Monthly Archives: April 2015

How can you teach creativity?

As I look at the NAGC standards, they often refer to teaching creativity to our gifted youth, which makes me wonder – can you teach creativity?  If you can, how do you assess it?  Is there a way to define creativity?  Well, as it turns out the long respected work of E. Paul Torrance delves into that very topic.  He even has a test for creativity that used to be given in many schools before every one went nuts over No Child Left Behind.  He defined four (4) areas in which creativity can be measured, explored, and basically taught.  Fluency, originality, elaboration, and flexibility are the four areas in which creativity can be viewed as tangible.  There is even a circle test that you can give people and have them score themselves in the four areas.  Unfortunately, you need to be a licensed psychologist to assess the numbers, but I like to give the test as a great introduction to the four areas of creativity, their definitions, and how to start dialogue on the subject.   My favorite book on creativity that was introduced to me by Sue Gonyou (an educator that I deeply respect) is A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech.  I find myself constantly reading and re-reading the book and getting fabulous ideas and a whole lot of laughs to boot.  When I taught creativity to my group of teachers of gifted students, I assigned them to read a section of the book and then design a lesson off of one of the ideas.  The lessons were to be appropriate in any classroom from grades 3-5; however, the teachers designed lessons that could be used for most grade levels.  Some lessons take 5 minutes while others last multiple days.  Creativity is usually prevalent in gifted individuals; however, by Torrance’s definitions anyone can learn to be creative.   All of the lessons have a form of assessment attached (mostly to be used for self-assessment).  In order to create these rubrics, the teachers drew ideas from Dr. Richard Cash’s work in Differentiation for Gifted Learners.  I have posted the ideas on my website; they are titled starting with the words ‘creativity lesson.’