Creativity is a vast and complex concept that is difficult to understand or pin down. One minute there’s a blank page and then next an idea appears. What happened in between?
Some assume the process of creativity is a binary personality trait reserved for “creative types”, but this understanding causes problems said Dan Griffiths, Nord Anglia Education’s STEAM & MIT Programme Manager.
“It implies so few of us are creative,” Mr Griffiths said.
“We see this in traditional views of subjects — creative minds belong in the arts, right?”
Mr Griffiths said anyone can be creative and that developing creative ways of thinking are what have contributed to advancements in every known field, including mathematics and science.
“Using creativity to find alternative approaches to problems leads to discoveries that the same old well-trodden paths don’t uncover,” Mr Griffiths said.
Developing creativity is also a fundamental skill young people need to succeed in the workplace now and in the future, especially in a world where many of the jobs of tomorrow do not currently exist.
“We may not be able to predict the job market, but the ability to think differently when approaching problems or generating ideas will prepare students for any career,” Mr Griffiths said.
While creativity can be developed in all subject areas, one of the ways it is being taught at NAE is through each school’s approach to STEAM.
Mr Griffiths said the interconnectedness of science, technology, engineering (what we call design and technology in schools), arts and maths, together with applying learning to real-world problems, is challenging and empowering students to come up with creative solutions. This approach pushes students to identify a problem, figure out how to solve it and come up with a range of answers.
“Our pedagogical approach is an important mechanism to fostering creativity,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Students utilise a broad range of knowledge and skills to tackle problems that don’t necessarily have a single answer.”