Image from Newsweek, July 10, 2010
Many of you know I have developed a keen interest in the subject of creativity and the role of education in fostering and encouraging creativity and innovation. Perhaps some of you have read this recent feature in Newsweek magazine called the “Creativity Crisis.” If you have not read it, you should.
The article describes the “creativity quotient” test, a series of tasks developed by Professor E. Paul Torrance to measure an individual’s creative potential. Back in 1958, Professor Torrance assessed the creativity quotient of 400 children and tracked them longitudinally. Those with the highest scores tended to hold major leadership positions and made significant contributions to their professions. Torrance and other scholars have continued to measure the creativity scores of these and many other individuals in the US over the years.
Newsweek, July 10, 2010 Example of drawing exercise to assess “out of the box thinking”
According to the Newsweek article, the scary thing is, average creativity scores had been rising until 1990 when the scores began to decline. If the strength of the US economy is based on our ability to be innovative and creative, then where are we headed?
Quoting from the article:
“Around the world, though, other countries are making creativity development a national priority. In 2008 British secondary-school curricula—from science to foreign language—was revamped to emphasize idea generation. . . The European Union designated 2009 as the European Year of Creativity and Innovation . . . In China there has been widespread education reform to extinguish the drill-and-kill teaching style. Instead, Chinese schools are also adopting a problem-based learning approach.”
This should be a vital call to action to all educators, students and citizens.