Home' Teacher : May 2011 Contents 24 TEACHER MAY 2011
creativity, Cropley explains, occurs and is
valued within a culture. What is considered
creative in, say, an urban classroom in Paris
may differ from what is seen as creative in,
say, an Australian school in the outback.
What is considered creative in a Year 10
classroom may differ from what is seen as
creative in a Year 1 classroom.
Cropley suggests that looking at the pro-
cess an individual takes to reach the point
of creating something that is new and novel
will assist educators to identify creativity
within their students. For American psy-
chologist Paul Torrance, skills, abilities and
motives are indicators of creativity. A crea-
tive person will possess skills such as criti-
cal thinking and divergent thinking, will be
able to concentrate and imagine at higher
levels than those around them, and will be
cu rious and persistent.
In the 1960s and beyond, Torrance devel-
oped the Torrance Tests of Creative Think-
ing, which he maintained were the most
reliable method of assessing giftedness. He
identified and developed tests for thinking
and other problem-solving skills addressing:
fluency: the ability to generate a quantity
of relevant ideas in response to a stimulus
flexibility: the ability to examine a prob-
lem in a variety of ways and from a vari-
ety of perspectives
originality: the ability to come to a
unique conclusion or combine ideas to
make a new, original idea, and
elaboration: the ability to take an origi-
nal idea and add to it or analyse it in
relation to other ideas or information.
According to Torrance, a creative student
not only thinks creatively, but also has per-
sonality traits such as risk-taking, independ-
ence, humour and a strong self-concept.
Planning and assessment
My student, Peter, comes to mind again. A
teacher who focused only on the work he
completed may have been slightly annoyed
that he hadn't strictly followed the home-
work instructions. In truth, I was slightly
annoyed at first, but when I listened to him
explain the process he took, I recognised his
critical and divergent thinking, as well as
the persistence and concentration required
to complete the task in written form.
Once I recognised Peter as a creative
thinker, my role was to nurture and develop
his creative potential using the Expanded
Stage model developed by Cropley, shown
in Table 1. This attempts to identify creativ-
ity in terms of the stages by which creative
products emerge. Educators can use this
model to identify the stage of creativity on
which they wish to focus their teaching and
learning outcomes, as well as for assessment.
I use it when planning a unit and modify it
for use as a rubric that is age appropriate for
the students that I'm teaching.
The Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking
can be easily administered by a classroom
teacher to help determine which students to
include in an enrichment program, if you're
lucky enough to work in a school that offers
one. I'd strongly recommend that you then
use the Creative Thinking Skills model devel-
oped by Frank Williams, shown in Table 2.
Robert Sternberg offers practical sugges-
tions to develop creativity in gifted students.
These include encouraging and valuing:
questioning rather than accepting
sensible intellectual risk-taking
creativity as a lifelong endeavour, and
modelling and rewarding creativity.
Following Sternberg's suggestions is no
easy feat, not least because you must first
establish rapport with your students to the
point where they happily adopt your atti-
tudes of acceptance and appreciation of
questioning and curiosity. Mistakes must
inevitably be accepted as another way of
learning. A classroom where 28 people
value creativity is 28 times more effective
in encouraging creativity than a classroom
where a teacher assu mes sole responsibility.
Hope of gain
judge and select
Desire for closure
Desire to achieve
Sense of reality
Desire for reward
and effectiveness Desire for
Table 1. Arthur Cropley's Expanded Stage model, in McCann , M. & He nderson, L .
(2004). Giftedness as critical, creative and caring thinking. Adelaide: Flinders University
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