Can we TEACH creativity?

Do YOU understand WHY you are better at some skills than others?? Do you think that ANY skill  can be taught ?

. . . .Ok every year Design and Technology students at this time start coming up with ideas and concepts for their “MDP” (Major Design Project). They have from NOW until next AUGUST to create “something” – in pretty much ANY area of design. Huge scope isn’t it!

Presently, in class all sorts of ideas are floating round, most at this stage are a work in progress. The obvious common thread is that they are aspiring to create something that is CREATIVE and PURPOSEFUL!!?? URGH! how do we as teachers make sure that each of the 17 odd students in the class achieve this in their MDP’s??!!

Class activities have been centered around inspiration and idea generation. One of the stand out activities from this past week was the LEFT v’s RIGHT brain test. . . .

In my mundane “PSYCHOLOGY 101” unit at uni- we went through some pretty DRY material about WHAT activates differing parts of the brain and its opposing hemispheres. I brought this concept to class and linked it to design areas/fields of design and skills that people of each favorable hemisphere may demonstrate.

Before we did the test, I obviously discussed its place and validity- AND YES! the old wives tales of left handed-ness was discussed, and students understood that you do actually use both hemispheres,  HOWEVER the results were astonishing!!

According to research: 


  • Intuitive
  • Holistic
  • Visual thinkers
  • Exploratory learners
  • Analytical
  • Rational
  • Aural thinkers
  • Linear learners
After completing a series of 40 questions, each student was asked to “guess” their result- most people were correct in their assumption and it was even MORE surprising to note that I could actually predict and understand students favorable hemispheres as demonstrated by their design work and personality.
So, it brings me back to the opening question (you can see my right brain thinking at work there! got there in the end, but in a round a bout way!! hahahaha)
. . . .Do YOU understand WHY you are better at some skills than others?? Do you think that we can be taught ANY skill?
I believe YES, we can be TAUGHT skill sets and thought processes, and we can be taught to THINK CREATIVELY. For example; the design process that students apply to projects is sequential, this scaffold can be applied to differing design problems so that solutions can be made/discovered. PERFECT! The only variable in the outcome is the path they take to get to their solution. . .
I find that students who are more RIGHT brained, they tend not to follow the design process- but to reverse engineer concepts. After having a FLASH of inspiration much work is needed to build a background story and research components of the MDP to validate their idea.
LEFT brainers on the other hand, are much more objective and analytical in their approach, tending to spend MORE time on the research and planning phases than right-brainers. Their designs are largely built around the facts and points raised by analysing existing products on the market.
Students had a firmer validation of where their strengths/skills lie- these were mapped to design areas. And in a quirky way it re-enforced which areas they are better at and need improvement in, (ie: right brainers need a deeper focus and possibly more help in areas of time management).
But mostly, this exercise was for MY benefit. I now KNOW the learners in my room a little more, I can understand their thought patterns and possibly guide them using their most favorable thought processes.
I have spent some time today looking at HOW favorable hemispheres affect HOW PEOPLE LEARN, and the next step for me to better prepare these students for the MDP is customising class material to coincide/nurture with how they think.
I found some easy to read/follow info on which is what I’m starting with:
. . . and of course there is TED video. Not related to right/left thinking, but how creativity can be nurtured in schools and how creativity should be valued.
Are YOU left, or right??

One thought on “Can we TEACH creativity?

  1. Nice post Monique!

    Always good to think about different learning styles though I think more and more we are crossing over which must be a good thing.

    My first time to visit your blog too and love the freshness adn vibrancy of it!

    I look forward to following more of your refections 🙂

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