Review of Creativity

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First Review

Chen Tzu Su (Theresa)

Indiana University in Bloomington

Brief Overview

Creativity is a relatively new topic in the field. Although there reminds many difficulties to approaching this field but there are already many theories (Sternberg & Lubart, 1996). This chapter discusses the concept of creativity, as well as the implications for teaching and learning. The purpose of this chapter is to raise a general discussion about different creative strategies utilized in the teaching environment. After reading this chapter, as a teacher we will have better idea about the strengths and drawbacks of different kinds of creative actives.

Key Points

  • In recent years, two approaches dominate the research literature: process-oriented models of creativity and systems-oriented models. Process-oriented models concentrate on cognitive aspects of creativity; while systems-oriented models take a broader approach to creativity that involves non-cognitive factors as well as cognitive ones.
  • Lubart (Sternberg & Lubart, 1996; Lubart, 2000) points out that the consensus among researcher to define creativity as the production of both novel and appropriate work is a product-oriented, “western” definition and the assessment of creative work can only be done in the social and historical context of its making.
  • Geneplore model is a recent approach to identify the cognitive process and structures involved in creative thinking. It distinguishes between generative processes and explorative processes. Through generative processes individuals construct preinventive structures which can later be interpreted through explorative processes and then used to develop creative products.
  • Not to much surprisingly, motivation is a strong driver of creativity (Sternberg&Lubart, 1996). Amabile has identified intrinsic motivation as more likely to produce creative results than extrinsic motivation and she came up with six strategies which may influence intrinsic motivation.


Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths

The title of the chapter is clear. In addition, the contents outline also help to provide sufficient information for readers to grasp the idea about what information they are going to read. And it also helps readers to build an organized learning about creativity.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Coinciding with this chapter, the author provides some Power Points slides and movies. As a reader, I think these help to memorize the content easier and help to understand the content in an organized way. It is also creative as is the topic of this chapter. Perhaps this is the advantage of a Wikibook-to not only provide text resources but video, audio and animations as well. When such information is added, powerful learning can occur.

The example, “Meet Mr. Kabo” is well designed. It clearly points out that the problem and solution finally end up with the authors’ description. Besides, in the latter section, the authors will connect the theories or strategies with the case study so that reader can have a concrete image not just an abstract idea.

Quick Tips for Enhancing Creativity in the Classroom. I think this section is extremely helpful and conservative. After read so many strategies and then the author give readers a summary so that readers can check if they already learned form the previous content, and also read it as a review.

Weaknesses

Amabile proposed an idea that intrinsic motivation is more likely to produce creative results than extrinsic motivation and she then proposes six strategies to enhance intrinsic motivation. However, I found some of the strategies problematic. First, some strategies do not provide strong support for Amabile’s idea. For instance, I do not see Organization Support strategy as an intrinsic motivation enhancement but rather extrinsic motivation. To name one of the examples, passing a bill to support new funding. This enhancement may not work to elicit the interest from learners or provide a better learning environment. Second, the authors over emphasized the benefit of diverse work groups, but ignored other influential factors. While working in groups, some students tend to dominate other group members, in that case, the result may only attribute by individual rather then group. Besides, attempt to enhance creative motivation by work-group has many limitation, such as age. Learners in lower lever may not develop enough ability to organize project plans. They may need plenty of instructions from instructors. However, too much assistant may deprive students of freedom and hamper learners’ creativities.

The authors mentioned a potential the conflict and concern involving the time costs between teachers and students in the resources strategy column. I think this discussion is not properly located in the chapter in one of the six strategies. The authors may expand another section to discuss about the difficulties or limitations to implement creativity in the classroom.

In the Freedom Section, author mentions the Six C’s of Motivation. However, this is an independent chapter; readers first read this chapter may not know what Six C’s is so that can’t see its association with Amabile’s six strategies. If the author can make a more coherent connection, then readers will focus them better.

The authors didn’t strongly stand out their position. In this chapter, the authors provide many theories developed from others and contain few personal opinions such as questions or disapproval or approval. However, a reasonable explanation might be inferred that creativity is a new field for most of the researchers including the authors. As a result, before the development of additional theories, the authors may not want to pass any judgments.

Conclusion

Through this chapter, I have learned the concept of creativity and how intrinsic motivation works in the creative process. But the most impressive part for me is the implications for teaching and learning. Although some of them are not well developed, they functions as an observation for me to think about how can I improve them and implicate those strategies in my own class. On the other hand some of the strategies provide good models for instructors. For examples, I learned that sufficient freedom and positive feedback are necessary to booster the development of learners’ creativity but it should also have some constraint. Therefore, how do keep the balance between freedom and constraint will be a new problem for me to find out the solution.

Creativity is a new field in teaching and learning, but new does not mean it cannot be implemented in a real teaching environment. Though we may not have extensive or accurate information about it, we can still embed aspects of it in our teaching. During the implementation of creativity, we will discover more problems, debate issues and even develop still more theories.

Second Review

Valerie Lawhorn

University of Houston

Topics covered

Introduction, The Concept of Creativity, 2.1 Portrait of Creativity: Meet Mr. Dabo, What is Creativity?, Shedding Light on Mr. Dabo's Creativity: A Discussion, Implications for Teaching and Learning, The Cool Project, Enhancing Creativity, Challenge, Freedom, Resources, Work-group Features, Supervisory Encouragement, Organizational Support, Conclusion, References, Notes, Citation

Summary

This wiki discusses the concept of creativity, the learning theories surrounding the topic, and how it impacts teaching and learning. An example is used to further illustrate how creativity influences group dynamics and project-based situations. This wiki also discusses key strategies for teaching towards creativity in the classroom.

Critique

I believe in certain areas there could be more clarification of ideas. I have highlighted the paragraphs I am most concerned about. The paragraphs are chalked full of sources and definitions; however, the authors do little to elaborate on the terms presented. I read this as an outsider to the theories surrounding creativity. Without explanations to certain concepts, I was not able to fully understand the chapter. The following is an example of a passage which could be expanded:

Although Amabile recognizes that creativity is "culturally and historically bound" (1983, p. 34), it is not explicitly mentioned in her three componential model. The relevant factors working together are domain-relevant skills (or expertise), creative-thinking skills, and motivation. Creative potential relies on expertise because new insights in a domain can only be gained through prior knowledge of the domain. The importance of expertise is accepted by most researchers (Amabile, 1983; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Sternberg & Lubart, 1996). Creative-thinking skills relate to cognition as well as personality characteristics. Motivation looks at the reasons why a person engages in a task and the attitudes one might have toward the task. Amabile has identified intrinsic motivation as more likely to produce creative results than extrinsic motivation. This passage provides plenty of information, but to benefit the average reader, it needs to be further explored.

Also, as I mentioned, in some paragraphs certain definitions are not explained. There seems to be an underlying assumption of terms the authors tend to assume the reader knows. For instance, when discussing the Six C's of Motivation. It is never defined, but not mentioned, or if it is, it is completely ambiguous.

I did enjoy how the ideas of creativity where applied to the real world and the teaching world through two separate examples (Mr. Dabo and The Cool Project). The examples develop the ideas initiated by the sources. The Mr. Daboo example reminded me of the movie Pay It Forward, a concept that is coined by a student who was motivated by a social studies project. The teacher uses an assignment to encourage students to “look at the world around you and fix what you don’t like.” The openness in this assignment allowed the student to explore an idea and then develop it. The student invoked creativity in doing so. My point is, although Mr. Daboo is great, it doesn’t hone in on education. If Mr. Daboo encouraged his students to participate or develop a solution, well that makes a better example for the context of learning theories. As educators, we are interested in how to apply learning theories to real contexts. We do not need more theory added to our theory. I do not think the technology, power point, helps add to the explanation of the example. It seems to reiterate the same information and is noted at the wrong time. I commented in the paragraph to further explain this point, see the comment.

Upon evaluating the information, I considered both the strengths and weaknesses of this chapter. Elaboration and further explanations are the biggest weakness of the paper. The strength of the paper surrounds The Cool Project example. It is evident that the authors used the example in a beneficial way to further explain topics. For me personally, I enjoyed the Quick Tips for Enhancing Creativity in the Classroom.

Improvements for this paper would be to utilize more examples. I think this is a good solution because it is the strength of the paper, why not capitalize more on that. From this chapter, I did learn more about the theories surrounding creativity, but am still hazing about the learning theorists that specialized in the topic. Overall I think this is a strong beginning to explore the topic of creativity. It is a complex and vast topic.