Monday is my lecturing day and today’s subject for discussion is “Can creativity be taught, encouraged or increased?”. I’ve been looking forward to being involved in this title as it combines something that’s been a constant interest to me, creativity, as well as linking to my recent PGCE studies. The lecture is primarily concerned with two people, author and educationalist, Sir Ken Robinson and psychology professor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.
Robinson’s book Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative discusses the need for a greater emphasis on creativity in schools. He also believes that they are killing creativity by discouraging kids from being wrong and continues by stating, “if you’re not prepared to be wrong you’ll never produce anything original.” This video elaborates his argument and was part of the influential TED talks. It’s been downloaded 4 million times and shows Ken as a bit of a comedian too.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi has a different view of the how creativity manifests itself. “It is easier to enhance creativity by changing conditions in the environment than by trying to make people think more creatively.” The lecture then goes on to discuss the conditions that formed the “‘perfect’ environment in which creativity could grow” in Florence, Italy between 1400 and 1425.
Following this I took my seminar and spent the first half hour debating the student’s own experience of creativity in their school environment. I moved the discussion on to what constitutes ‘creativity’. There was a lot of interest in discussing reality television and whether the content and acts were being creative. The general consensus was, unsurprisingly, was that it was not but many thought the idea of X Factor was original even though the idea was adapted from its forerunner Pop Stars.
The session ended with some group work where students separated into their respective disciplines. I ask them to discuss and then present what are the main creative attributes to be creative in their field.