The Case for Creativity: Reversing the Decline of Creativity

creativityWhat do a Disney animator, a traffic engineer, and a scientist all have in common with 21st century learners?

Give up yet?

Well, they all use creativity to solve problems and answer questions!

While that may sound like a bad joke, the decline of creativity in students is no laughing matter. Recent studies have shown that creativity has been declining in students since 1990. This comes at a time when 21st century jobs require more creativity than ever, just like the three examples above.

In fact, the Partnership for 21st Century Learning has identified creativity as one of the Four Cs for learning and innovation necessary for job readiness.

The focus on assessment in the classroom, the lack of free time at home and in the school day, and an overemphasis on technology all contribute to suppressing our students’ natural creativity.

So what can we do to reverse this trend and lead our students into deeper creative waters?

In this 6-hour course, “Creativity x 4,” Carolyn Coil, Ed.D. presents a compelling case for reversing the decline of creativity and bringing creative thinking back to the classroom. She also lays out four practical, standards-based formats for developing creativity in students.

Carolyn Coil is a former teacher, adjunct professor and resource specialist. She is an internationally known speaker, author, trainer and consultant. Dr.. Coil focuses on Response to Intervention (RtI) monitoring strategies, implementing differentiation in the classroom, raising student achievement, and applying assessment strategies. She also covers the challenges associated with preparing ourselves and our children for living and working in the 21st century.

Divergent & Convergent – Two Sides of Creativity

creativityThere are many different definitions for creativity, mostly focused on the emotional and cognitive pursuit of ideas as well as the recognition of patterns and possibilities for solving varied problems. In “Creativity x 4,” Dr. Coil also identifies the concepts of divergent and convergent thinking as they relate to creativity.

Divergent thinking is the ability to think “outside the box,” to see various possibilities and solutions, and to explore new avenues. This is a more traditional thought of creativity and can be easily related to the arts and other areas.

On the other hand, convergent thinking represents the ability to synthesize all of the ideas and see the best way towards a solution. Convergence may be seen as the next step beyond divergent thinking and is a necessary element in a problem-solving process.

Beyond the Crayons and Glue

creativityCreativity is an important skill for students entering the workforce. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning has identified these Four Cs for job readiness:

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity

Creativity goes far beyond artistic endeavor. It is a necessary ingredient for our students to be 21st century problem solvers in many different fields and for different types of applications.

Four Lesson Formats for Creativity in the Classroom

In this course, Dr. Coil provides four lesson formats that you can use to help students reverse the decline of creativity, develop innovative thinking in the classroom, and apply creativity in other areas of their lives. These formats are both her own lessons or a unique spin on well-known lesson plans.

  1. Six Thinking Hats – This lesson provides students six unique ways of looking at problems or challenges, adding information with each “hat.” It encourages students to look at problems from various points of view.creativity
  2. Encounter Lessons – Encounter Lessons encourage good listening skills and higher-level thinking by asking students open ended questions.
  3. Questivities™ (Questioning Activities) – Questivities™ consists of a Project Activity and Thinking Questions that lead students into greater creativity, higher-level thinking and practice in research skills.
  4. SCAMPER – SCAMPER is an acronym for seven different questions that spark creative thinking and generate ideas for problem solving. The seven questions are designed to help students think creatively in the four identified areas of creativity: fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration.

Assessing Creativity is not an Easy Task!

In addition, Dr. Coil will help you develop assessment criteria for creative projects and performances using the following process:

  1. Brainstorm a list of possible assessment criteria.
  2. Link your assessment criteria to the standards.
  3. Use product criteria cards.
  4. Design appropriate rubrics or mini-rubrics.

Each lesson format and assessment skill is combined with example lessons, plus a bonus opportunity to write a lesson plan of your own. Get ready to be challenged!

You can stop the decline of creativity and bring creative thinking back into the classroom! Get ready to be inspired and equipped in “Creativity x 4” today.

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Delivering Quality Training – No Matter Where You Are

Mobile Ready Professional Development GDid you know that this course is mobile ready? That means you can complete the course on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop computer, or any other mobile device!

Photos courtesy of Flickr via Nicolas Buffler, Sean MacEntee, Tulane Public Relations, and JD Hancock.