Leading Educational Idea

As part of my Masters of Education studies I am participating in a subject titled “Leading Educational Ideas”. It’s been an amazing subject that has taken me through a journey of leading educational ideas from the idea of Affect (the embodying a desire to learn) to the impact of Globalisation of Education. To complete the subject we have to develop a small negotiated project that investigates a Leading Educational Idea. It is to be presented in two parts. Here is my rough proposal of an Educational Idea that I would like to pursue. Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Pie in the sky? Pigs might fly? Who knows… But just for a moment could you imagine if…

“Assessment tail wagging  the curriculum dog”
This statement has reverberated around my head for weeks now since  David Clarke mentioned it during his and Lihua Xu’s presentation on alignment- His further musings regarding “why assessment should be relegated to the tail of the dog as an after thought appendage?”, coupled with his notion that “assessment is the most explicit statement of those performances that a school system values”, had a profound impacted on my thinking about creativity in education. That is, if we were to turn assessment on its head and predominately or possibly only assess for key indicators of creativity across all curriculum areas, I wonder what the impact would be on curriculum design and therefore teacher instruction?

According to Maslow (1970) the creative individual is also a fulfilled one. He also puts forward the notion that creativity is not experienced by only a few, but rather it is an everyday phenomenon experienced by everyday people (Maslow 1970). Maslow’s assumption here is that creativity is evident in everyday occurrences such as doing housework or professional occurrences where there is specialisation of knowledge and experience and that it’s not exclusive to individuals who participate in art. Goldman et al (1992) also argue  that much innovation and problem solving occurs in everyday life. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi goes on to say “Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives. Creativity is a central source of meaning in our lives. Most of the things that are interesting, important, and human are the result of creativity.” (Csikszentmihalyi 1996). The idea that an element of a fulfilled individual is one who is creative emphasises the importance of linking creativity and innovation in education.

For my leading educational idea I would like to explore the idea that if we were to assess for the key indicators of creativity  and then if we apply alignment theory,  curriculum and teacher instruction would have to change/adapt in alignment. Thus shifting us away from the current malaise where we are fixated on a reductive methods of teaching to a narrowing curriculum. To a place were ‘teaching to the test’ is valued because creativity produces an outcome that adds to the richness and complexity of ones future. (Csikszentmihalyi 1996)

Issues I have with this idea…

Proof of creativity as a means of sustenance.

What are the key indicators of creativity (this could be an thesis in itself)

Could I use the Cropely model to indicate creativity?

Fantasy? Is it unrealistic?

References so far

Csikszentmihalyi, M (1999, 2011) http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199607/the-creative-personality

Goleman, D., Kaufman, P. and RAY, M. (1992) The Creative Spirit (New York, Dutton).

MASLOW, A. (1970) Motivation and Personality, Third Edition (London, Harper


6 thoughts on “Leading Educational Idea

  1. Hey ANdrew love the idea, maybe you could tell us what you think the key indicators of creativity are (then we could really get into some interesting discussion. That seems to be the key to the whole idea. What is the cropley model?

  2. Andrew,
    I, too, love this idea.

    Like Kynan, I haven’t investigated the Cropely model – but will take a look!
    Creativity, for me, in some ways resonates with ‘knowledge construction’ at its best – not just ‘knowledge telling’ as is required in many curricula and assessment scenarios.

    But, I must admit, my view of ‘knowledge construction’ often differs from others because I don’t see it necessarily as solely a cognitive event. I, like you I believe, prefer to consider all other aspects of self — affect, emotion, motivation, etc.

    Humankind is both art and science and most assessment relies on scientific methodology – testing and counting. This is where it might be a challenge for you to use ‘creativity indicators’ – scientific indicators of the blended endeavour of creativity (art/science).

    Hmmmm…this is where I guess I would suggest a blended assessment model too! Use both empirical tools (indicators) AND your descriptive expressions of your observations.

    ok. Time for another coffee here! :-)

    • Hi Peter and Kynan,

      Thanks for your comments. I guess I am still getting my head around the idea of how to assess for creativity and this is definitely going to be the most difficult part of my endeavours. I think I was confused (not necessary a bad thing) when I suggested the Cropley model. My thinking here was about the possibility of using a Model of ‘Creative Process’ to help scaffold the assessment of creativity. Arthur Cropley’s model is based on Graham Wallas’ four stages model of creativity. I envisage that such a model or similar could guide a teacher and/or Education Authority (Foucault might have something to say about my use of the word ‘authority’) in their endeavour to some how assess whether the student had indeed involved themselves in the act of creativity. In this diagram you can see a melding of the Cropley model with the creative problem solving (CPS) process which I suppose could assist educators assess creativity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects (STEM). The key here is that I am not an expert in STEM subjects by any means and so I believe it would be up to the education experts of the particular domains to derive the assessment for creativity based on a particular model that they agreed suited their domain.

      Another model that I have been mulling over is the Urban’s computational model of creativity. (Here) Urban’s model is more detailed a prescriptive but what what I like about it and this points to Peters idea that creativity isn’t just a ‘cognitive event’ but also involves personality. That is emotion, motivation passion etc. Again could a model such as this not only guide us in how to facilitate creativity in education but also offer some insights in how to assess it?

      Thanks again Kynan and Peter for your comments. I really value your input and I love having my thinking challenged. Peter, there is so much more I would like say especially in regards to the notion of ‘affect’. The meaning of this word has changed for me recently… Lets just say that I now have a heightened sense of the energies and tensions that exist not just on the body but also on the bodies that represent processes and policy in education. But that is a whole other discussion.

  3. Wow Andrew, sounds like you will be exercising some cerebral matter here. I really like the idea of creativity being the top of Bloom’s pyramid in the cognitive domain. Assessing for creativity in science and Maths would really turn teaching and learning those subjects upside down. Allowing time for extended investigations and inquiry that results in building collective understandings may be an aim of the national curriculum for secondary science, which I think will be a step in the right direction. The ready accessibility of information must place creativity on the pedestal in place of knowledge. I look forward to reading more about your research!

  4. Hi Britt, Thanks for your comment. The idea of extended investigations and inquiry resonates with me. It will be interesting to see how the National Curriculum aligns itself with the various state university entrance scores, NAPLAN and inevitably teacher instruction. Wouldn’t it be great to some how, rid schools of the burdon of having to educate for university selection? It’s interesting that for all the investment that secondary schools make in training students to achieve the ‘magic number’, its rare to see them forth coming with any returning of the favour. It’s been a long time since I taught in a secondary school, Am I wrong in making that assumption?

  5. Pingback: ED:IT - Leading Educational Idea: The Proposal

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