.
I don't know your teaching areas, so it's difficult to offer anything more specific. But "unplugging" from your textbook and allowing the content to "emerge" from the students may help you be more creative.
By the way, creativity is more of a spectrum, from simply doing the same thing in a different way to starting off in completely new directions with no constraints. So, you may find yourself beginning at one end of the spectrum and taking small steps rather than giant leaps.
Other approaches for consideration might involve using de Bono's "6 Thinking Hats," Gardner's "Multiple Intelligences" or Bloom's "Taxonomy" as a basis for designing new ways of interacting with the same course material. I'm sure others will also offer useful ideas to get you going. Please let me know if you are unable to locate links to these resources.
Best of luck, Greg.
Thanks so much! I am teaching grade 1 this year and creativity for me this year is emerging in ways such as allowing the kids more freedom in coming to the "answer." I've always struggled with being a black and white person who likes to come to the right answer quickly. I need to allow my students to struggle a bit and really work at developing their own way to get there. I also like the definition of creativity as "not being afraid to be wrong." Trying things. I have heard of both Gardner and Bloom's work, but will look into the 6 thinking hats. Sounds intriguing.
Thanks for the idea of a spectrum; that's reassuring. I'm trying!
Hello Cynthia,

I have heard your call for help so many times before in my job! As a teacher educator I have always been particularly interested in helping trainee teachers overcome these feelings and find their own way towards developing or enhancing their creative potential.

May I suggest an article I wrote some time ago which may give you some ideas - the activities can be done on one's own but some company is usually a great idea. They are even useful for staff development meetings.

You can read it if you click on the title below:

"The Art of Being Creative"

Hope this helps!

Thanks so much. I will read the article tonight. I'm also doing an inquiry on this in my master's program and so hope to use some of your suggestions in that.
This is interesting because I just finished an on-line course with Cambridge Assessment Network and we discussed the same topic - assessing creativity. The core question is 'What are you truly assessing?' Are you assessing their creative thought? If so, we were asking...can we and should be be assessing creative thought because it's supposed to be free and unobstructed?

Or...are there components in your project that you are looking to assess?
If so... be clear what you expect them to learn and how you plan to assess it - how they get there is up to them. Therefore, you should see different processes from some students that are creative/unique and still assess the core objectives you need to without defining a single pathway.

The key might be to develop more than one way to do something - and then do a think aloud where you take a set path and change it. If you don't feel creative, get the students to 'share' the think aloud with you and suggest moments where they are following any set path you gave them. "Wow...we haven't thought of doing it that way."

Then let them work through the experience with the freedom to set their own path. For some students this will be VERY difficult and you'll need to have some set suggestions to get them through it. I wonder sometimes if creative thought is learned and because it doesn't feel like we leave enough time for it in school, students don't practice using it.

Sorry I rambled..hopefully this is kind of what you were looking for and makes sense.

And I truly doubt you aren't creative :) I think you may be placing the meaning of it in a pre-set box. I bet you can be very creative with your thinking in from of a class!



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