“There’s no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would forever be repeating the same patterns.” – Edward de Bono
Creativity is a core competence for today’s young people to develop. It is one of the crucial skills that should be developed as students engage in their learning journey and prepare for future success in the marketplace and in life.
Creativity is as important for art and design studies as it is for other fields of science, humanities and languages that require problem-solving, innovation, and originality.
Our modern economies, today’s knowledge societies, increasingly depend on innovation and creative skills to address emerging challenges.
Therefore, it is important that one of the key missions of the schools is to educate for creativity.
Every individual student has the potential to think creatively. When teachers engage creativity in their classrooms they improve a host of other individual abilities, including metacognitive capacities, problem-solving skills, as well as promoting identity development, academic achievement, future marketplace success, and active citizenship.
Hence, they can and should be taught creativity in school. When creativity and creative thinking is woven across the curriculum and incorporated into all subject areas, its importance demands that it also be treated as a field of study in its own right.
This in turn makes creativity to be valued as an area of academic study, that is to be taught effectively, and that must be assessed.
This helps students to apply their knowledge creatively, especially where the learning process supports the interpretation of experiences, actions and events in novel and personally meaningful ways to novel situations.
“Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.” – Ken Robinson
Assessing Creativity in the Classroom
In the assessment of creativity in the classroom, a teacher evaluates cognitive skills, learning content readiness, openness to experience and intellect, willingness to take part in collaborative engagement, willingness to persist and persevere in the face of difficulty and challenge one’s beliefs of achieving set goals, and task motivation.
Teachers have a responsibility to provide opportunities for students to develop their creative potential and expression through multiple tasks, various mediums, and in different kinds of environments.
The teacher can assess students on the following elements of creativity: creative thinking, problem-solving, fluency, originality, elaboration, divergent thinking, and synthesis. Creativity in the classroom can be achieved in the form of:
- Creative expression: where a student communicates their world and imagination through writing, drawing, music or other arts,
- Knowledge creation: where a student generates knowledge that is new to a group, and share their understanding in a collaborative enquiry process, or
- Creative problem-solving: where a student finds creative solutions to a variety of problems across different learning areas.
Designing online assessments to promote creative expression
Online assessments are used to evaluate a student’s progress and identify areas of development and support.
There are several ways teachers can design online assessments to promote creative expression: Here are a few ways that you can adopt to kickstart your student’s creative journey:
Providing a variety of assessment formats: This will include tools like video, audio, images, written responses that can allow students to express themselves creatively in different ways.
Designing open-ended questions and prompts: This allows students to explore their own unique perspectives and ideas.
Designing and providing students with access to digital tools: Tools such as graphic design software, video editors, or sound recording software, help encourage students to express their creative side.
Encouraging risk-taking within a safe and supportive classroom environment: This will always allow students to explore new ideas and share them without the fear of getting lashed by the teacher.
Provide opportunities for students to collaborate: This would be a great starting point especially when encouraging students to collaborate on creative projects, both with their peers and with other classes or schools.
Sharing regular feedback and support: As a teacher, sharing regular feedback to students on different creative projects allows them to become better and also gain more confidence as they work on their next projects.
Fostering celebration of student work: This can be achieved through a variety of ways, such as displaying it on a class website or social media page.
Encouraging students’ self-reflections:This is an important step in this journey as it enables students to reflect on their own creative process and identify areas for growth
Offering multiple assessment opportunities: This is done through offering formative assessments throughout a project and a final summative assessment.
Building a sense of community and belonging among students: This can be achieved by encouraging them to share and celebrate each other’s work.
When a teacher is fostering creativity, they should create assessments that encourage students to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions to complex problems.
The online assessments should be more effective than summative assessments, which reflect grades and scores.
For example, a teacher assessing creativity of students at the elementary level should apply observation and self-reflection as methods of formative assessments. This helps to examine the student’s creative growth rather than compare their achievement with their peers.
In a nutshell, encouraging brainstorming and idea generation, offering immediate feedback and constructive criticism, enabling environments for collaboration, group assessment, peer assessment, self reflection and experimenting ideas, as well as providing access to digital tools such as ntemata and creating rubrics that reward creativity, are excellence ways of promoting creativity and creative thinking, in all levels of education.