Critical evaluation of creativity's role in learning

Term Paper, 2009

19 Pages, Grade: 9





3.1 Creativity in the British and German Curriculum
3.1.1 Creativity in English
3.1.2 Creativity in modern foreign language
3.2 Creativity in the German Curriculum
3.2.1 Creativity in Deutsch (German)
3.2.2 Creativity in English as a foreign language




1 Introduction

In this assignment I will look more closely at the role of creativity in learning, especially in education.

First I will define creativity. Second I will have a look at how creativity is defined in the curriculum. What does the National Curriculum want the children to learn through creativity and how does it want the teacher to teach this? Is there an ex- plicit way how the teacher should do it? How do they fix creativity especially with the subject English (as a native language) or with another modern foreign lan- guage?

After getting an idea how creativity is taught or should be taught in the British school system, I will have a look at Germany. How is creativity mentioned in the German Curriculum? I also will have a closer look at the subjects German (as a native language) and English (as a modern foreign language). Are there differ- ences in the Curriculum and the way of teaching or is it the same? After I have compared these two Curricula with each other, I try to give an exam- ple of how a creative English (as a modern foreign language) lesson could look like.

In the end I want to answer if creativity in school is necessary, or what do pupils learn from being creative.

2 What is Creativity?

To find one right and good definition for creativity is very difficult. A lot of people associate the arts with creativity. They think someone for example who paints a picture, writes a book or plays an instrument is a creative person. But is this the only definition or way to define creativity?

No. There are a lot of definitions of creativity because everybody defines creativity in a different way for example:

- 'Creativity is a combination of flexibility, originality and sensitivity to ideas which enables the thinker to break away from usual sequences of thought into different and productive sequences, the result of which gives satisfaction to himself and possibly to others' (Jones, 1972: 7).
- 'Creativity is not just building or making something, not just variations of form. Creativity is an attitude, a way of looking at something, a way of looking at something, a way of questioning, perhaps a way of life - it may well be found on paths we have not yet travelled. Creativity is curiosity, joy and communion' (Spolin, 1983: 286)
- t o create - to bring into existence. (Oxford English Dictionary)(Duffy, 1998: 17-18)
- the expression of original ideas, an intrinsic part of humanity. (Robert - Musician and composer)(Duffy, 1998: 17-18)
- the ability to make what you picture exist (Francis - Gardener)(Duffy, 1998: 17-18)
- being clever and designing (James - aged 6)(Duffy, 1998: 17-18)
- the impetus for learning (John - Early year educator)(Duffy, 1998: 17-18)
- You cannot use up creativity. The more you use the more you have. (Maya Angelou)
- E. Paul Torrance (educator, academic, creativity investigator) --Fluency , flexibility, originality, and sometimes elaboration.
- Carl Rodgers (psychologist an writer) -- The emergence of a novel, relational product, growing out of the uniqueness of the individual.

What about a person who thinks about possibilities or someone who plays with ideas or likes to experiment? What about a physician who experiments and tries to find out something new? Is he less creative than a person who writes a book?

As it is said in 'All our future: creativity, culture & education' '(...) creativity is not unique to arts. It is equally fundamental to advances in sciences, in mathematics, technology, in politics, business and in all areas of everyday life' (Department for Education and Employment, 1999: 27).

If we now think about the definition of creativity again, we could say that every person is creative in his own way. The way of expression is just different. That means what you do with something and the way you choose, makes you creative.

Creativity is part of everyone's life, which is not always recognised but it is still there. Especially in school creativity gets more and more important. The Depart- ment for Education and Employment, from now on marked as D.f.E.a.E., men- tioned in its 'Democratic Definition' that creativity can for example be expressed 'in collaborative as well as individual activities, in teamwork, in organisation, in communities and in governments' (D.f.E.a.E., 1999: 28). Sir Ken Robinson (2006) said on a conference in Monterey, California that creativity in school should nowadays be as important as literacy.

Creating your own ideas, experimenting with them and not having the fear of the result are also creative. Especially in companies the imagination to solve a problem is necessary for its survival. Starko mentions is his book 'Creativity in the classroom' that '(...) without creativity we have no art, no literature, no science, no innovation, no problem solving, no progress'.

The National Curriculum refers in his definition of creativity to "All our future: creativity, culture & education". They say, as mentioned before, that everyone can be creative in his own way and with his own possibilities. They divide creativity itself into four characteristics. 'First, they [the characteristics of creativity] always involve thinking behaving imaginatively. Second, overall this imaginative activ- ity is purposeful: that is, it is directed to achieving an objective. Third, these processes must generate something original. Fourth, the outcome must be of value in relation to the objective' (D.f.E.a.E., 1999: 29 cited in National Curriculum, 1999).

But what do these four characteristics mean exactly?

It is said that using your imagination is important. Our imagination should be a form of mental play and not a mental representation of things. It should be a 'process of generating something original' (D.f.E.a.E., 1999: 29) and a process which includes thinking and behaving. Making unusual connections between things or to combine old ideas with new ones to reinterpret them in a different way.

The second characteristic that is mentioned is pursuing purposes. Pursuing pur- poses means in the sense of creativity a kind of applied imagination. It means that someone does something in a deliberate way. He has a purpose for his actions; he wants to solve a central problem. The result of his creative behaviour can be dif- ferent than expected, but this can also create a new idea or can change the view of the problem.

The third characteristic is being original. The creative behaviour, thinking or learning of a person 'always involves originality'(D.f.E.a.E, 1999: 30). But the originality can be different. It can be individual, relative or historic. It always relates to your environment. The individual originality means only the relation between you and your work. Relative originality means the relation to other people and historic originality defines the work that might be original 'in terms of anyone's previous output' (D.f.E.a.E, 1999: 30).

The fourth and last characteristic of creativity is judging value. Originality in creativity is never enough. Creativity needs an 'evaluative mode' (D.f.E.a.E, 1999: 30) and it needs a value in relation to the task otherwise it is not creative concerning imaginative activities.


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