Do you value creativity in education?

I’m a professional graphic designer and a part-time professor at the School of Media and Design at Algonquin College so I’m deeply invested in the value of creativity both in my work and the work of my students.


Creativity can be hard to assess. Great pressure on the part of the instructor is to try to remain as objective as possible and there needs to be a benchmark on what the assessment looks like. I’ve put together a few resources that may help you to value and more importantly nurture the creativity in your own students.


Top 5 tips on nurturing creativity

  1. Creativity can be assessed either through formative or summative assessments. Providing a good foundation for how students can think creatively is important before graded assessments can be made.
  2. Allow class time to work on activities that promote creativity in a low-stakes way, meaning that this will allow students to take risks in their thinking without penalty and allow for formative assessment from the teacher or peers.
  3. Students need time to reflect on their hypothesis and reach beyond what would be conventional and move into the original.
  4. Letting students know that you value creativity is key to helping them move to creative expression. Help students understand what you consider creative and allowing students to define extensions of an idea will help them start thinking creatively.
  5. I believe that through the value of creativity we can move students into the connections and extensions ICE model
The following articles and resources may help to implement creativity as part of formative or summative evaluations for your students. Valuing and assessing creativity may lead to complex problem solving and critical thinking skills in our students. Using the ICE model, creativity could be aligned with the “extensions” portion of an assessment. Typically creatively is a cumulative performance of taking an idea and reaching beyond convention and presenting an original way of looking at things or a new context.
Can you assess creativity?
Here are two articles that were insightful for me and may give you a head start.
This particular article looks at a number of indicators that I feel can be aligned with “Extensions”
  • Synthesize ideas in original and surprising ways.
  • Ask new questions to build upon an idea.
  • Brainstorm multiple ideas and solutions to problems.
  • Communicate ideas in new and innovative ways.
Target audience: JK-12
Andrew Miller: Educational Consultant and Online Educator at Edutopia
This article discusses a more in-depth look at the matter of assessing creativity and includes a rubric. The article lists some expectation teachers should expect from creative work and how to assess it:
  • Recognize the importance of a deep knowledge base and continually work to learn new things.
  • Are open to new ideas and actively seek them out.
  • Find source material in a wide variety of media, people, and events.
  • Organize and reorganize ideas into different categories or combinations and then evaluate whether the results are interesting, new, or helpful.
  • Use trial and error when they are unsure how to proceed, viewing failure as an opportunity to learn. (Brookhart, 2010, pp. 128–129)
Target audience:  principles can be applied to any age


How I will use this in my teaching?

In my courses, I can discuss with my students early in the semester what creativity looks like and what defines it through in-class discussions and collaboration.
Feedback must be formative to allow the student to reach further and develop creative ideas, I can implement “drafts” in the assignments and place creativity as part of the rubric.
I’ll provide examples of creative implementation of conventional ideas and show the difference between imitative and creative outcomes.

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