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Fostering Creativity in Education

Our understanding of the source of creativity has shifted over the years from “inherited” genius possessed by a few highly talented individuals to a widespread natural endowment of every individual that can be nurtured through education.

Human creativity is the inexhaustible spring from which new ideas, social innovations and material progress emerge in an endless procession. Human beings are inherently and spontaneously creative, unless conditioned by training to suppress creativity in favor of standardized, conformist behavior.

Source: Santrock, J (1998). Child Development (Boston: McGraw-Hill)

Yet creativity is rarely pronounced as a learning objective in the academic curriculum. WUC seeks to foster adoption of course content and learning methods conducive to the fullest development of individual creative potential.

Characteristics of Creative Pupils

  • challenge conventions and their own and others’ assumptions
  • think independently
  • make connections between things that are usually not connected and see relationships
  • explore ideas while keeping options open and learn to cope with the uncertainty that this brings
  • reflect critically on ideas, outcomes and actions
  • reinterpret and apply their learning in new contexts
  • think laterally
  • play with ideas, experiment, try alternatives and fresh approaches

Fostering Creativity through Education

Our understanding of the source of creativity has shifted over the years from “inherited” genius possessed by a few highly talented individuals, to a widespread natural endowment of every individual that can be nurtured through education.

Research findings suggest that creativity can be fostered by instructors who:

  • Maintain an open attitude towards creative ideas
  • Suspend judgment, remain flexible and value independent thinking.
  • Avoid pinpointing students’ mistakes in a manner that may deter free thinking and creative expression.
  • Create an environment (external and social) that is stimulating and supportive to learners’ motivation/enthusiasm
  • Encourage students’ questioning and active engagement in learning by passing the decision making and the responsibility for learning back to the student
  • Use analogies to explain technical or highly theoretical concepts
  • Employ humor
  • Rethink the examination system. Encourage students to give creative answers and take a multidisciplinary approach.
  • Adopt a balanced-brain approach that goes beyond testing students’ ability to recall facts.
  • Create a positive, secure learning environment free from pressure and criticism.

Further Reading

  • Creative Consciousness
    Natarajan, Ashok
    Consciousness is creative. Value-based educational creativity can awaken and nurture young minds to develop and discover their own inherent capacity for knowledge in freedom. Education is society’s most advanced institution for conscious social evolution. Values are the essence of society’s knowledge for highest accomplishment. Education that imparts values is an evolutionary social organization that can hasten the emergence of that creative consciousness.
  • Original Thinking
    Natarajan, Ashok
    The original thinker seeks original ideas. Original thinking is made possible by the prior development of thinking that organizes facts into information. The apparently insoluble problems we confront are an opportunity to formulate a comprehensive theory of social evolution. The immediate possibility is to devise complete solutions to all existing problems, if only we use the right method of thought development.