Creativity in the Classroom; Schools of Curious Delight

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Summary of Creativity in the Classroom; Schools of Curious Delight

Creativity in the Classroom Schools of Curious Delight Fourth Edition Alane Jordan Starko First edition published 1995 by Longman Publishers USA Second edition published 2001 Th ird edition published 2005 by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. Th is edition published 2010 by Routledge 270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 Simultaneously published in the UK by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 1995 Longman Publishers USA © 2001, 2005 Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. © 2010 Taylor & Francis All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereaft er invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark Notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identifi cation and explanation without intent to infringe. Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data Starko, Alane J. Creativity in the classroom : schools of curious delight / Alane Jordan Starko. — 4th ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Creative thinking. I. Title. LB1062.S77 2009 370.15’7—dc22 2009008818 ISBN 10: 0-415-99706-2 (hbk) ISBN 10: 0-415-99707-0 (pbk) ISBN 10: 0-203-87149-9 (ebk) ISBN 13: 978-0-415-99706-5 (hbk) ISBN 13: 978-0-415-99707-2 (pbk) ISBN 13: 978-0-203-87149-2 (ebk) This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2009. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s collection of thousands of eBooks please go to ISBN 0-203-87149-9 Master e-book ISBN To the Hansen children—whose energy and creativity force my imagination into overdrive and As always, to my grandmother Gwen—every good thing I’ve done can be traced, in the end, back to her vii Contents Preface: Why Creativity in the Classroom? ix Part I Understanding Creative People and Processes 1 1 What Is Creativity? 3 2 Models of the Creative Process 21 3 Th eories of Creativity: Th e Individual 45 4 Th eories of Creativity: Systems in Context 63 5 Creative People 81 Part II Creativity and Classroom Life 117 6 Teaching Creative Th inking Skills and Habits 119 7 Creativity in the Content Areas: Language Arts, Social Studies, and the Arts 173 8 Creativity in the Content Areas: Science, Math, and General Teaching Strategies 207 9 Motivation, Creativity, and Classroom Organization 243 10 Assessing Creativity 283 Appendix: Problem-Finding Lessons 313 References 329 Author Index 345 Subject Index 351 ix Preface Why Creativity in the Classroom? At many points in the writing process an author asks him- or himself, “Why am I doing this? Why write this book?” For me, the answer has two components: belief in the importance of creativity in the constant reshaping of the world in which we live and, more specifi cally, belief in the importance of creativity in the schools. It is easy to consider the essential role of creativity in bringing joy and meaning to the human condition—without creativity we have no art, no literature, no science, no innovation, no problem solving, no progress. It is, perhaps, less obvious that creativity has an equally essential role in schools. Th e processes of creativity parallel those of learning. Recent calls for au- thentic activities, teaching for understanding, and real-world problem solving all require engaging students with content in fl exible and innovative ways. Students who use content in creative ways learn the content well. Th ey also learn strategies for identifying problems, making decisions, and fi nding solutions both in and out of school. Classrooms organized to develop creativity become places of both learning and wonder, the “curious delight” of the book’s title. Why Th is Book? Creativity in the Classroom: Schools of Curious Delight is a book about creativity written specifi cally for teachers. It was designed for a graduate course that helps teachers incorporate important aspects of creativity in the daily activities of classroom life. Teachers who understand the creative process can choose content, plan lessons, organize materials, and even grade assignments in ways that help students develop essential skills and attitudes for creativity. To do this well, teachers need both a fi rm grounding in research and theory regarding creativity and a variety of strategies for teaching and management that tie research to practice. Th is book is designed to do both. Th is is not another book on research regarding creativity, although research and theory are important components of the book. It is not a book of creative activities or “What do I do on Mon- day?” lessons, although it contains numerous examples and strategies for teaching and classroom organization. It does build bridges between research and practice, providing the refl ective teacher with appropriate strategies for today and enough background to develop eff ective strategies for tomorrow. x • Preface What’s Here? Th e book has two parts. Th e fi rst part, “Understanding Creative People and Processes,” provides the theoretical framework for the book. It has fi ve chapters. Chapter 1 is an introduction that considers the nature of creativity and how it might be recognized in students. Chapter 2 begins consideration of how culture and creativity interact, then examines models of the creative process. Chapters 3 and 4 review theories and models of creativity, including models focusing on the indi- vidual (chapter 3) and models involving systems of person and environment (chapter 4). Chapter 5 reviews the characteristics of creative individuals. Although the purpose of the fi rst part is to build understanding of research and theory, it considers each from the viewpoint of teachers and schools, examining how theories may be applied to young people and considering the implications for classroom practice. Th e second part of the book, “Creativity and Classroom Life,” deals directly with strategies for teaching and learning. Chapter 6 teaches techniques developed specifi cally to teach creative thinking and examines how they may be applied to the classroom. Chapters 7 and 8 describe approaches to teaching that support and encourage creativity in the major content areas—the arts, language arts, and social studies in chapter 7, and mathematics and science in chapter 8. Rather than approach- ing creativity as a supplement to classroom content, these chapters concentrate on creativity as an organizing strand that shapes the core curriculum. Chapters 6–8 include lesson ideas developed by teachers with whom I have been privileged to work. Th eir contributions immensely improve the work. Chapters 7 and 8 also include standards-based lesson ideas from the state of Michigan, demonstrating how teaching to standards and teaching for creativity can happen simultaneously. Chapter 9 addresses classroom management and organization, showing how they may hinder or support the intrinsic motivation underlying creativity. Th e chapter examines trends such as cooperative learning, authentic assessment, and teaching for independence, and how they may be implemented in ways that enhance the opportunities for student creativity. Chapter 10 discusses assessment of creativity both formally and informally. Each chapter includes periodic Th inking About the Classroom activities that help the reader tie material to a particular teaching situation. Also included are Journeying and Journaling questions that assist the reader in refl ecting on how content may aff ect his or her life as a teacher and as an individual. Th rough Journeying and Journaling, the reader is encouraged to engage in creative activities, refl ect on creative processes, and experiment with developing skills and habits of mind that may enhance creativity. Th rough them, I hope readers may not only develop creativity in their classrooms and plan creative opportunities for students, but fi nd creativity in their own lives as well. Perhaps they may fi nd, there, a source of curious delight. What’s New in Th is Edition? In addition to the usual updating, the most obvious change in this edition is the reconfi guration of the text into ten rather than eight chapters, and the reorganization of the theory material to separate personal and systems theories into two chapters. Th is is designed to present the sometimes- challenging material in more manageable “bites” as well as to make the conceptual organization of the theories clearer. Th ere are also some less-obvious additions. I continue to expand the information on creativity across cultures, with more examples from around the world throughout the text. I’ve also expanded the sections on collaborative creativity and added a section on potential problems confusing behav- iors associated with creativity with those associated with attention disorders. Th e Standards-based activities have evolved as the standards in Michigan have shift ed to more specifi c Grade Level Preface • xi Content Expectations. With the help of my students, I’ve incorporated more solidly secondary examples, including, for the fi rst time, some lesson ideas developed by my undergraduate students. Th ey give me faith in the future of our profession! Acknowledgments It is always impossible to acknowledge fully the many individuals whose contributions, critiques, support, and friendship allow a publication to evolve from dream to reality. Certainly that is true for this work. I do, however, express my gratitude publicly to a few individuals whose assistance was particularly essential. First, I acknowledge the contributions of Jared Chrislip and David Jernigan, two talented young men who, as high school students, created the illustrations for the fi rst edition of this book (with one assist from David’s brother Nathan). For the second and third editions, we retained half the original illustrations and created new ones for the other half. As will be obvious, Jared and David have grown into extraordinary talented young adults. Jared has gone on to law school and beyond, so I’ve worked with David to update the illustrations for this edition. Still, both young men are essential parts of the fabric of the book. Aft er all, a boring-looking book about creativity would seem the ultimate oxymoron! David and Jared’s imagination, energy, and professionalism have been a joy to watch and an enormous asset to this endeavor. Th ey are fi ne human beings as well as fi ne artists, and I am grateful to work with them. Second, I thank the students in CUR 510, Developing Creativity in the Classroom, for their as- sistance in the development of my ideas, their practical insights, and their helpful critiques of the manuscript. Perhaps most of all, I appreciate their patience as we struggle together to understand the complexities of this topic. For this edition I’m particularly grateful and excited to also have contributions from undergraduate students in my EDPS 340 Introduction to Classroom Assess- ment course. Working with them keeps my imagination active! Th anks also to the many professionals at Taylor and Francis who helped this book re-emerge in a fourth edition. In particular, thanks to Lane Akers, Alex Sharp, Lynn Goeller and Sioned Jones. I express gratitude for, and a warning about, the three black cats—and one new wild kitten—who have been my companions at the keyboard during almost all the hours of my writing. Any strange sets of letters appearing in the manuscript can be attributed to their wandering paws. Th eir purrs remind me it will all work out. Finally, as always, I must acknowledge that my work would be impossible and my life a lot less fun without the constant love, support, and confi dence of my husband, Bob. When I’m looking for an example of creativity, I never have to look very far. For more than 30 years his creativity has been a wonder to me, a joy to watch, and a privilege to share. What could be better? Part I Understanding Creative People and Processes Th e book has two parts. Th is part provides the theoretical framework for the book. It is intended to help you think through the basic questions: What is creativity? What does it look like? How will I recognize it? Where does it come from? You will be introduced to the controversies and myster- ies faced by researchers and theorists alike. Th is theoretical background will allow you to look at your classroom practice and make professional decisions based on the ideas that make the most sense to you. Along the way we will consider other important questions. How might this operate in young people? How might it vary in diff erent subjects, or in diff erent cultures? What might that mean for the students in my charge? Can I teach for creativity while also teaching my essential content? I believe the answer to the last question is, “Yes, absolutely, and they’ll learn more than ever.” So, let’s begin! 3 1 What Is Creativity? In 1905 an unknown clerk in the Swiss patent offi ce published a paper in which he advocated abandoning the idea of absolute time. Th is fundamental postulate of the theory of relativity suggested that the laws of science should be the same for all observers, regardless of speed. Th e clerk’s name was Albert Einstein. (Hawkins, 1988) Vincent van Gogh began painting in 1880. His adaptations of the impressionist style were con- sidered strange and eccentric, and his personal life was complicated by illness and poverty. He sold only one painting before his death in 1890. (Fichner-Rathus, 1986) In a quiet space under an ancient tree, the Storyteller recounts a familiar tale. Th e audience listens carefully to each nuance, appreciating both the well-known story line and the new turns of language and elaboration that make the characters come to life. In fi rst grade, Michelle was given an outline of a giant shark’s mouth on a worksheet that asked, “What will our fi shy friend eat next?” She dutifully colored several fi sh and boats, and then wrote the following explanation. “Once there was a shark named Peppy. One day he ate three fi sh, one jellyfi sh, and two boats. Before he ate the jellyfi sh, he made a peanut butter and jel- lyfi sh sandwich.” At 19, Juan was homeless and a senior in high school. One cold evening he thought that a warm space inside the school would be a more appealing sleeping place than any he could see. Get- ting into the building was no problem, but once he was inside, a motion detector would make him immediately detectable to the guard on the fl oor below. Juan entered a storage room and carefully dislodged a pile of baseball bats. In the ensuing commotion he located a comfortable sleeping place. Th e guard attributed the motion detector’s outburst to the falling bats, and Juan slept until morning. Who is creative? What does creativity look like? Where does it originate? What role do our class- rooms play in the development or discouragement of creativity? Th e word “creativity” suggests many powerful associations. In some contexts it seems almost beyond the scope of mere mortals—few of us can imagine treading in the footsteps of Einstein or Curie, Picasso or O’Keeff e, Mozart or 4 • Understanding Creative People and Processes Charlie Parker. Th eir accomplishments are stunning in originality and power, not just contributing to their disciplines, but transforming them. On the other hand, many of us have created a new casserole from ingredients in the refrigerator, jury-rigged a muffl er to last to the next service station, or written a poem or song for the enjoyment of a loved one. What about Michelle and her peanut butter and jellyfi sh sandwich or Juan and his decoy bats? Were they creative? Can there be creativity in recounting a familiar story? Are we all creative? How do we know creativity when we see it? What does it have to do with education? Th e word “creative” is used frequently in schools. Virtually all of us, as teachers or students, have had experiences with creative writing. Teacher stores abound with collections of creative activities or books on creative teaching of various subjects. Such sources frequently provide interesting and enjoyable classroom experiences without tackling the fundamental questions: What is creativity? Where does it originate? What experiences or circumstances allow individuals to become more creative? Although collections of activities can be useful, without information on these more ba- sic issues it is diffi cult for any teacher to make good decisions on classroom practices that might encourage or discourage creativity in students. University libraries contain theoretical texts and research studies that address basic questions about creativity, but the authors of these books seldom extend their investigations to explore im- plications of research and theory for daily classroom life. Few theorists examine what their theories mean for the language arts curriculum or consider how the research on motivation and creativity might aff ect methods of grading, evaluation, or reward. Even more rarely are such implications explored with school-age students. Th is book brings these two points of view together, examining the basic questions, theories, and research with an eye to classroom practice. Although the investigation of a phenomenon as complex and elusive as creativity will, of necessity, raise more questions than it answers, it provides a place to begin. I hope that thoughtful teachers who raise these questions will go far beyond the strategies suggested in this book to experiment, try new ideas, and observe what happens. Only through such eff orts can we expand the body of knowledge on the development of creativity, its impact in classrooms, and its manifestations in children. Really, Why Bother? It is interesting and sad to think that 15 years ago, when I started writing the fi rst edition of this book, it wasn’t necessary to ask why developing creativity in young people would be a good idea. Teachers might wonder about taking time away from the curriculum or the role of creativity when addressing state standards (both of which I’ll discuss later in the chapter), but rarely did they ask whether or not creativity itself had value. Today, I occasionally meet teachers who do. Th ey wonder why they should do anything they aren’t “accountable” for. If it isn’t going to count, what’s the point? Th is seems a bit like a captive rowing in the belly of a ship, concerned only about the number of strokes the overseer is counting and not really thinking about where the ship is headed. I don’t think the trend toward school accountability is equivalent to an uncaring, whip-bearing overseer (at least not on my good days). I teach courses in assessment and I believe it is an important thing. But the over-emphasis on high-stakes tests has caused some teachers to lower their sights to the oar in ways that are not healthy for our students or our world. Th ere are more important tests than the ones with fi ll-in bubbles. One of them is our stewardship for the young people we serve and the places in which we live. We teach creativity for our students. I want to encourage creativity in schools is because I believe we are responsible to create places in which students learn to think, and places in which thinking can be joyful. Few critics would argue that schools should teach students to think criti-