How can you teach and assess creativity and innovation?

Creativity and innovation have become buzz words in education. Going from buzz word to buzz worthy is the tricky part. Sir Ken Robinson says creativity is the “process of having original ideas that have value.” Innovation is going a step further and taking your original ideas to fruition, to execute on your ideas. Creativity and innovation are different, but interrelated.

Most seem to agree that we need more creativity and innovation in schools and in industry, but few provide guidance on how to develop these skills. Many believe that creativity is some sort of musical, artistic or performance ability.

Thus the common misconception - if I’m not a musician, artist or performer, then I’m not creative.

Linda Hill, a business professor at Stanford, conducted a multi-year study of creative and innovative companies and their leaders all over the world. She found that creative environments enabled three key components of creativity – creative abrasion, creative agility and creative resolution.

Project-Based Learning, PBL Consulting

Creative abrasion is about “creating a marketplace of ideas” and allowing for discourse and debate about those ideas. Creative agility is about our fluency around developing a quantity of ideas and rapidly experimenting and testing these ideas. Creative resolution is about selecting the best ideas and taking them to fruition.

The leaders of these environments spent time intentionally building the culture, spaces and team capacities to practice these three key components.

Industry is certainly different than school. And yet, there are implications and overlap here for schools and teachers as well.

Teachers can build capacity in each creative component: creative abrasion, creative agility and creative resolution. Our work in creating educational environments that breed creativity and innovation should be around developing teacher mindsets, student mindsets and learning spaces that foster the development of creative capacities.

To build mindsets, we have to practice the behaviors that lead to creativity & innovation. It's a "fake it until you become it mentality."

PBL, Creativity and Innovation, Project-Based Learning

Keep the following indicators in mind when generating ideas about how to improve learning spaces, when selecting instructional practices and when building creative capacity in students.

How does your space or your work with students increase one of the following indicators?

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As you continue to practice with increasing teaching and assessing creativity and innovation in your classroom. Use these rubrics for creativity and innovation to guide your own work. The rubrics for teacher behaviors, student behaviors and learning spaces unpack each indicator.

These can act as a guide to direct your work and help you track your progress. It should be noted, the rubrics are not designed to be used to “grade” or “mark” students. Rather, the rubrics should be used to monitor growth formatively. They can even be viewed as a checklist for how a teacher should act in the learning environment.

The sweet spot for creativity and innovation is at the intersection of teacher behaviors, student behaviors and learning spaces.

PBL, Project-Based Learning, PBL Consulting

Good luck!

Want to dive deeper? Visit our PBL Consulting Services Page to learn more about our immersive workshops on Creativity and Innovation and Deeper Learning.

Learn more about assessing with our free Creativity and Innovation resources.

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