Cycles vs. Checklists: Fostering Creative Process in an Accountability World

IntroCreative ProcessMaking Creativity a HabitTalking about Creative ProcessTools Resources

A presentation by Candace Hackett Shively, Director of K-12 Initiatives, The Source for Learning
Given at ISTE 2011, Philadelphia
Read the presentation description in the ISTE conference planner.
See the "Prezi" presentation from ISTE 2010 about this model. (no audio, just the visuals).

Each of us has a personal creative process. Facilitating that process for our students in a world of data-driven accountability is both a formidable challenge
a life skill they need perhaps more than any specific curriculum. Sir Ken Robinson's TED Talk on how schools kill creativity resonates among us as teachers. We know it happens. Study after study tells us so, and we see it. Our schools seem driven by answers, not questions.

As teachers, we wonder, How do we guide students through the creative process of project-based learning in an answer-driven, accountability environment so that:
  • Students’ ultimate goal is to create products that show what they know
  • Students are involved in defining the goals in conjunction with prescribed curriculum
  • Learning and products are not sealed and entombed once “done”
  • Steps and expectations are clear, yet flexible
  • The “messy” stages of creative process are recognized and validated
  • Students are accountable for documenting process and progress\
  • Technology tools facilitate – but do not own- the process

To facilitate creativity, we need a common vocabulary to talk about it. Guilford's FFOE model of creativity skills provides vocabulary for a "micro" view of creativity and some of the skills we can promote among ourselves and our students. See practical ways to use this vocabulary together with your students at Dimensions of Creativity, a Model to Analyze Student Projects

We also need to look at creative process from a "macro" overview, in hopes of balancing the tensions between accountability and creativity. These pages offer an overview of creative process as describe by researchers and practicing artists, ideas and examples for making creativity a "habit" within your curriculum (even with the accountability), a brief aside -- talking to students about creative process, and a list of tools to help.

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