Recognising and fostering creative production

Authored by: Thomas Balchin

The Routledge International Companion to Gifted Education

Print publication date:  September  2008
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415461368
eBook ISBN: 9780203609385
Adobe ISBN: 9781136028786


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Global interest in the phenomenon of creativity has grown incrementally since J. P. Guilford’s (1950) presidential address to the American Psychological Association. For nearly six decades now it has been subject to many types of enquiry and analysis, experimental manipulation and control. The ‘mystery’ conception of creation has been largely removed (Simonton 2000b). Creativity is generally seen as the ability to produce work that is both novel (i.e., original, unexpected), and appropriate (i.e., useful, adaptive to task constraints) – see Sternberg and Lubart 1999. Several researchers in the cognitive science field, e.g. Mandler (1995); Schank and Cleary (1995); Smith et al. (1995); Weisberg (1993), suggest that creative thinking is simply the result of ordinary mental processes (i.e. the same as those we use to solve everyday problems). Similarly, the psychology field is in general agreement that the ability to express novel, orderly relationships is not a rare form of genius, and that any area of human endeavour can be fertile soil for fresh ideas to flourish. However, creative work is not easy, and serious task commitment and motivation are also required (Eysenck 1993; Dweck 2006; Gardner 1993a). Creativity should undeniably be encouraged in schools, but can (and should) creative effort be identified, judged and graded in schools in order to identify and support gifted learners? Some scholars in this book, e.g. Donald Treffinger, have tackled this question for decades.

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