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This study explores if extensive practice in reading or writing is related to high creative performance. In total, 196 university students participated in the study by filling out a questionnaire and completing a creativity test. The questionnaire inquires the total courses taken in the school year, total hours spent on reading, total hours on writing, and background information. The results indicated that students who spent more time on reading/writing performed significantly better on the creativity test. This study concludes that creativity scores, especially scores of elaboration, are significantly correlated with attitudes toward reading/writing, and the amount of time spent on reading/writing.
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Creative Thinking
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Exploring the Relationship of Creative Thinking to Reading and Writing
Running Head: Creative Thinking
Manuscript submitted to Thinking Skills & Creativity
Date of Submission: November 26, 2010
Date of Revision: July 22, 2011
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Exploring the Relationship of Creative Thinking to Reading and Writing
1. INTRODUCTION
A significant amount of current research in education (Amabile, 1983, 1985, 1989;
Brown, 1989; Guilford, 1981; Plucker, Beghetto, & Dow, 2004) has recognized that
creative abilities are essential in solving complex individual, social, and global problems.
The world now is faced with ever-increasing problems that require solutions form
creative talents. Education around the world aims at developing not only knowledgeable
workers but also creative thinkers. With such understanding, promoting creativity has
emerged as a major educational issue in Taiwan (Le Métais, 2003; Pan, Yang, Chou, &
Hong, 2003; Sharp & Le Métais, 2000).
International comparisons on test scores of mathematics and science have shown
that students in Taiwan perform better than their counterparts in many other countries
(Chen & Stevenson, 1995; PISA, 2006; Stevenson & Stigler, 1992; the TIMSS, 1995,
1999, 2003, 2007). However, test scores of creative thinking have not shown similar
outstanding results (Wang & Chu, 1975; Wang, 2007), nor have the test scores of reading
literacy (PISA, 2006). After reviewing the test scores, some may wonder why students
who are good at solving math problems are bad at solving creativity problems, and also
poor at reading literacy. Is this because reading literacy and creative thinking require
different abilities from solving math problems? Could similar performances on creative
thinking and reading literacy imply that there is a link between the two?
In the above international comparisons, creative performance has been referred to as
the results of a creativity test. This study, using a similar creativity test (the Abbreviated
Torrance Test for Adults, the ATTA), adopts the Torrance research definition (1965; 1966;
1988): Creative thinking is the ability to sense problems, make guesses, generate new
ideas, and communicate the results. With this view of creativity, Torrance (1988, 2000),
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and also Tayor and Sackes (1981) have suggested that creative potential exists among all
people and can be improved through learning. Based on this conception, many
researchers (McVey, 2008; Sak, 2004; Scanlon, 2006; Smith, et al., 2000; Sturgell, 2008)
have advocated the idea that creativity can be encouraged through learning activities,
especially reading and/or writing.
Thinking skills are closely related to language development (Piaget, 2002; Vygotsky,
1986), and it is highly possible that creative thinking has a certain connection with
reading and writing abilities. According to the literature (McVey, 2008; Sak, 2004;
Scanlon, 2006; Smith, et al., 2000; Sturgell, 2008), creativity is consistently associated
with the abilities that are required for reading and writing. The traits that are encouraged
by reading and writing appear to have the same characteristics that creativity researchers
suggest foster creativity, such as the freedom and ability to communicate ideas (Amabile,
1996; Beghetto, 2005; Cropley, 1992, 1997; Gardner, 1988; Torrance, 1992), an emphasis
on self-discovery (Amabile, 1996), and attention to the individual (Albert, 1980;
Harrington, Block, & Block, 1987). Also, when examining the relationship between
creative abilities and test scores of different subjects, Wang (2007) discovered that the
creative ability of elaboration significantly and positively correlated with English reading
and writing scores, but not with math scores.
A large body of research explores if learning activities in the classrooms can
contribute to creative development. Some studies (Branowsky & Botel, 1974; Messman,
1991; Otto, 1991; Sak, 2004), targeting gifted children or children in general, endorsed
the idea of fostering creativity through classroom reading and writing activities. Other
studies (Annis, 1998; Chen, Bernard, & Hsu, 2005; Zachopoulou, Trevlas, &
Konstadinidou, 2006) endeavored to design creativity courses through different learning
activities, including reading and writing for preschool children and college students. The
above studies provided qualitative observation of how structured reading and/or writing
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activities in the classrooms encouraged students to generate creative ideas and projects.
However, there seems to be little evidence about fostering creativity through
personal learning activities. No empirical-based evidence has indicated if personal
reading or writing habits or practices, especially unstructured and unorganized activities
outside the classroom, are related to the development of creative thinking.
2. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
Therefore, the primary objective of this study is to understand if personal reading or
writing practices are related to personal creative performance. By comparing the
creativity test scores of students with their self-reported scales on attitudes, habits toward
reading and writing, and the hours spent on reading and writing activities, this study
explores if there is any correlative link of creative thinking to reading and writing. With
statistical evidence, this study attempts to understand if students who enjoy reading
and/or writing, who have the habit of regular reading and/or writing practices, or who
spend more time reading and/or writing would perform better on a creativity test.
3. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESEARCH
Even though creative abilities have been viewed as critical in many endeavors, such
as art, science, medicine, and business, research about how education can promote
creativity has not been as extensive as expected. Research that aims toward promoting
creativity tends to focus on planning a creative way to teach a certain subject (e.g., Chen
et al., 2005), or designing a special program outside the regular curricula (e.g.,
Zachopoulou et al., 2006). Whether creativity can be developed through regular personal
practices (extensive reading, habitual writing, regular reading and writing courses within
regular curricula) have not been properly addressed. This study can be beneficial for all
students, especially those who are not in any gifted program, or those who cannot afford
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to take any special program outside the regular curricula, if it can be shown that any
regular practice has value for fostering creative thinking, and also if it provides empirical
evidence that verifies the assumption that extensive reading and writing facilitate creative
performance.
4. DEFINING CREATIVE THINKING
Before discussing in detail creativity research, it is necessary to define the concept of
creativity in this paper. As mentioned earlier, Torrance (1988) and Tayor and Sackes (1981)
advocated everyday creativity. Following this notion, a growing number of researchers (e.g.,
Craft, 2001; Duffy, 1998; Feldman, 1999) have viewed creativity as everyday, i.e., a
necessary thinking skill for everyone. Utilizing this conception, Torrance (1965; 1966; 1988)
defined creative thinking as the ability to identify problems, make guesses, produce new
ideas, and communicate the results. As Duffy (1998) suggested, creative thinking is the
ability to see things in new and original ways, to learn from experience and relating it to new
situations, to think in unconventional and unique ways, to use non-traditional approaches to
solving problems, and creating something unique and original.
Using the same definition, Goff and Torrance (2002) developed the ATTA, a creativity
test. This test assesses creative thinking ability which includes the ability of fluency (the
fluency of ideas), the ability of originality (the uniqueness of ideas), the ability of elaboration
(the details of an idea), and the ability of flexibility (the variety of ideas used to solve
problems). Adopting the ATTA as a measurement tool for creative thinking in this study,
creative performance in this paper means the test results of the ATTA. The detailed
description of the ATTA, including the reliability and credibility, appears in the section of
measurement tools.
5. LITERATURE REVIEW
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5.1 Factors that Facilitate Creativity
According to many researchers (Niu & Sternberg, 2003; Rudowicz, Lok, & Kitto, 1995;
Straus & Straus, 1968), cultural and educational factors influence different creative
performances, and creativity can be fostered through teaching activities (Neethling, 2000;
Torrance, 1987, 1988). Many creativity studies identify the various traits that teachers should
value and encourage in their students. Important aspects include cognitive, motivation,
personality, and social factors.
For cognitive factors, creativity can be promoted through thinking, remembering, and
reasoning (Campbell, 1960; Cropley, 1992; Pollert, Feldhusen, Van Mondfrans, & Treffinger,
1969). For motivation factors, self-discovery (Amabile, 1996), autonomy, courage, curiosity,
willingness, and task commitment are encouraged (Beghetto, 2005; Cannatella, 2004;
Cropley, 1992, 1997; Gardner, 1988; Torrance, 1992). For personality factors, self-confidence,
self-esteem, determination, persistence, tolerance for ambiguity, and the openness to new
experiences are important for creative thinking (Amabile, 1996; Bean, 1992; Beghetto, 2005;
Cannatella, 2004; Cropley, 1992, 1997; Diakidoy & Kanari, 1999; Gardner, 1988; Torrance,
1992; Von Eschenbach & Noland, 1981). The social factors include abundant resources,
independence, nonconformity, and the ability to communicate ideas (Amabile, 1996;
Beghetto, 2005; Cropley, 1992, 1997; Gardner, 1988; Torrance, 1992).
As Ogilvie (1974) particularly emphasizes, an environment that fosters creativity
“provides for both freedom of expression and good quality association reservoirs” (p. 129). In
accordance with these suggested factors, the most important characteristics for a creative
individual are determination, curiosity, independence (in judgement and thinking),
persistence, self-confidence, and a willingness to take risks (Diakidoy & Kanari, 1999;
Torrance, 1975; Von Eschenbach & Noland, 1981). In a series of studies, Torrance (1975) and
Fryer (1989, 1994, 1996) confirm that teachers who value the characteristics that facilitate
creativity actually help students achieve a high level of creative performance.
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5.2 Reading, Writing, and Creativity
According to the above review, many of the characteristics that facilitate creativity can
be developed through reading or writing practices such as thinking, remembering, reasoning,
feeling curious, exploring, and freedom of expression. The relationship between reading,
writing, and thinking has been studied the most extensively. Researchers have demonstrated
how reading and writing are related to thinking (Moffett & Wagner, 1983; Pearson & Tierney,
1984; Stanford & Roark, 1974; Staton, 1984), and how reading and writing instruction can
encourage critical thinking (Chapple & Curtis, 2000; Davidson, 1994).
Reading and writing activities have been intuitively connected with creative activities
that foster creative thinking. This is mainly because reading and writing often require critical,
analytical, and self-expressive abilities, as well as a sense of self-discovery. As Sturgell (2008)
points out, reading texts provide abundant resources for creative ideas to flourish. In a recent
article, McVey (2008) elaborates that any kind of writing is itself creative, and reading and
writing should be promoted for “endless creative possibilities” (p. 294). To encourage the
characteristics that facilitate creativity, researchers have designed certain creativity courses
through reading and writing activities (Annis, 1998; Chen et al., 2005; Zachopoulou et al.,
2006).
In a summary of the related literature, Smith, Paradice, and Smith (2000) outlined the
essential elements that prepare a creative mind: knowledge and behavior. According to them,
“knowledge” refers to resources, techniques, and related information. In order to create
something in a certain field, one needs to have resources, techniques, and information in the
field. On the other hand, “behavior” requires habitual acts. To prepare a creative mind means
to encourage the habitual act of learning something new, seeking constructive criticism,
thinking and incubating, and putting knowledge to work. These elements are actually part of
the everyday reading and writing experience: reading to accumulate knowledge, and writing
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that puts knowledge and personal ideas to work. In addition, by examining the relationship
between creative abilities and test scores from different subjects, Wang (2007) discovered
that there was a significant correlation between creativity scores, especially in elaboration,
and reading and writing scores.
The above review of literature brings indirect evidence to support the conclusion that
reading and writing are in some ways linked with fostering creativity. However, it is still a
speculation rather than a conclusion supported by empirical evidence. In the above studies,
researchers observed behavior where creative elements were obvious. Even for the reading
and writing activities designed for gifted children, and the special courses outside the regular
curricula, the findings simply reported observations on how the participated students
generated creative works and ideas. No statistical evidence has shown how a person, not
registered in a gifted program or special program, simply spending more time reading and/or
writing would score higher on a creativity test, or how a person who likes to read and/or write
would be more creative in solving verbal or figural problems. It is this unexplored area that
this study attempts to investigate: it intends to provide statistical evidence to support that
personal reading and writing practices can help fostering creative thinking.
6. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
According to the purpose of the research, this study explores if there is any correlative
link of creative performance to personal reading and writing practices. It intends to answer
the following questions: (1) Does personal attitude toward reading and writing influence
creative performance? (2) Do students with different reading or writing habits, such as
reading books or reading online, perform differently on a creativity test? (3) Do more hours
spent on reading and writing in general improve scores on a creativity test?
7. METHODS
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7.1 Population and Procedure
The sampling subjects in this study were students from 18 to 21 in a university in
Taiwan. University students in the departments of English and Chinese were required to take
reading and writing courses; these courses were not required in the departments of
Mathematics and Information Science. Therefore, participants were solicited from the
departments of English, Chinese, Mathematics, and Information Science. Teachers in selected
classes in these departments encouraged the students to voluntarily participate in the project.
The students who participated in the project were able to receive their creativity assessment
results for free. As an incentive to make students take the research seriously and make them
keep an accurate record of their reading and writing time, a gift coupon was provided to
every student who participated and fulfilled the requirements in the research. During regular
class time, according to the instruction of the researcher, the participants filled out a
questionnaire and completed a creativity test, the Abbreviated Torrance Test for Adults
(ATTA).
7.2 Measurement Tools
Two measurement tools were employed: a questionnaire and a creativity test (ATTA).
The tool used to measure creative thinking ability was the Abbreviated Torrance Test for
Adults (ATTA). The ATTA is a shortened version of the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking
(TTCT), a widely used and researched creativity test (Cramond, 1998; Rosenthal, DeMers,
Stilwell, Graybeal, & Zins, 1983; Runco & Albert, 1985). The TTCT was developed mainly
for children and the ATTA for adults. The time limit for adults to complete the activities in the
creativity test is shorter; it takes about 15 minutes to complete the ATTA and about 50
minutes for the TTCT. The ATTA has been proven to be as reliable and valid as the TTCT
(Goff & Torrance, 2000; Torrance, 1981, 1988, 2000; Torrance & Safter, 1999), and the
traditional Chinese version has been extensively tested and has proven to be valid in Taiwan
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(Chen, 2006). Since the participants in this study were young adults in Taiwan, the ATTA was
selected as a measurement tool.
The test was employed in this study because of its validity and its problem-solving
nature. It contains three activities: one verbal and two figural tests. Within a set time limit, the
students are required to identify problems, make guesses, and create ideas to solve problems
or communicate ideas by writing sentences or phrases and by drawing pictures. The ATTA
assesses how many ideas (fluency) can be generated within the set time, how unique
(originality) the ideas are, how many details (elaboration) can be added to an original idea,
and how many varieties (flexibility) of ideas can be generated to solve one problem.
Analysis of the activities in the ATTA shows participants fluency, originality,
elaboration, flexibility, and creative indexes. The result of the ATTA provides the Creativity
Index (CI), a composite of creative indicators plus four sub-scores: (1) fluency; (2) originality;
(3) elaboration; (4) flexibility. The four creative components are scaled as 11 to 19. The
overall creative performance, the CI, is ranked with seven levels, with values ranging from
one to seven (1= Minimal; 2= Low; 3= Below Average; 4= Average; 5= Above Average; 6=
High; 7= Substantial).
The other measurement tool, the questionnaire, inquired about (1) personal attitudes
toward reading and writing; (2) estimated hours spent on different reading and writing
activities; and (3) background information. The questionnaire surveyed student demographic
information (age, gender, major, minor), courses taken in the current school year, student
attitudes toward reading and writing, and the hours students spent on different reading and
writing activities.
Student attitudes toward reading and writing were surveyed with a 5-point Likert scale
(5 = strongly agree; 1 = strongly disagree). The items in the attitude assessment included
positive statements (such as I enjoy reading very much) and negative statements (such as
reading makes me feel bored). If a person scores high on a positive statement, or scores low
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on a negative statement, this means that the person holds a positive attitude toward reading or
writing. However, if a person scores low on a positive statement, or scores high on a negative
statement, it shows a negative attitude.
On the other hand, the self-evaluated hours spent on various reading and writing
activities were rated with a 6-point Likert scale (6 = more than 15 hours a week; 5 = 11-15
hours a week; 4 = 6-10 hours a week; 3 = 1-5 hours a week; 2 = less than one hour a week; 1
= never). Different reading activities included reading (1) textbooks or assigned reading texts
in class, (2) books for fun and pleasure, (3) magazines or articles, (4) newspapers, (5) online
news, (6) on a BBS (Bulletin Board System) or blog. Writing activities were writing (1) their
essay assignments, (2) articles for fun, (3) personal diaries, (4) personal blogs, and (5) entries
on a BBS or online forum.
8. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
The statistical program SPSS was used to organize and compile the collected data. In
this study, 196 surveys and creativity tests were collected. Except for the respondents who did
not provide background information, there were 122 female and 69 male students from the
departments of English (N = 55), Chinese (N = 56), Information Science (N = 38), and
Mathematics (N = 47). Table 1 summarizes the background information of the participants.
Also, the majority of participants from the departments of humanities were female, whereas
most of those from the departments of science were male.
Table 1. Summary of Participants
Major Male Female Missing Total (N = 196)
English 6 49 0 55
Chinese 6 48 2 56
Information Science
28 7 3 38
Mathematics 29 18 0 47
Total 69 122 5 196
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An analysis of the data from the whole sample revealed that students from different
genders performed significantly different on the creativity test. However, no significant
gender differences could be identified within each department; also, evidence regarding
gender differences on creative performance in the literature is equivocal (Wang, 2007).
Therefore, gender difference on creative performance was not explored in this paper.
The Pearson correlation tests among variables were tested to explore any significant
relation. The results described here are organized as follows: (1) the relationship between
creativity and attitudes toward reading and writing; (2) the relationship between creativity
and hours spent on different reading and writing activities; (3) the relationship between
creativity and hours spent on reading and writing in general.
8.1 Creativity and Attitudes toward Reading and Writing
According to the results of the Pearson correlation tests, significant correlations were
observed between creative performance and student attitudes toward reading and writing.
Table 2 presents significant correlations between creative abilities and reading attitudes.
Obviously, positive reading attitudes were significantly correlated with high creativity. The
significant correlation between enjoying discussing books and creativity (elaboration r =
0.172, CI r = 0.143, significant at the 0.05 level) indicates that the more one likes to discuss
books, the better one performs on the creativity test. Also, the more one enjoys reading, the
higher the creativity test scores are (elaboration r = 0.170, CI r = 0.161, significant at the 0.05
level).
Moreover, negative reading attitudes significantly correlated with low creativity. The
negative correlation once again supports the hypothesis that reading fosters creativity. The
more a student disagrees that he or she reads only when required, the higher the student
scores on the ATTA (fluency r = -0.198, elaboration r = -0.245, CI r = -0.216, significant at
the 0.01 level). The more a student disagrees that reading makes him or her feel bored, the
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higher the scores are on the creativity test (fluency r = -0.212, elaboration r = -0.294,
flexibility r = -0.206, CI r = -0.293, significant at the 0.01 level).
Table 2. Correlations between Creativity and Reading Attitudes
Total Sample (N = 196)
Like to discuss books
Elaboration
0.172 (*)
Creativity Index
0.142 (*)
Total Sample (N = 196)
Enjoy reading
Elaboration
0.170 (*)
Creativity Index
0.161 (*)
Total Sample (N = 196)
Do not like reading and only read when required
Fluency
- 0.198 (**)
Elaboration
- 0.245 (**)
Creativity Index
- 0.216 (**)
Total Sample (N = 196)
Feel bored when reading
Fluency
- 0.212 (**)
Elaboration
- 0.294 (**)
Flexibility
- 0.206 (**)
Creativity Index
- 0.293 (**)
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
Regarding attitudes toward writing, significant correlations were also observed. As Table
3 shows, significant and negative correlations were noted between creative performance and
the following two statements: (1) one only writes when required (CI r = -0.153, significant at
the 0.05 level); and (2) writing makes one feel bored (CI r = -0.255, significant at the 0.01
level). Therefore, students who have low creative performance scores tend to write only when
required, and tend to feel bored when performing any writing activity. However, keeping a
diary, enjoyment of writing, and a preference for discussing writing did not seem to affect the
creative performance.
Table 3. Correlations between Creativity and Writing Attitudes
Total Sample (N = 196)
Only write when required
Fluency
- 0.173 (*)
Elaboration
- 0.235 (**)
Creativity Index
- 0.153 (*)
Total Sample (N = 196)
Writing makes one bored
Fluency
- 0.168 (*)
Originality
- 0.180 (*)
Elaboration
- 0.226 (**)
Flexibility
- 0.156 (*)
Creativity Index
- 0.255 (**)
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
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8.2 Creativity and Hours on Different Reading and Writing Activities
As for hours spent on reading and writing activities, significant and positive correlations
were discovered between creative ability and the hours spent on the following activities: (1)
reading for fun (fluency r = 0.165); (2) reading magazines or articles (fluency r = 0.176,
elaboration r = 0.150, and CI r = 0.170); (3) reading online news (originality r = 0.145); and
(4) writing assignments (originality r = 0.171). Table 4 indicates the detailed correlations.
However, the hours spent on some reading and writing activities did not influence creative
performance, e.g., reading a textbook, blog, or BBS.
Table 4. Correlations between Creativity and Hours on Different Reading or Writing Activities
Total Sample (N = 196)
Reading for fun
Fluency
0.165 (*)
Total Sample (N = 196)
Reading magazines or articles
Fluency
0.176 (*)
Elaboration
0.150 (*)
Creativity Index
0.222 (**)
Total Sample (N = 196)
Reading online news
Originality
0.145 (*)
Total Sample (N = 196)
Writing assignments
Originality
0.171 (*)
* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed)
** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)
8.3 Creativity and Hours on Reading and Writing in General
Analyses of the data consistently found that the majority of students who rated
themselves highest on the amount of time spent on reading or writing (rated 6: more than 15
hours a week; rated 5: 11-15 hours a week) were students from the departments of English
and Chinese. Thus, courses taken during the school year for each participant were further
examined to understand any differences in the amount of time spent on reading or writing
required by the different departments. Students from the departments of English and Chinese
were required to take more credits in reading and/or writing, and they had more essay-type
assignments than those in the departments of science and mathematics. English majors, who
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were required to read and write not only in their first language (L1) but also in a second
language (L2), took more credits than Chinese majors in courses that require extensive
reading and writing assignments. However, students from the departments of science and
mathematics took few reading courses, and no writing courses.
According to their self-reported time on reading and writing activities, students of
different majors spent a different amount of time on reading and writing activities. For
reading activities, although they spent a similar amount of time reading textbooks,
newspapers, online news, blogs, and reading for fun, on average, English (M = 3.66) majors
spent the most time doing these activities, followed by Science (M = 3.47), Chinese (M =
3.39), and Math majors (M = 3.28). What is more important is that they spent a significantly
different amount of time reading articles (Table 5). Among them, English majors spent the
most time reading articles, approximately five to six hours a week (M = 3.75, SD = 1.00),
followed by Science majors (M = 3.29, SD = 1.03) and Chinese majors (M = 3.02, SD =
0.96). Math majors spent the least time, approximately an hour a week (M = 2.72, SD =
0.97).
Table 5. Significant Differences in Reading and Writing Time among Different Majors
Majors (N = 196)
F
Sig.
Reading articles
9.880
< 0.001
Writing articles for fun
8.526
< 0.001
Writing personal blogs
4.243
0.006
For writing activities, all the students spent a relatively similar amount of time writing
their school assignments, with English majors spending the most time (M = 4.06, SD = 0.98),
followed by Chinese (M = 4.02, SD = 1.06), Information Science (M = 3.82, SD = 1.16), and
Math majors (M = 3.73, SD = 1.20). However, they spent a significantly different amount of
time writing articles for fun and on personal blogs (Table 5). Among them, Chinese and
English majors spent much more time writing for fun (CH: M = 3.58, SD = 1.71; ENG = M =
3.31, SD = 1.63) and on personal blogs (CH: M = 3.73, SD = 1.65; ENG: M = 3.58, SD =
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1.50) than Information Science and Math majors (for fun IS: M = 2.13, SD = 1.48; Math: M
= 2.36, SD = 1.77) (blogs IS: M = 2.84, SD = 1.84; Math: M = 2.76, SD = 1.76).
Therefore, the ANOVA was performed to test if different department groups performed
differently on the creativity test. The results indicate significant differences. As Table 6
demonstrates, the four department groups performed significantly different on the overall
creative performance (level of creativity index: F = 6.124, p < 0.001). As for each component
of creative ability, the differences were also obvious (Table 6) while the most prominent
difference appeared in the ability of elaboration (F = 6.535, p < 0.001).
Table 6. Significant Differences in Creative Performance between Different Majors
Majors (N = 196)
F
Sig.
Level of Creativity Index
6.124
< 0.001
Fluency
3.069
0.004
Originality
2.308
0.036
Elaboration
6.535
< 0.001
Flexibility
2.166
0.048
The following paragraphs describe the different performances in the ATTA of the four
departments. Obviously, the majority of English majors (32.7%) and Chinese majors (33.9%)
demonstrate a high level of creativity (CI = 6), whereas the majority of Science majors
(44.7%) and Math majors (27.7%) shows an average level of creativity (CI = 4). Table 7
shows the frequency distributions of the CI in the four departments.
Table 7. Distribution of the Level of the Creativity Index (CI)
CI
Major
3
Below
5
Above
7
Substantial
Total
English
3
7
16
55
Chinese
4
11
6
56
Science
4
8
1
38
Mathematics
9
6
4
47
* CI: 1= Minimal; 2= Low; 3= Below Average; 4= Average; 5= Above Average; 6= High; 7= Substantial.
Although science majors demonstrated the highest mean scores on the ability of
originality, English majors scored the highest in almost every other aspect of the test. Table 8
compares the means and standard deviations of the scores of creativity index and the four
sub-scores.
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Table 8. Means and Standard Deviations of the Scores on the ATTA
Creativity
Major
Fluency
Originality
Elaboration
Flexibility
Creativity
Index
M
English 15.41 1.42 16.33 1.89 17.24 1.30 15.13 1.80 5.63 1.25
Chinese 14.63 1.64 16.30 1.99 16.64 1.53 15.00 2.03 5.05 1.29
Science 14.24 1.32 16.37 2.16 16.00 1.38 15.08 1.75 4.50 1.09
Math 14.23 1.83 15.32 2.49 15.32 1.92 14.17 2.07 4.09 1.65
* Scaled scores: Fluency, Originality, Elaboration, and Flexibility = 11-19; Creativity Level = 1-7.
** ANOVA shows significant differences between the groups.
Generally speaking, students who spent more time reading and writing performed better
on the creativity test. English majors spent the most time reading and writing (in both L1 and
L2) and scored the highest on the creativity test, while Math majors spent the least time and
scored the lowest. Although Science majors spent more time on reading activities than
Chinese majors, Chinese majors spent much more time on writing activities. Spending more
time reading may be the reason why Science majors scored higher than Chinese majors on
the component abilities of originality and flexibility, though their overall scores on the
creativity index were lower than those of Chinese majors.
9. CONCLUSION
In the significant correlations between creativity and reading and writing that are
identified in this study (Table 2, 3, 4), the ability of elaboration constantly emerges as the
most prominent and constant connection. Even in the results of the ANOVA (Table 6), the
most distinct difference in creative performance among the four department groups is the
ability of elaboration. Originality and flexibility seem to be less differentiated among the four
groups. The above findings suggest that habitual reading and writing have a significant and
positive relationship with the ability of elaboration.
According to Goff and Torrance (2002), elaboration is the ability to embellish ideas with
details. For example, when given a triangle figure, a student may come up an original idea to
Creative Thinking
18
draw a house with the figure, and elaboration scoring measures the number of details (such as
windows or fences) that are added to the house. Adding rich details raises the elaboration
scores, and increases the overall creative performance. According to the above findings,
reading and writing have a positive relationship with the ability to enrich original ideas with
details.
This implication sheds lights on the question at the beginning of this paper: Why do
students who perform well on math tests not perform as well on tests of creativity and reading
literacy? Solving a math problem does not necessarily require rich verbal details. However,
performing well on creativity and reading literacy tests requires the ability to provide rich
verbal details. This may explain why students who score high on TIMSS mathematics and
science tests do not score as well on creativity tests or the PISA test of reading literacy.
This does not necessarily mean humanities students are generally more creative than
mathematics and science students. However, it does show that humanities students spent
significantly more time on reading and writing, and also that required courses in the
humanities offered more opportunities for students to develop reading and writing habits.
With the significant and positive relationship of creativity to reading and writing attitudes,
habits, and time spent, it is likely that some component creative abilities, such as the ability
of elaboration, may naturally and more regularly develop from the humanities than from
other subject disciplines.
Another possibility is that a creativity test may not measure creative thinking across all
domains; rather, it may be more of a measure of linguistic ability. In each activity in the
ATTA, either verbal or figural, the activity requires linguistic ability. The respondent of the
test needs to write sentences to express ideas (linguistic ability) in the verbally activity, and to
write a title that describes (linguistic ability) each drawing in the figural activities. However,
it is not the scope of this study to determine if th e AT TA tends to measure linguistic creative
ability better than creative thinking across all domains. Future research may explore the
Creative Thinking
19
possibility.
From the above statistical evidence, this study confirms that there is a positive
relationship with reading and writing to creativity, especially in the ability of elaboration.
Habitual reading and writing, especially in different languages, is related to high performance
in the ability of elaboration. Obviously, a positive attitude toward reading and writing has an
impact on creative performance, and the number of hours spent on different reading and
writing activities influences creative thinking. A higher amount of time spent on reading or
writing, either within or outside the regular curricula, is related to higher creative
performance. Students from different majors perform differently, though further study may be
needed to interpret the results. For now, educators and parents should be aware that in order
to promote creative thinking, it is best to develop a positive attitude toward reading and
writing, and also practice extensive reading and writing, and most probably in different
languages.
Creative Thinking
20
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Στα χρόνια μας ολοένα και περισσότερο αναγνωρίζεται η ανάγκη της διδασκαλίας του παραμυθιού στην προσχολική και πρωτοσχολική εκπαίδευση. Έχει πλέον αποδειχθεί και κατανοηθεί η επίδρασή του, εκτός από τη γνωστική ανάπτυξη, ιδιαίτερα στη συναισθηματική και κοινωνική ανάπτυξη των παιδιών, καθώς και στην ανάπτυξη της δημιουργικής και της κριτικής σκέψης τους. Το παραμύθι έχει σημαντικό ρόλο «στον εφοδιασμό του γνωστικού, συγκινησιακού και ηθικού ρεπερτορίου του παιδιού». Όπως υποστηρίζει ο διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένος Ελβετός μελετητής Max Lüthi, «το παραμύθι είναι εν μέρει ψυχαγωγία, εν μέρει παιδαγωγία, στην ολότητά του όμως είναι ο καθρέπτης της ανθρώπινης ύπαρξης και των δυνατοτήτων του ανθρώπου». Οι έρευνες σχετικά με την ανάπτυξη της δημιουργικότητας στα παιδιά έχουν δείξει την κρισιμότητα της νηπιακής και της σχολικής ηλικίας, που λέγεται και «ηλικία του παραμυθιού». Τα μικρά παιδιά δεν έχουν συναισθηματικούς περιορισμούς που να τα οδηγούν στην επιδίωξη μίας και μόνο ερμηνείας της πραγματικότητας και δεν ενοχλούνται από τις ασυνέπειες, τις αποκλίσεις, τις συμβάσεις ή την έλλειψη αληθοφάνειας, που χαρακτηρίζουν τα παραμύθια. Εξίσου καθοριστικό έχει κριθεί βέβαια και το ευρύτερο πολιτισμικό περιβάλλον, το οποίο πρέπει να ευνοεί και να ενισχύει τη δημιουργική δραστηριότητα. Ειδικότερα, στο σχολικό πλαίσιο, όπου λαμβάνει χώρα η εκπαίδευση και η διαμόρφωση του χαρακτήρα, η αγωγή της δημιουργικότητας θα πρέπει να είναι ο πυρήνας και το σημείο αναφοράς της όλης προσπάθειας και όχι μόνο ή απλά ένα αντίρροπο ή ένα συμπλήρωμα της ακαδημαϊκής μάθησης. Το λαϊκό παραμύθι είναι ένα από τα πιο κατάλληλα μέσα για την ανάπτυξη της δημιουργικότητας των παιδιών. Αυτό συμβαίνει γιατί βρίθει από φανταστικές εικόνες και σύμβολα, παραβολές και μεταφορές, που του προσδίδουν μεγάλη παιδαγωγική και μορφωτική αξία, αλλά και γιατί διαθέτει μιαν εξίσου σημαντική ψυχολογική λειτουργία, μέσα από τους μηχανισμούς ταύτισης των παιδιών με τους κεντρικούς ήρωες. Στη μελέτη αυτή επιχειρείται να προσδιορισθεί η σημασία του παραμυθιού για την ανάπτυξη της δημιουργικότητας των παιδιών. Ειδικότερα, εξετάζεται το παραμύθι ως έναυσμα εμψύχωσης πολλών τεχνικών επινόησης, παιχνιδιού και δημιουργικής φαντασίας, αλλά και ως βάση για να οικοδομούνται καινούργια μοντέλα διαπροσωπικών σχέσεων και ως μέσο διαφοροποίησης της εκπαιδευτικής πρακτικής (μεθοδολογίας). Επίσης, αναλύεται ο ρόλος του παραμυθιού στην ανάπτυξη της φιλαναγνωσίας, στη μύηση στον κόσμο των ενηλίκων, στην ψυχική εκτόνωση, στην κοινωνική συμμετοχή, στην ατομική δραστηριοποίηση, στη δημιουργική έκφραση και στην κατανόηση του κόσμου.
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