I am always fascinated by creativity. How do we define it? What does it look like? Is it an innate skill or something that can be learned? Can you teach it or is it just something that be nurtured?
If I had to describe myself, creative would be very low on the list. I’m not artistic or musical (those typically deemed creative subjects) and I don’t find coming up with ideas for displays or themes easy. I am in awe of those who can see something that isn’t there. I’m amazed by those that can seemingly create something from nothing. This is not me.
I hadn’t realised until this opportunity to write prompted me that I had actually been rethinking what creativity might be. Thinking of those ‘creative’ subjects like art and music, does copying a piece of art or playing a piece of music indicate creativity on its own or just a proficiency in a skill such as drawing or playing the piano?
A much used quote from Einstein says ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge’. After reading Dan Willingham where he talks about how without knowledge in the first place it is almost impossible to be imaginative (substitute creative just about), I have changed my opinion a little. The reason those people can see something that isn’t there or create something from nothing is because they have a store of knowledge in the first place and have the skills specific to that area to be creative. Both are key and go hand in hand. To that end, I think I’ve answered some of my questions. Is it an innate skill or something that can be learned? A bit of both but by increasing knowledge and skill you can increase the possibility of being creative. Can you teach it or is it just something that be nurtured? I don’t think you can teach it, but people need opportunities to put skill and knowledge into action, and this may need guidance.
I still wouldn’t call myself ‘creative’ as such. However, occasionally, when faced with a problem, I will come up with a ‘creative’ solution. I won’t draw my way out of it (thank goodness) but I will apply a bit of abstract thought to a problem and find a solution that may not be in the Headteacher playbook (if there were such a thing). On reflection, this comes from knowledge, experience and skills that I have in my locker about certain, specific areas. I still wish I could draw though!