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Innovation and Creativity in Education and Training in the EU Member States: Fostering Creative Learning and Supporting Innovative Teaching Literature review on Innovation and Creativity in E&T in the EU Member States (ICEAC)

Innovation and Creativity in Education and Training
in the EU Member States: Fostering Creative
Learning and Supporting Innovative Teaching
Literature review on Innovation and Creativity in E&T in the
EU Member States
Anusca Ferrari, Romina Cachia and Yves Punie
The mission of the JRC-IPTS is to provide customer-driven support to the EU policy-making
process by developing science-based responses to policy challenges that have both a socio-
economic as well as a scientific/technological dimension.
European Commission
Joint Research Centre
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Innovation and Creativity in Education and
Training in the EU Member States:
Fostering Creative Learning and
Supporting Innovative Teaching
Literature review on Innovation and Creativity in
E&T in the EU Member States (ICEAC)
Authors: Anusca Ferrari, Romina Cachia and Yves Punie
This report forms part of the JRC-IPTS1 study on Creativity and Innovation in Education and
Training in the EU Member States, carried out at the request of DG Education and Culture.
Earlier versions of this report were reviewed by David Cebrián, of Increa, Spain; Sandra
Dingli of the University of Malta, Malta; Sue Ellis, of the CLPE, UK; Avril Loveless, of the
University of Brighton, UK; Michela Ott, of the ITD-CNR, Italy; and Dominic Wyse, of the
University of Cambridge, UK. The authors would like to thank them for their valuable
suggestions for developing the work. The authors are also very grateful for the contribution
made by many of their colleagues, especially Kirsti Ala-Mutka, Christine Redecker and
Ernesto Villalba. Thanks also go to Patricia Farrer for having proof-read and edited the final
version of this report.
1 The Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) is one of the 7 institutes that make up the
European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
Creativity and innovation are becoming increasingly important for the development of the 21st
century knowledge society. They contribute to economic prosperity as well as to social and
individual wellbeing and are essential factors for a more competitive and dynamic Europe.
Education is seen as central in fostering creative and innovative skills.
This report provides an overview of the theoretical foundations for creativity and innovation
in the context of education. It emphasises the need to encourage the development of pupils'
and students' creative and innovative potential for several reasons: 1) the upsurge of new
media and technologies that learners use in their everyday lives can be exploited in creative
and innovative ways and contribute to formal and informal learning; 2) the immersion in this
media-rich environment leads new cohorts of students to learn and understand in different
ways, therefore teachers need to develop creative approaches and find new methods, solutions
and practices to grab their attention; 3) creativity is a form of knowledge creation, therefore
stimulating creativity has positive spillover effects onto learning, supporting and enhancing
self-learning, learning to learn and life-long learning skills and competences.
Creativity and innovation can play an important role in the knowledge society, as the fruitful
interdisciplinary debate presented in this report demonstrates. Creativity is conceptualised as a
skill for all. It is an ability that everyone can develop and it can therefore be fostered or,
likewise, inhibited. Educational actors have the power to unlock the creative and innovative
potential of the young.
This report develops the notions of "creative learning" and "innovative teaching". Creativity
has been defined as a product or process that shows a balance of originality and value. It is a
skill, an ability to make unforeseen connections and to generate new and appropriate ideas.
Creative learning is therefore any learning which involves understanding and new awareness,
which allows the learner to go beyond notional acquisition, and focuses on thinking skills. It
is based on learner empowerment and centeredness. The creative experience is seen as
opposite to the reproductive experience. Innovation is the application of such a process or
product in order to benefit a domain or field - in this case, teaching. Therefore, innovative
teaching is the process leading to creative learning, the implementation of new methods, tools
and contents which could benefit learners and their creative potential.
Educational actors need to have a clear vision, awareness and understanding of what
creativity is and entails in order to fully comprehend how it can be enhanced. Judging the
originality and value of an output entails seeing creativity as a relative attribute. The
evaluation of creativity needs therefore to take into account students' and teachers'
perspectives. Moreover, creativity in education has more to do with the process than with the
product, and focuses therefore on the development of thinking and cognitive skills.
Creativity and innovation have strong links with knowledge and learning. While intelligence
does not seem to be a precondition for creativity, research shows the relevance of previous
knowledge, both in terms of knowing how to be creative and of domain knowledge.
Furthermore, creativity is seen by many researchers as a form of knowledge creation and of
construction of personal meaning: it is therefore an essential skill for enhancing the learning
process. Creative learning can be seen as a form of learning that favours understanding over
memorisation. Hence any learning that does not imply mere content acquisition entails a
component of creativity.
Creative learning requires innovative teaching. Innovative teaching is both the practice of
teaching for creativity and of applying innovation to teaching. Both aspects call for an
educational culture which values creativity and sees it as an asset in the classroom. Teachers
are key figures in constructing a creative climate, but they need support from both policy-
makers and institutions. In particular, curricula and assessment are key areas to be addressed
in order to allow creativity in the classroom. Curricula should undergo a skilful and thorough
development, giving the same importance to every subject, taking creativity into consideration
and defining it coherently throughout the curriculum, allowing freedom and time for
discovery, and taking learners' interests into account. Assessment should also allow creativity
to flourish by valuing it, both at micro, everyday level and at macro, exam level. The three
functions of assessment (diagnostic, formative and summative) must contribute to the
development of both knowledge acquisition and skills development for learning and creating.
Technologies play a crucial role in learners' lives and can enable educational change towards
an innovative and creative school environment. They could act as a platform to foster creative
learning and innovative teaching and are currently offering a variety of opportunities for
constructive change. However, access to technology is not enough. Accordingly, this report
argues that both teachers and learners must acquire the critical skills in their use of
technologies to be able to benefit from them in an effective, innovative and creative way.
Educational systems should also take into account the empowerment culture brought about by
new technologies, putting the learner at the centre of the learning process. Otherwise, there is
the risk that education policies and systems become irrelevant for students' real and future
There are other factors, alongside technologies, that support creative learning and innovative
teaching. This report highlights the importance of a series of requisites for creativity and
innovation in schools. These factors have been called enablers and are the circumstances or
support mechanisms that make creativity and innovation more likely to thrive. These are:
assessment; culture; curriculum; individual skills; teaching and learning format; teachers;
technology, tools. The co-existence of several of these factors would give rise to an enabling
environment where creative learning and innovative teaching could blossom. If enablers are
not present, creativity will be less likely to flourish. If, on the other hand, all enablers are in
place, it is still not possible to deduce that creativity and innovation are happening, as teachers
and students will still have to actively engage in the creative and innovative process. Enablers
are therefore indicators of the kind of environment which could nourish creative learning and
innovative teaching.
This report provides the theoretical grounding for creativity and innovation to thrive in a
school environment, proposing a series of central factors which can support the shift towards
a more creative and innovative education.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements .......................................................................................................ii
Executive summary.....................................................................................................iii
1. introduction ..........................................................................................................1
1.1. Policy framework.............................................................................................1
1.2. Scope of the study...........................................................................................2
1.3. Objective of the report.....................................................................................3
1.4. Structure of the report .....................................................................................3
2. Towards a working definition of creativity and innovation ..............................5
2.1. A categorisation of approaches to creativity....................................................6
2.2. The individual and the creative process..........................................................9
2.3. The cultural domain.........................................................................................12
2.4. Major points.....................................................................................................14
3. Creativity and innovation in education...............................................................15
3.1. What is creativity in education?.......................................................................16
3.2. Creativity for learning ......................................................................................18
3.3. An educational culture for creativity.................................................................20
3.4. Curricula for creative learning and innovative teaching...................................23
3.5. Assessment and creativity...............................................................................26
3.6. Innovation as a paradigm shift ........................................................................29
3.7. Major points.....................................................................................................30
4. Technologies for learning, creativity and innovation........................................33
4.1. Appropriation of technology.............................................................................34
4.2. Innovative teaching: the role of teachers.........................................................35
4.3. Leisure vs. school work...................................................................................37
4.4. Technology as an enabler for change.............................................................37
4.5. Major points.....................................................................................................38
5. Enabling innovative teaching and creative learning.........................................41
5.1. Assessment.....................................................................................................42
5.2. Culture.............................................................................................................43
5.3. Curriculum.......................................................................................................44
5.4. Individual skills ................................................................................................44
5.5. Teaching and learning format..........................................................................44
5.6. Teachers.........................................................................................................45
5.7. Technology......................................................................................................46
5.8. Tools ...............................................................................................................46
5.9. Major points.....................................................................................................46
6. Conclusions..........................................................................................................47
7. References............................................................................................................49
1.1. Policy framework
There is a growing interest in and awareness of the role and relevance of creativity and
innovation in Europe. It is recognised that Europe needs to strengthen its capacity for
creativity and innovation to be able to respond effectively to the development of the
knowledge society (EC, 2008a) and to become more competitive in economic and social
terms (EC, 2008b).
In March 2000, The European Council set for Europe a strategic goal for the next decade: "to
become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world"2. To
achieve this ambitious goal, which is part of the Lisbon strategy, Heads of State and
Government asked for a transformation of the European economy, and for the modernisation
of social welfare and education systems. The Lisbon strategy, a programme focusing on
growth and jobs for European competitiveness, underlines the fact that knowledge and
innovation are the EU's most valuable assets.
When launching the renewed Lisbon objectives, the 2006 Spring European Council called for
a broad-based innovation strategy for Europe, reiterating the commitment to spend more on
innovation. It identified education and training as one of the critical factors for a more
innovation-friendly Europe.3 Knowledge and innovation are seen as the beating heart of
European growth. In Spring 2008, the European Council stated that European citizens'
potential for creativity and innovation is essential for future growth. In its conclusions,
Member States and the Commission were requested to develop evidence-based education
policy relating to creative and innovative skills; to support research on the promotion of those
skills; and to foster creativity and innovation at all levels of education. In addition, the
European Parliament gave its support, in September 2008, to the Commission proposal to
designate 2009 as the "European Year of Creativity and Innovation".4 This European Year
aims to raise public awareness, spread information and promote public debate on creativity
and the capacity for innovation. It also aims to stimulate research into how to develop creative
and innovative attitudes and entrepreneurship for personal and professional development. The
Council of Europe emphasises the importance of creativity, knowledge, flexibility and
innovation in a time of rapid technological change as they enhance citizens' well-being and
provide careers opportunities.5
Innovation has been at the centre of the European commission agenda for a long time, and it
is one of the three key policy areas for the revised Lisbon strategy (EC, 2005). Creativity, a
relatively new concept for EU policy-making, has been recognised as the "infinite source of
innovation" (EC, 2008c), and therefore indispensable for an innovation shift. Innovation is
perceived as the major input for long-term economic growth (EC, 2008c) and for the market
to thrive (Aho, 2006). Creativity is a skill which enables individuals to find new solutions, to
see things in a different perspective and to generate and evaluate new ideas. Such innovative
and creative capacity can only be harnessed to full advantage if it is widely disseminated
throughout the European population (EC, 2008a).
Especially in times of economic crisis, skills need to be improved in order to enhance
employability and, as a consequence, economic growth. Transversal skills, such as problem-
solving, self-management or analytical skills are the backbone of new skills for new jobs (EC,
2008d). Political, business and social leaders will therefore have to commit to creating an
innovative Europe, as there is an urgent need for a paradigm change (Aho, 2006). The
provision of new basic skills has been identified as a priority from pre-school age to post-
retirement (EC, 2001, 2002). In the framework of lifelong learning, eight key competences
have been identified as being particularly necessary for personal fulfilment and development,
social inclusion, active citizenship and employment.6 These are:
Communication in the mother tongue;
Communication in foreign languages;
Mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology;
Digital competence;
Social and civic competences;
Sense of initiative and entrepreneurship;
Cultural awareness and expression;
Learning to learn.
These competences are interdependent and creativity is one of the transversal skills needed to
enhance them. Moreover, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship are the foundation of the
knowledge and education triangles (EC, 2008c).
The European Commission (EC, 2008c) links creativity and innovation to knowledge and sees
them as essential skills to be developed in the context of lifelong learning. Creativity concerns
all fields of human activity and it can be developed at all levels of education (EC, 2008c).
Creativity in turn spurs innovative and entrepreneurial attitudes. In the same background
paper on Lifelong learning for creativity and innovation, the European Commission (2008c)
maintains that education and training are necessary for future innovation, but at the same time
innovation is needed to improve education and training. In order to achieve this, learner-
centred pedagogies and teachers' empowerment and support are seen as key enabling factors
for innovative schools to promote creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The paper also
recognises the potential that ICT have for fostering change.
Governments are taking part in the debate about Education and Training to meet the
challenges of the 21st century, though member states are tackling the issue in different ways
(Jeffrey, 2006). To explore these themes, JRC-IPTS has launched a study in collaboration
with DG EAC on the role of creativity and innovation in compulsory education. The study
aims to review if and how member states are implementing creativity and innovation in their
educational policies, to what extent they are supporting them and whether practices reflect
these policy priorities.
1.2. Scope of the study
The policy context described above, and the need for creative and innovative competences in
Europe's fast changing knowledge society has prompted the IPTS study “Innovation and
Creativity in Education and Training in EU member states (ICEAC)”. The main aim of this
study is to carry out an initial exploration of how creativity and innovation are framed in the
EU member states' learning objectives and applied in practice at primary and secondary level.
The study is divided into five reports: literature review; assessment and content analysis of the
Member States' documents on national learning objectives; a report based on experts'
consultation, including a teacher survey and interviews with major stakeholders; a report on
good practices; and finally, a report addressing the major conclusions and policy
1.3. Objective of the report
This report provides a brief overview of the theoretical foundations for creativity and
innovation in the context of education, as a background for the other planned reports. It
attempts to define creativity and innovation in the educational context and provide an
overview of research on creativity and innovation, especially for creative learning and
innovative teaching. It also aims to capture the fruitful interdisciplinary debate on the role of
creativity and innovation in the knowledge society and the different schools of thought
contributing to this debate.
1.4. Structure of the report
The report is divided into six chapters, the first being the introduction. Chapter 2 considers the
current definitions of creativity and innovation from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Chapter
3 will focus on the educational sector, outlining the importance of creativity and innovation
for education. Chapter 4 considers the opportunities offered by ICT for creative learning and
innovative teaching. Chapter 5 explores the factors that may enable creative learning and
innovative teaching. Finally, chapter 6 brings together some of the main messages of the
Chapters 2 - 5 aim to answer the following questions:
Chapter 2: Towards a working definition of creativity and innovation
Key question: How can we define creativity and innovation?
Creativity and innovation are multi-disciplinary phenomena (EC, 2008c), they touch on
several fields of knowledge and are defined and conceptualised in a variety of ways. They are
broad and complex concepts. It is therefore necessary to consider how the literature defines
them and to discuss whether these definitions are applicable to our context of study.
Chapter 3: Creativity and innovation in education
Key question: What is the role and function of creativity and innovation in the educational
This section will explore the literature dealing with creativity and innovation in the
educational domain. In this context, there are various issues at stake, namely whether
creativity and innovation can be taught; how policies can support creative learning and
innovative teaching; whether creativity and innovation are cross-curricular skills or associated
with particular subjects.
Chapter 4: Technologies for learning, creativity and innovation
Key question: What role does ICT play for creativity and innovation in education?
ICT provide new opportunities for creative learning and innovative teaching and can be a
source of pedagogical change. This section will examine the new opportunities for teachers
and learners and the support needed to use ICT in creative and innovative ways in education.
Chapter 5: Enabling innovative teaching and creative learning
Key question: What factors are likely to enable (or inhibit) creative learning and
innovative teaching?
In order to implement creativity and innovation in their practices, educators need to receive
adequate support, both from policy-makers and institutions. If basic conditions (e.g. tools and
resources, training, motivation) are not met, then it would be difficult for creative learning and
innovative teaching to take place. This chapter will therefore enumerate a series of conditions
that enable creative learning and innovative teaching.
Creativity and innovation are broad, complex and multi-faceted concepts that can be applied
to several fields. Their multi-disciplinarity accounts for a variety of approaches and
conceptualisations. As Wehner, Csikszentmihalyi and Magyari-Beck (1991) pointed out, the
mass of research on creativity can be compared to the elephant in the fable in which blind
men have to touch it in order to describe it. As everyone is touching a different part, they all
come to a different conclusion as to what it is, and fail to recognise it as an elephant. Indeed,
one of the blocks in the study of creativity has been the tendency to conceive one of its
aspects as the whole, offering a narrow vision of the phenomenon (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999).
It is therefore necessary to consider existing research on creativity and innovation in order to:
present a holistic approach to the matter and avoid disregarding important aspects;
validate an appropriate conceptualisation and definition of creativity and innovation;
identify key factors, issues and concerns which may play an important role in the next
phase of this research; and
address some of the misconceptions of creativity and innovation that are based on
common connotations in an attempt to avoid any possible bias concerning the
reference framework for our research.
Despite the plethora of approaches, there seems to be a widespread consensus on the
definition of both creativity and innovation, even if their application and interpretation differ.
Creativity has been understood as the "ability to produce work that is both novel and
appropriate" (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). Innovation has been understood as the
"implementation of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or process, a
new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace
organisation or external relations" (OECD, 2005). Craft (2005) sees creativity as the ability to
see possibilities that others haven't noticed, Esquivel (1995) sees it as the critical process
involved in the generation of new ideas. Innovation has also been defined as the "intentional
introduction and application within a job, work team, or organisation of ideas, processes,
products, or procedures that are new to that job, work team or organisation and that are
designed to benefit the job, work team or organisation" (West & Richards, 1999). Craft
(2005) sees innovation as the "implementation of new ideas to create something of value,
proven through its uptake in marketplace. An innovation can be seen as a new idea being
launched on the market for the first time".
Creativity and innovation are obviously inter-related. Creativity, as mentioned before, is seen
as the "infinite source of innovation" (EC, 2008c), and innovation – if one deduces from the
above definitions – can in turn be perceived as the application and implementation of
creativity (Craft, 2005). Moreover, different fields seem to favour one concept above the
other, for instance in business the word "innovation" is used even when it refers to the
creative process and work (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). As innovation can be seen as the
application of a creative process or product, the focus of this chapter will be primarily on
creativity and on understanding what it is and how it can be framed.
Our first concern is to enhance the conceptualisation of creativity, which is often influenced,
as Runco (1999) suggests, by a general implicit understanding and tacit knowledge of
creativity. People recognise creativity without being able to define it. The concept of
creativity has been used in several contexts by researchers and non-specialists alike. This
extended use of the term has shaped a strong connotative value: creativity is often perceived
as synonym for imagination and originality, and is allegedly connected to the visual arts,
music and artistic performance. If one were to build on these assumptions, the implication for
education would be reductionist: creativity would be seen as the domain of the arts only and
therefore restricted to certain specific subjects. Although recognising the relevance of the
visual arts, music, drama and the like for a creative education, it should not be forgotten that
all areas of knowledge – and all school subjects – can benefit from creativity.
The present chapter will review the major approaches to creativity in an attempt to understand
what it denotes. It will then focus on two aspects of creativity that are constantly emerging
from the literature: individuality and culture.
2.1. A categorisation of approaches to creativity
Looking into existing research, it is evident that creativity is a complex issue, and difficult to
describe. Several fields tackle creativity with their own methods and arrive, as noted before, at
different conclusions. It is nevertheless possible to cluster many of these approaches, as more
than one researcher has done before (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999; Taylor, 1988; Villalba, 2008).
All the approaches entail a specific conceptualisation of creativity and a specific
understanding of the concept. The categorisation we propose is based on the aforementioned
articles. The aim is to outline a systematisation of the main research areas and to verify which
aspects of creativity have been considered as most relevant. It includes:
Psychometric approach;
Psychoanalytic approach;
Self-expression and mystical approach;
End-product approach;
Cognitive approach (embracing phase-oriented studies, pragmatic methods and
thinking theory).
Psychometric approach
For researchers approaching creativity in a psychometric way, creativity is a quality that can
be measured. Guilford suggested that this quality is possessed by everyone – it is therefore not
just a characteristic of eminent individuals such as Einstein or Michelangelo (Guilford, 1950).
This idea was taken further by Torrance, who developed the Torrance Test of Creative
Thinking (Torrance, 1974) in the 60s and 70s. This written test evaluates divergent thinking
and problem-solving according to statistical rarity of answers. This approach has been heavily
criticised (Almeida, Prieto Prieto, Ferrando, Oliveira, & Ferrándiz, 2008) as it fails to capture
and determine what creativity is and how it is expressed. Aside from the pitfalls of the
measurements method, the added value of this approach resides in the belief that inventors
and eminent creators are not the only people who possess creative abilities.
Psychoanalytic approach
The psychoanalytic approach sees creativity as the manifestation of the unconscious for
artistic purposes. Its theoretical background lies in the work of Freud and in the tension
between conscious and unconscious processes. Freud was convinced of the need of artists to
express their unconscious wishes through a socially acceptable product (Freud, 1958). Under
this approach, it is possible to find all the theories that connect pre-conscious or unconscious
thinking with the "creative sparkle" (Eigen, 1983), including the research that relates the
creative 'eureka' moment to day-dreaming, pre-dreaming, drugs and mental illnesses
(Heilman, Nadeau, & Beversdorf, 2003). This approach has influenced the common and
scientific vocabulary regarding creativity.
Self-expression and mystical approach
The self-expression and mystical approach sees creativity as the need to express oneself in a
unique way. The emphasis is on aesthetic and expressive outcomes. It is based on common
assumptions, implicit theories (Runco, 1999) and connotations, rather than on scientific
research. This concept of creativity has often being mingled with associations to talent and
inspiration. In ancient times, the creative person was seen as directly inspired by the divine
(Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). This mystical approach has been mainly applied to the visual
arts, music and writing and can be found in the invocation to the Muses or to God in many
literary texts. It is related to the artistic domain and to the idea that creativity cannot be
studied (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). Such a view of creativity gives more emphasis to
originality than value, sometimes intertwining creativity with drug use or with mental
illnesses (Beghetto, 2005). This approach has an important spill-over effect in education. As
Sharp (2004) remarks, most parents (or teachers), when talking about children's creativity,
think about artistic or musical talent. This diminishes the role and relevance of creativity in
other domains and areas of knowledge and also the concept of creativity as a skill that can be
End-product approach
The end-product approach sees creativity as a process that results in a product or work or
output. Creative experience is thought of as opposite to reproductive experience (Taylor,
1988). While several researchers will not take this approach as their main understanding of
creativity, the assumption that creativity is manifested in an output lies behind many theories
and is a taken-for-granted factor. This understanding of creativity as a product is evident in
design, visual arts, and music, in the "creative industries", where the manufactured goods are
perceived as the result of a creative process. The idea permeates the literature, as is evident in
many contributions to two reference books on creativity, namely Theories of Creativity and
Handbook of creativity, where the authors tend to identify creativity with creations (Albert &
Runco, 1990; Sternberg, 1999a). It has also been acknowledged that not all artistic products
are creative (Taylor, 1988).
Cognitive approach
The cognitive approach sees creativity as a cognitive and thinking skill or process. It seeks to
understand the thinking process of creative thought (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). It is possibly
the most prominent research area in the creativity debate, and it includes several schools of
thought: phase-oriented studies, pragmatic methods, thinking theories. These perspectives
have vast overlaps, as they all see creativity as a process and as a mental representation.
Phase-oriented studies explore the different steps of the creativity process. Creativity is not
seen as irrational and sudden but as being built on several stages. The Geneplore model
(Finke, Ward, & Smith, 1992) distinguishes between a generative phase and an exploratory
phase, the first being the construction of the mental representation, the second the
interpretation and validation of these constructions. The two phases are not linear, since a
non-satisfactory output will bring the thinking process back to the generative phase through a
re-focus or expansion of the original concept (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: The Geneplore model (Finke, Ward and Smith, 1992)
For Wallas, the creative process consists of four phases: (1) preparation, (2) incubation, (3)
illumination and (4) verification (Wallas, 1926). In the first phase the focus is on the problem
dimension; in the second the problem is internalised; in the third there is an insight and the
birth of a creative idea; and the last phase is about verification, elaboration and validation of
the idea. Rossman, studying more than 700 inventors, expanded this model into seven phases:
1. observation of a need; 2. analysis of the need; 3. survey of all available information; 4.
formulation of all objective solutions; 5. critical analysis of these solutions; 6. birth of the new
idea; 7. experimentation to test, develop and refine the solution (Rossman, 1931). It is evident
that Rossman proposed a model that foresees a balance between imagination and analytical
skills. The advantage of these models is their descriptive structuring of the creative-thought
procedure, which emphasises that creativity does not emerge in mystical or random ways.
Moreover, the different stages of the creative process can lead back to the phases of the
learning process.
A similar conception of creativity can also be found in pragmatic methods, which aim to
develop creativity using a series of techniques. One of the first attempts to enhance creativity
in such a way was the proposal of brainstorming developed by Alex Osborn. This technique
focuses on a group generation of ideas or solutions to a problem and is based on the principle
that a constructive atmosphere leads to the development of new ideas and solutions, while a
critical and sceptical environment hinders creativity (Osborn, 1953). One of the most popular
exponents of the pragmatic method is certainly Edward de Bono, who wrote extensively about
creativity. His main concern was to find tools and methods that can take the thinker away
from an analytical and critical perspective in order to develop lateral thinking skills and to
broaden perception. Among his techniques, the "six hat method" is worth mentioning. It
involves "parallel thinking" and is used mainly – but not solely – in meetings or group
discussions. Each hat represents a specific line of thought (for example, the white hat is
connected to the expression of neutral and objective information; the red hat with feelings and
personal opinion; the green hat with new ideas) and participants are asked to "wear a hat" at
the time, i.e. to pursue one line of thought or one side of the matter at a time (De Bono, 1985).
Other lateral thinking techniques include the use of the linguistic device "po" (Provocative
Operation) to attract attention to a possible restructuring of the ideas or issues at hand, to
provoke lateral thinking and to attack common assumptions and the Random Input method
which simulates ‘inspiration’ but which may be used to generate new ideas (De Bono, 1970).
Other methods for the generations of ideas include the TRIZ tool set and the work of Guy
Aznar. TRIZ is a Russian acronym that could be translated as "The theory of inventor's
problem solving". It is based on logic methods and denies the role of intuition in the creative
process (Altshuller, 1984). Guy Aznar is a French psychologist and economist who wrote
about problem-solving, idea-generation and other methods and techniques to foster individual
and group creativity, and his special interest was the application of creativity to business
(Aznar, 1973, 2005).
Under the umbrella of thinking theory, we cluster several scientific contributions ranging from
the studies on personality to environmental variables of creativity.7 Many focus on the study
of genius, trying to establish what personal characteristics made these people become
successful scientists, artists, inventors or creators (Albert & Runco, 1990). Others link
creativity with the idea of intelligence (Albert & Runco, 1990) or with personal
characteristics, such as persuasion (Simonton, 1990). Others focus on environmental factors
that influence how creativity is shaped and perceived (Laske, 1993). Others analyse the
motivational variables that may trigger or hinder the creative potential (Amabile, 1998).
Robinson (2001) and Albert & Runco (1990) give the example of the scientific revolution as a
period of intense creativity, bringing about intellectual paradigm shifts. This comparison
certainly suggests that the shaping of creativity is closely related to intellectual development
and cultural change. It is assumed that to understand creativity it is also necessary to possess
an understanding of both intellect and culture. Since intellect and culture both emerge in the
literature as boosting creativity, the following section takes a closer look at these two
fundamental aspects of creativity: personal intellectual characteristics and the cultural domain.
2.2. The individual and the creative process
Many studies on creativity consider the personal traits and intellectual abilities of eminent
individuals, associating creativity with genius and intelligence (Albert & Runco, 1999), or
with knowledge (Weisberg, 1999). It is generally understood that creators or intellectuals
possess unique creative ability. Therefore, the work of Picasso, but also of Einstein, Marie
Curie and Newton or Leonardo da Vinci, can be seen as creative because at some point,
during their lives, these geniuses came up with something original, new and at the same time
valuable and appropriate. The study of personality traits of creative and eminent people
boosted fertile research on creativity. There are several intellectual traits that have been
identified to constitute attributes that foster creativity, which can be found in eminent people
and artists and which can indicate how creativity could manifest itself in ordinary people.
There are in fact two currents of thought: the first assumes that creativity is a quality and
attribute of eminent people; the second recognises that creativity is an ability that the ordinary
person can possess. Both eminent and everyday creativity ask for a specific set of skills.
Creativity requires the simultaneous presence of a number of traits. According to Sternberg
and Lubart (1999), creativity requires six elements: intellectual abilities, knowledge, specific
styles of thinking, personality and motivation. Three intellectual abilities are seen as
particularly necessary: creative or synthetic (the ability to see a problem in new ways and to
escape conventional thinking); analytic (see which ideas are worth pursuing); and practical-
contextual (persuading others that one's ideas are of value). Regarding the thinking style, they
noted a tendency of creative people to look for novelty (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). They also
claim that creative people are those who buy low and sell high in the domain of ideas. They
invest their thought in ideas that seem to be unpopular and they sell them high after their
creative input, only to go and pursue the next unpopular idea. This has been referred to as the
"investment theory" of creativity (Sternberg & Lubart, 1993).
7 Sternberg and Lubart maintain that this approach, which they call the "social-personality approach", has
developed in parallel with the cognitive approach (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999). Here, it is seen as part of the
cognitive approach as it focuses on the creative thinking process.
For Ng and Smith (2004), creative people are not nice. They define "being nice" as the ability
to get along with others with a minimal amount of social friction. Ng and Smith maintain that
while a "nice person" agrees with the group, a creative person is dogmatic and will stand for
his/her ideas against everything and everyone, as in the case of Galileo Galilei. This
characteristic has a negative backwash effect in the classroom, as discussed in Chapter 3.3.
For Gardner (1999), creative people are self-confident, ambitious, passionate about their
work, and have a tough skin. He maintains that these characteristics are not inborn traits.
Intelligence has been understood for decades as the central individual characteristic of
creative people (Albert & Runco, 1999). We can still see the long tail of this conception in the
number of studies that associate creativity with genius or giftedness (Albert & Runco, 1990).
The threshold theory suggests that there is a minimum level of intelligence required to be
creative (see Figure 2), but that not all intelligent people are creative (Runco, 2007).
Figure 2: Scatterplot showing the relation between creativity and intelligence (Runco 2007)
Other studies conclude that intelligence is a "necessary but not sufficient component of
creativity" (Heilman et al., 2003). Sharp (2004) distinguishes creativity from intelligence and
talent. The latter refers to the possession of aptitude and skills in a given area, but does not
imply any originality or creative ability in that given area. A good illustration of this could be
a musician, whose skills as a performer do not necessarily lead to a creative attitude or ability.
Moreover, the relationship between creativity and intelligence can be biased by what we
understand by "intelligence". The term generally refers to linguistic and logical mathematical
abilities, but it has been pointed out that these skills do not fully cover what intelligence is.
Gardner (1983) identifies the existence of eight intelligences: linguistic; logical-mathematical;
musical; bodily-kinaesthetic; spatial; interpersonal; intrapersonal; and naturalist. Everyone
excels in one or two of these intelligences. Therefore, when establishing a threshold of
intelligence, it should be specified which of these intelligences is being considered.
It could be said that the concept of intelligence is possibly as complex as that of creativity. It
comes as no surprise that there are contrasting views of the connections between the two.
Sternberg (1999b) summarises the research on the topic.
Table 1 gives an overview of Sternberg's categorisation.
Relationship Main point Main authors or references
Creativity as a subset of intelligence
Guilford: creativity involves some aspects of
intelligence, i.e. divergent thinking. Gardner
(multiple intelligences): intelligences can be used
in a variety of ways, including fostering creative
(Guilford, 1950)
(Gardner, 1983)
Intelligence as a subset of creativity
For cognitive processes, creative ability is
required more then intellectual ability.
Creativity necessitates and involves intelligence
and other attributes; therefore intelligence is part
of a complex and multi-faceted creative process.
Leon Smith (in Sternberg &
O’Hara, 1999)
(Sternberg & Lubart, 1993)
Creativity and intelligence as
overlapping sets
Creativity and intelligence are similar in some
ways, but different in others. Similarities include
problem-solving abilities. Differences embrace
logical attributes of intelligence opposed to
illogical modes of thought for creativity.
IQ tests
Implicit theories
(Roe, 1976)
Creativity and intelligence as coincident
The mechanism underlying creativity are the
same that are requested for intelligence. What is
judged as creative is simply an extraordinary
outcome of a process that involved intelligence.
(Weisberg, 1993)
Creativity and intelligence as disjointed
sets Creativity is not an ability but the result of
constant and deliberate practice in a domain. In
this view, intelligence has no impact on creative
Anders Ericsson (in
Sternberg, 1999b)
Table 1: Review of the research on creativity (C) and intelligence (I) (Sternberg 1999b)
The main message that can be drawn from Sternberg's review is that researchers haven't yet
reached a consensus on the relationship between creativity and intelligence. This leaves the
issue open, and there is a need to further investigate the field.
Russ (1996) assumes that creativity is manifested in the interplay of three processes: a)
personal traits (i.e. tolerance of ambiguity, openness to experience, independence of
judgement, unconventional values, curiosity, preference for challenge and complexity, self-
confidence, risk-taking, intrinsic motivation); b) emotional or affective processes (i.e.
affective fantasy in play, passionate involvement in tasks, affective pleasure in challenge,
tolerance of anxiety) and; c) cognitive abilities (i.e. divergent thinking, transformation
abilities, sensitivity to problems, tendency to practice with alternative solutions, wide breadth
of knowledge, insight ability and evaluative ability).
Another critical aspect of creativity is the amount of knowledge required to be creative.
Weisberg (1999) holds knowledge as a fundamental, unquestionable building block of
creativity. Previous studies fomented the assumption of an inverted U relationship between
creativity and knowledge. According to this theory, little knowledge in one field would hinder
creativity, as much as extreme field knowledge (Boden, 2001). Weisberg, however, affirms
that great mastery of a field is needed to come out with a creative breakthrough. He refers to
the '10 year rule', as several studies on eminent people claim that 10 year's experience in a
field is necessary to master the field, and then an additional 10 years to come up with
something creative. Deliberate practice and knowledge in a given field positively contribute to
creativity. Runco (2007) sustains this view by stating that creative people are recognisable by
their work ethic and persistence. However, knowledge or even mastery of a domain by
themselves cannot directly cause creativity (Weisberg, 1999).
Work ethic is not the only value that creative people have in common. For several years
Csikszentmihalyi studied creative artists and people embarking on a creative career and found
a strong link between values, personality and creativity. In particular, he focused on art
students, finding that the most creative among them gave priority to aesthetic values over
economic and social values (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). At the same time, sustained creativity
needs sustained and undivided attention to the task at hand (Bohm, 1998). A holistic
involvement in the field and/or activity is essential (Sternberg, 1999b), as is the ability to feel
rewarded by the activity itself – intrinsic motivation – rather than by external recognition
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Motivation is one of the main factors conducive to creative output.
Teresa Amabile (1998) wrote extensively on the topic, specifying that intrinsic motivation is
more important than extrinsic. For Amabile, intrinsic motivation is about passion and interest,
an internal desire to do something. She sees motivation as one of the three components of
creativity, the other two being expertise and creative thinking skills (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: The three components of creativity (Amabile 1998)
Even if all three components of creativity can be improved, motivation, Amabile argues, is the
one that can be most immediately influenced by the work environment, as expertise and
creative-thinking skills are most difficult and time consuming to influence (Amabile, 1998).
She argues that if scientists with skills and expertise lack motivation, they simply will not do
the job. Amabile's research maintains that extrinsic motivation (i.e. external rewards) is not
enough: a cash incentive is not a magic wand to motivate people. Intrinsic motivation is the
major booster for engagement. This brings the argument back to work ethic: creative people
are those who are engaged in a task or activity because they derive pleasure from the activity
itself. As Csikszentmihalyi (1996) has it: they all love what they do. They experience a mental
state of flow, being fully immersed in their activity, experiencing an automatic, effortless yet
focused state.
2.3. The cultural domain
Another fundamental aspect of the research on creativity seems to be the cultural domain or
environment. The ambiguity and vagueness of creativity could reside in the fact that creativity
is closely linked to a particular environment and culture (Laske, 1993). As creativity is
culturally-bound, it is impossible to define or explain it and one could at best exemplify it.
Creativity is an axiological concept, i.e. based on personal judgement of value, not a scientific
one (Laske, 1993). Creativity can be considered to be linked to the cultural domain in three
different ways: first, the concept of creativity is context dependent and culturally shaped;
second, and idea can only be judged to be creative against a background of previous practices;
third, certain environments attract creative people and kindle or kill creative performances.
A cultural shaping of creativity
There is a striking gap between the historical conceptualisation of creativity in the West and
in the East. In western world, creativity was traditionally perceived as a god-like quality to
create (a divine attribute), whereas in oriental culture (Hindu, Taoist and Buddhist), creativity
was understood as mimicry and discovery (Albert & Runco, 1999). As Lubart points out, the
divergence in the ontological perspective between East and West involves a different
definition of creativity. For western culture, it entails a break with tradition and for eastern
culture a reinterpretation of traditional ideas (Lubart, 1999). This brings Lubart to assume that
creativity is context dependent (Lubart, 1999). Ng and Smith (2004) also see differences in
what Eastern and Western cultures perceive as the cause of success: Eastern cultures tend to
attribute success to effort, while Western cultures attribute it to ability. Intelligence is also
framed in two opposed ways: a large part of the western tradition sees it as an inherited
quality, while in the East it is widely assumed that inborn individual differences in
intelligence are minor (Gardner, 1999).
Judging the creativeness of an idea
Csikszentmihaly (1990) proposes a systemic view of creativity. According to him, creativity
emerges in the interplay of an individual between a field and a domain (see Figure 4). As
creativity is seen as something novel and of value, it has to have a domain of reference, an
existing pattern in which to introduce the novelty or the variation. It also needs a field of
experts who sanctions this idea, input or product as new and valuable (Csikszentmihalyi,
For Csikszentmihalyi, the domain is thus not just the cultural background of creative
individuals but also the specific sector in which they operate. Creative people operate in a
domain, discipline, or area of knowledge. Their output has value in that particular domain
where they excel; it is therefore domain-specific. This explains why creative people are
apparently so different and do not constitute a continuum: Picasso and Virginia Wolf have, at
a first sight, little in common with Darwin or Galileo Galilei.
A creative environment
Richard Florida (2002) studied the potential of cities to attract creative people. He argues that
we actually live in an economy powered by human creativity, and that the key for future
economic growth is in attracting and retaining creative people. The economic development
race will be won, he maintains, if places are willing and able to become appealing for young
talented people. His theory is based on what is known as the 3T model: Technology, Talent
Field Figure 4: Csikszentmihalyi's creativity triangle
and Tolerance. For a place to be a catalyst of creative talents, it needs to have a high creativity
index, which is a balanced mixture of: technological development (Technology), creative
class share of the workforce (Talent); and openness towards different people (Tolerance),
measured through what Florida called "the Gay index", i.e. the indicator of the Gay presence
in a particular town or city. The tolerance index goes in line with the idea that genius and
talent cannot survive in repressive societies (Albert & Runco, 1999), genius and talent being
seen here as a manifestation of creative abilities. The wider cultural and political context also
affects creative performances and attitudes. A repressive society will not value creativity
(Craft, 2005). Also, within a specific culture there are sub-cultural sets which influence
individual creativity, for instance in the different cultural acceptance there is in a city or in a
village, as it can be easier to diverge from the norm in a pluralised space (Craft, 2005). As
Gardner (1999) has it, "the right set of genes hardly suffices to yield a creator" (p. 122).
2.4. Major points
The different approaches to creativity suggest that creativity is a process or product which is
both new and appropriate (or which has value). Originality and value are the main traits of a
creative process or product. Creativity is seen as the source of innovation, and innovation in
turn as the implementation of creativity. This chapter has focused on creativity. The
transdisciplinary research on the topic shows a variety of approaches, which lead sometimes
to contrasting views of what creativity is and is not. From the research, a series of approaches
and implications were drawn out in order to systematise the variety of points of view over
Creative experience can be seen as opposite to reproductive experience (Taylor, 1988).
Moreover, creativity is the ability to see possibilities that others haven't noticed (Craft, 2005),
the critical process involved in the generation of new ideas (Esquivel, 1995), the possibility to
make connections that are not common. It requires cognitive and creative thinking skills, in
other words divergent thinking (Runco, 1990) and imagination (Craft, 2005), and also
evaluation (Runco, 1990). Creativity also demands a set of personality traits which can be
enhanced or modified by the environment. For this reason, the environment needs to nurture
creativity and to boost intrinsic motivation. Besides, creativity is not limited to the arts, as it
can be manifested in all ambits of human knowledge. Moreover, it should not become an
instrumental term to be filled with any kind of content and used in every kind of context
(Gibson, 2005). Figure 5 shows a summary of these characteristics: in the outer circle what
creativity requires, in the inner shape what creativity is.
Figure 5: What creativity is and what it requires
Psychometric approaches have highlighted that creativity is often seen as a talent, or as a
characteristic of eminent people, and distinctive personality traits have been identified to
exemplify a creative mind. At the same time, a number of studies recognise that creativity can
be enhanced and cultivated. Craft (in Craft, Jeffrey, & Leibling, 2001) distinguished two
different trends in research on creativity and developed the concepts of "big C" and "little c
creativity". The first (big C creativity or BCC) refers to the creativity of the genius, seen in
people such as Mozart, Picasso, and Einstein. Their creative achievements are exemplary and
comprise novelty and excellence in their domain, as well as social recognition and valuation.
Little c creativity (LCC), on the other hand, is not for the gifted and talented and does not
apply to creative and innovative outbursts that have a strong impact on society. LCC could be
seen as behaviour and mental attitude, or as the ability to find new and effective solutions to
everyday problems. LCC is not for an extraordinary few. A similar distinction can be found in
Shneiderman (2000), who differentiates between revolutionary creativity, imputable to Nobel
laureates and geniuses, and evolutionary acts of creativity, which can include doctors making
a diagnosis or an editor drafting a magazine.
LCC seems particularly suitable for the educational sector, where a priority is to encourage all
students and pupils, who have not yet reached their intellectual peak, to achieve their full
potential. This chapter will therefore endorse an inclusive or democratic perspective of
creativity, which sees all people as capable of creativity from early childhood onward (Craft,
2005). According to this idea, creative potential can be found in every child (Runco, 2003); it
can be encouraged or inhibited (Sharp, 2004); and its development depends on the kind of
training people receive (Esquivel, 1995).
Given the benefits of creativity to society and individuals, one would expect to see a
celebration of creativity in education (Beghetto, 2005). However, though, there has been a
growing interest in the relevance of creativity for teaching and learning since the 1990's
(Craft, 2005), it seems that attempts to bring this issue to centre stage have been
overshadowed by other efforts, and demands on teachers' and students' schedules (Beghetto,
This study will argue that creativity and innovation in education are not just an opportunity,
but a necessity. First, several emerging trends entail an alteration in the way young people
learn and understand (Redecker, 2008). Teachers have to attract students' interest and
attention in a new way, and as a result the development of creative approaches is called for
(Simplicio, 2000). Secondly, the current and forthcoming cohorts of learners are growing up
surrounded by video-games, mobile phones, and other digital media. This overwhelming
spread of technologies brings a new understanding of communication, information retrieval
and meaning-making. The gap between the school and home digital environment is thus
affecting learners' expectations (Pedró, 2006), building up a perception of the current
educational framework and format's inadequacy (Selinger, Stewart-Weeks, Wynn, &
Cevenini, 2008). Third, creativity has been seen as a form of knowledge creation (Craft,
2005). For all these reasons, it seems clear that creativity and innovation are unavoidable
conditions for the present and future of education.
Nevertheless, it must be noted that, in the educational sector, creativity and innovation lose
some of their areas of overlapping as discussed at the beginning of Chapter 2. This is mainly
due to the current role of the learner in formal education. Learners are perceived as the end
recipient of methods, pedagogies and knowledge. Although they are the major stakeholders in
education, their current power to actively contribute to institutional change is limited.
Innovation, as stated previously, is the "implementation" (OECD, 2005) or the "intentional
introduction and application" (West & Richards, 1999) of a novelty which aims to ameliorate
a particular situation. Teaching can be seen as the implementation of methods and pedagogies,
and of curricula and contents. Any kind of teaching which addresses creativity and applies it
to methods and contents can be seen as innovative teaching. At the same time, the cognitive
approach to creativity emphasises its connection to knowledge and thinking skills, bridging
the creativity process with learning. For these reasons, this work addresses "creative learning"
and "innovative teaching". The first term refers to the possibility for learners to develop their
creative skills and to learn in a new, creative way.8 The second term includes both the process
of teaching for creativity and the application of innovation to teaching practices.
This chapter will first focus on creativity as a skill to be developed, adapting the meaning of
creativity to the educational framework, identifying the components of creativity in the school
setting and exploring the link between creativity and learning. It will then approach
innovative teaching, and its implication for formal schooling and the curriculum. It will
finally address innovation and propose a change in teaching practice.
3.1. What is creativity in education?
In education, the term creativity is often used but seldom defined. As Beghetto (2005) points
out, teachers might ask students to use their creativity in the design of a project, or might refer
to a student's response as creative, without explaining what they mean. A lack of definition of
this concept might result in erroneous assumptions (Beghetto, 2005), leading teachers and
students to identify creativity only with talent, the arts and personal characteristics.
The transdisciplinary theories on creativity do not help to frame the issue, as they often focus
on outstanding performances (Runco, 2003), thus reinforcing the link between natural ability
and creative achievements. Research has demonstrated that creative eminent people have in
common several personality traits (Simonton, 1990); however this does not mean that
creativity is limited to natural ability or talent. On the contrary, creative traits should be
identified and studied in order to be able to duplicate and teach them (Simplicio, 2000).
The first step towards creative learning and innovative teaching requires an understanding of
the meaning of creativity for education and its implication. This entails a threefold procedure:
1) a de-construction of several current myths about creativity which are leading to a shared
misunderstanding of the issue (Sharp, 2004); 2) a discussion and framing of the implications
of "newness and value" in the educational context (Craft, 2005); and 3) an emphasis on the
process instead of the product (Runco, 2003).
Implicit theories or myths about creativity
As Runco (1999) suggests, teachers, parents, children and other educational actors hold a tacit
knowledge about creativity manifested in opinions and expectations, which are in sharp
contrast with what the research is showing – and which can have detrimental effects on any
attempts to foster creativity in schools. This tacit and shared knowledge builds up a series of
"implicit theories", which account for how ordinary people think about creativity. These
theories differ from the ones held and scientifically tested by researchers, which Runco calls
8 Creative learning could be the first step for innovative learning.
"explicit theories". Figure 6 shows a series of implicit theories – or myths, as Sharp (2004)
sees them – about creativity and the opposite findings of scientific research. The model
presented in Figure 6 is an elaboration of Sharp (2004); Beghetto (2007a) and Runco (1999).
Figure 6: Implicit versus explicit theories of creativity
Understanding creativity means addressing the above issues and being aware of the potential
of everyone to become creative (Beghetto, 2007a).
Novelty and value
The current recurring definition of creativity, as mentioned in Chapter 2, stands on the two
pillars of "newness and value", which have to co-exist in a creative outcome. The balance
between the two concepts is important: something original which has no value could also
have negative characteristics (Beghetto, 2005). The application of this definition to education
– and to young people in particular – raises a series of questions about the suitability of the
two pillars to learners' development and achievement.
It might be questionable to assume that young children and teenagers could have
revolutionary breakthrough ideas that are both original and valuable for society. Originality
and value have therefore to be understood in their everyday and mundane meaning (Runco,
2003). This entails adopting a democratic, everyday, "little c" definition of creativity
(Beghetto, 2005; Sharp, 2004), which recognises the potential of all individuals to be or to
become creative (Esquivel, 1995). It is important therefore to consider each child at their
stage of development (Sharp, 2004) and to allow for a wide spectrum of creative outputs. For
instance, we would expect a greater depth of ability, knowledge and originality in a 16 year
old's drawing than in that of a 5 year old (Craft, 2005). Moreover, the creative outputs of
children are often original and valuable – hence creative – for the children themselves, but not
in comparison with larger norms (Runco, 2003). This leads to a re-thinking of the concept of
value, as it has been recognised that the judges of the value of a creative expression are the
learners themselves (Craft, 2005; Runco, 2003). For Russ (2003), value and novelty therefore
need to be adapted to age groups.
limited to arts applies to every subject
Creativity for Education
pure talent skill to be learnt
hard work
both originality and value originality
field knowledge is necessary
no prior knowledge
thinking skill
stimulation of play and discovery
major breakthrough
free play and discovery
Despite the negotiation of meaning, there is a shared understanding that children have a huge
creative potential (Malaguzzi, 1987; Meador, 1992; Robinson, 2006; Runco, 2003). In a study
on creativity in young people from pre-school to the age of 17, Meador (1992) measured the
originality of individual responses to an alternative uses task. Pupils were given an object and
were asked what the object could be used for, and stimulated to give a range of responses,
which were then given a positive or negative value according to their uniqueness. The
researcher reports that for pre-schoolers the percentage of originality was between 52 and
60%, whereas for older ages it decreased. Nine to 12 year olds had an originality response of
26% and 12 to 17 year olds of 34% (Meador, 1992). Similar findings can be seen in Runco
(2003), who asserts that children's creative potential diminishes around the ages of 9-10, when
children show a tendency to conform, and they become more self-aware and are conditioned
by peer-pressure. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that there are contrasting opinions on
the creativity of young people, as results are biased by the divergences in the definition of
creativity and by its complex nature (Sharp & Le Métais, 2000).
Product or process?
Another aspect of the definition of creativity concerns the emphasis on the process instead of
the product (Sharp, 2004). If we look at products and achievements, children will seldom have
an opportunity to be judged or to judge themselves creative when compared to adults (Runco,
2003). A similar point can be found in Malaguzzi (1993), who maintains that creativity is
more visible when adults pay attention to the process and not to the product. Simplicio (2000)
sees creativity as a method and an approach to thinking and living. The focus on the
development of thinking skills can be understood as a priority of the process over the product.
This line of research has been exploited in particular by the aforementioned cognitive
approaches. Moreover, learning is a process. Fostering creativity in learning certainly requires
assuming a process-oriented approach.
3.2. Creativity for learning
As argued before, there is a link between creativity, intelligence and knowledge. In the
following paragraphs, this relationship will be viewed in an educational context. The
connection between creativity and learning will also be discussed.
Chapter 2 discussed some theories on the link between intelligence and creativity. Sternberg
concludes that there is no consensus on the relationship between creativity and intelligence.
For education, this means that creativity cannot be dismissed on the grounds of the different
levels of intelligence one could find in a classroom. It cannot be proved that creativity is an
inborn trait; there is therefore a reinforcement of the democratic view of creativity. Among
the contrasting findings about the link between creativity and intelligence, the threshold
theory seems to be, for the educational context, highly questionable. As mentioned earlier,
this theory supposes the existence of a threshold for the intelligence required to be creative,
even if it recognises that intelligence alone does not guarantee a creative output (Runco,
2007). Following this theory, it would be easy to assume that focusing on creativity in the
classroom would leave out a small portion of those students whose intelligence falls below the
threshold. As Runco (2007) points out, the threshold refers to traditional intelligence, which is
often associated with academic performance and linguistic/logical fluency or knowledge. In
this case, people performing below the threshold have lower knowledge and experience, what
Runco calls an experiential bias. It has been acknowledged that intelligence could be
perceived as something incremental and malleable (Ng & Smith, 2004), as a quality that can
be developed and therefore improved (Taylor, 1988). As a consequence, it could be argued
that, if there is a threshold for creative performance, effort should be made to allow every
learner to raise their level of intelligence, knowledge and experience above the threshold.
Guilford (1950), in his pioneer study, had already recognised the centrality of knowledge for
creativity. Knowledge seems to be a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for creativity
(Boden, 2001; Weisberg, 1999). It is nevertheless still unclear how knowledge proficiency
shapes creative outputs, as research findings seem to be contradictory, stating on the one hand
that extreme expertise will hinder creative outcomes (Simonton, 1990) and on the other that
there is no limit to the amount of knowledge needed to be creative (Weisberg, 1999).
Knowledge and expertise are unquestionable attributes of the creative eminent mind,
regardless of the debate about the amount and the kind of knowledge needed (Scott, 1999).
As regards LCC ("little c" creativity) and education, the kind of background knowledge
needed by learners assumes a different nuance. Students require first of all a know-how of
creativity, i.e. knowing how to think and how to perceive things in a different way, or how to
make connections. Throughout the years which students spend in education, subjects or
domain knowledge will become more important: the kind of knowledge needed is incremental
from pre-school to university.
Boden (2001) distinguishes three types of creativity, each of them involving a different kind
of knowledge-acquisition. Exploratory creativity entails the investigation of a given space or
field; a sort of "play within the rules" which can be seen for instance in the performance of a
jazz musician. This requires some specific and technical knowledge, and it can be said that the
creative exploration of the field – in this case of scales, harmonies and melodies – fosters
knowledge acquisition. The second type of creativity is what Boden calls combinational
creativity, which involves the production of new ideas by combining or associating old ones
in new unfamiliar ways. The field knowledge here is as necessary as the ability to make
connections between stored information. Finally, transformational creativity is the significant
alteration of one or more of the rules of the conceptual space. Transformational creativity
enables the generation of ideas that could not have been thought of before. This kind of
creativity is often seen in geniuses and requires a substantial amount of knowledge, as well as
self discipline. From a LCC perspective, transformational creativity may happen when an
individual thinks about a concept in a completely new way that alters his/her previous
understanding of the subject or field. It could be an epiphany, or a revelation, regardless of the
fact that society already came to the same conclusions.
All three types of creativity identified by Boden presuppose specific knowledge acquisition,
be it subject knowledge, awareness of creative method and approaches, or know-how of both
subject-matter and creative attitudes. Knowledge is of substantial importance to trigger a
creative outcome; but the reverse is also true. Creativity allows for the making of connections
across different areas of knowledge (Burke, 2007). This is an important point, as research
shows that students, and especially young children, find it very difficult to transfer learning
from one area to another, or to apply former knowledge to a new topic (Sharp, 2004). They
need to be trained and taught how to make connections and to build on previous
understanding. In turn, this scaffolding allows an expansion of knowledge. The relationship
between creativity and knowledge could therefore be seen as a virtuous circle, where
creativity stimulates knowledge acquisition and new knowledge permits new and creative
thinking paths. In addition, building a creative bridge between different domains results in a
holistic approach to knowledge.
It has just been argued that creativity and knowledge are interdependent. Especially for the
educational field, and from a democratic perspective of creativity, taking the individual as the
reference for the originality and value pillars leads to an assumption of creativity as a model
of understanding and of knowledge creation. Craft (2005) and Runco (2003) certainly support
this view. Runco (2003) sees creativity as the construction of personal meaning and Craft
(2005) views creativity as a form of knowledge creation.
Learning in a creative way is certainly a form of meaning-making. Current pedagogical
discourses attempt to view learners as the centre of teaching and learning processes, with an
active role in the production of knowledge and meaning, democratically bringing their
expertise, experiences and ideas into the classroom (Williamson & Payton, 2009). Moreover,
constructivist approaches to learning involve understanding and making new and valuable
connections between old and new knowledge. As Piaget (1973) had claimed, "to understand is
to invent". Without invention, learning results in merely memorisation and teaching as a
consequence can be viewed as nothing more than imparting notions. Understanding is a form
of meaning creation – just as creativity is. Therefore, creativity is an aspect of learning (Craft,
2005). Non-creative learning, on the other hand, comprises all learning that favours
memorisation over understanding; rote-learning and learning of facts. Both creative and non-
creative learning are important for education and should co-exist. It is unavoidable to go
through a certain amount of non-creative learning before being able to make any new
connection or to embark on understanding a topic. At the same time, non-creative learning is
not enough, as understanding is fundamental for the cognitive and cultural development of
children and young people.
A conceptualisation of learning and creativity as "overlapping sets", as Sternberg would have
it, leads to a perception of creative teaching as a form of skilful teaching (Craft, 2005). Thus,
creativity is not only desirable but also necessary because it involves co-construction of
meaning and the learner taking an active role. Creativity enhances learning and makes
teaching more effective.
3.3. An educational culture for creativity
Given this research background, one would presume that creativity would be placed at the
centre of educational practices. Despite the assumption that creativity is the current icon of the
educational world (Gibson, 2005), the claim is that schools (Robinson, 2006) and educators
(Malaguzzi, 1987) actually kill creativity. This is because in formal education there is a
tendency to look for an "answer that is known before the question is posed" (Malaguzzi,
1987), thus depriving pupils from investigating the issue by themselves. Unfortunately this
caters for an academic, logical type of intelligence (Christensen, Johnson, & Horn, 2008),
which does not involve all students and all abilities; and it is focused on imparting notions
rather than skills (Robinson, 2001). Evidence shows that creativity is not always valued in
schools, although creativity and knowledge acquisition can overlap. In an article on future
middle and secondary teachers' preferences for students' responses, Beghetto suggests that
classroom discussion would be the ideal time for the promotion of creative thinking skills
(Beghetto, 2007b). A similar assumption has been made by De Bono, who wrote a textbook to
be used in classrooms presenting various techniques to develop thinking skills during
classroom interactions (De Bono, 1970). As Beghetto shows, there is a tendency among
teachers to prefer standard answers to unique ones; as actual teaching culture does not value
creative answers (Beghetto, 2007b). Beghetto also found a delicate balance between relevance
and newness. Teachers place great emphasis on relevance, competence and the need to avoid
mistakes – thus hindering the possibility to develop creative skills.
Formal education has created a culture that often "accepts only what is relevant" (Beghetto,
2007b). An aspect of creativity is its value, or appropriateness, therefore its relevance, but
originality is also important. In schools, newness is dismissed for the sake of contextual
relevance. There is, therefore, a need for a paradigm shift, in order to accept and welcome
new ideas into the classroom. It may be worth noting that maths secondary school prospective
teachers held relevance as most important (Beghetto, 2007b). One of the personality traits of
creative people is their capacity to take risks (Davies, 1999), this quality is certainly hindered
in a school environment, where the correct, standardised answer is the desired response.
The paradox of desirability is also reflected in teachers' views of the ideal student. Teachers
prefer learners who have characteristics that are in sharp contrast with creative personality
traits, such as "conforming" and "considerate" (Runco, 1999). Ng and Smith (2004) came to
the same conclusion: teachers dislike personality traits associated with creativity. The more
creative a class becomes, the less desirable their behaviour appears to teachers, as on the one
hand, Ng and Smith maintain, a creative teacher loses an aura of authority, and on the other,
creative behaviour in students is often perceived by teachers as associated with scepticism and
egoistic manners. In a similar vein, Westby and Dawson (1995) confirmed teachers' negative
view of characteristics associated with creativity in students. On the other hand, research
shows that creativity is valued by learners (Milgram, 1990). In her study, 500 students were
asked what they valued more in teachers, and creativity came out as one of the most valued
items. Moreover, it was found that creativity was linked to teachers' effectiveness (Milgram,
Teaching for creativity, or enhancing learners' creative skills, requires the practitioners to be
creative themselves and to provide learners with an ethos and a culture that values creativity
(Craft, 2005). This implies a change of the system of values, a valuation of creativity (Runco,
2007), where teachers manifest that creativity is worth pursuing. This should reflect a shift in
pedagogy, moving towards an inclusive approach (Craft, 2005), where the environment is
permissive and safe (Runco, 2007) and where learners are in control of their learning process
(Woods, 2002). Developing creative learning therefore demands innovative teaching.
The importance of the teacher figure
Effective teachers are often compared to – and share the same characteristics of – creative
teachers (Esquivel, 1995; Milgram, 1990). The creative and effective teacher relies on a series
of sources that include ICT, but also realia (i.e. real objects), manipulatives (i.e. resources that
can be manipulated), and innovative resources (Simplicio, 2000). They generally do not
restrain their lessons to textbooks.
As Wyse and Spendlove (2007) point out, teachers play an important role in triggering
students' creativity as they represent the field of experts who are to judge the creative output,
as in the Csikszentmihalyi triangle. Teachers are key components (Sharp, 2004) and builders
of a creative climate conducive to creative learning (Esquivel, 1995). They provide the
balance between structure and freedom of expression and determine the triggering or
hindering of students' creative output (Beghetto, 2005). They are the ultimate source of
creativity and innovation: no matter how good policies are, they rely on teachers to implement
them in class (Ng & Smith, 2004). Teachers should allow the co-construction of knowledge
(Craft, 2005), being "reflective practitioners" (Esquivel, 1995), supporters and facilitators
(Sharp, 2004) and not bureaucrats (Ng & Smith, 2004), nor technicians applying
governmental policies without questioning them (Craft, 2005) or inhibitors by being overly
didactic or prescriptive (Sharp, 2004). Some teachers are traditional, while others are
innovative. Research indicates that traditional teachers tend to deter students' individual
autonomy (Ng, 2002) which affects their creative performance. Creative performance is more
likely to happen with a teacher who empowers students (Craft, 2005). Innovative teachers9
welcome a democratic classroom (Esquivel, 1995) where everyone has a say. They foster
students' independence and empower them (Woods, 2002). Amabile (1989) stresses the
importance of a nurturing environment to kindle the creative spark, an environment where
students feels rewarded, are active learners, have a sense of ownership, and can freely discuss
their problems; where teachers are coaches and promote cooperative learning methods, thus
making learning relevant to life experiences.
Teaching for creativity implies allowing pupils to take responsibility for their own learning.
Pupils ought not to be considered as merely receivers of information: on the contrary, it is
important that they assume the role of discovery, but support and guidance are needed in
order for them to succeed. For this, teachers need to be prepared both on the pedagogical side,
being aware of the ways and means to foster autonomy and student-centeredness (Simplicio,
2000), and on the subject-knowledge side. Lack of preparation will prevent teachers from
being willing and ready to provide a learning format which allows students to discover and
explore (Craft, 2005).
The importance of the role of the teacher for creativity and innovation in education puts yet
more pressure on the teachers to focus on several priorities and policy agendas at the same
time. Teachers are expected to cover the curriculum, meet standards, administer assessment in
multiple forms and ever-changing ways (Beghetto, 2005), and focus on literacy and numeracy
(Sharp, 2004) or on the current governmental priority (Christensen et al., 2008). They must do
all this while being creative and applying innovative, effective and entertaining teaching
methods and formats – preferably including ICT. If teachers are the key, support mechanisms
should be implemented to make sure they can fulfil expectations and respond positively to
Craft (2005) recognises that there have been several moves to promote creativity in schools in
England. Notwithstanding the political effort, messages from the government are conflicting.
There is, Craft argues, a tendency to tighten the control of governmental bodies over learning
content, assessment, attainment targets, and other educational issues. Teachers are asked to be
creative and innovative and, at the same time, they feel the pressure to achieve standards (for
instance with the National Literacy strategy and National Numeracy strategy). The same
discourse is repeated by Christensen, Johnson and Horn (2008): policy-makers are constantly
requesting teachers and institutions to complete some particular task, while never forgetting
what was institutionalised beforehand. Tasks, duties and demands accumulate, as new
requirements do not shade or substitute the others but are added onto the workload.
Implementing creativity in education is particularly challenging, Craft (2005) continues,
because the control over teachers' pedagogies and learners' performances is higher than a
creative environment could withstand. Creativity needs time, flow, interaction, suspension of
judgement, and risk-taking, all these being attitudes that go against traditional school
institutional principles. Schools mandate standardisation (Christensen et al., 2008), creativity
requires uniqueness.
9 By innovative teacher, we mean a teacher who seeks innovation in his/her practice and who teaches for
The literature recommends taking off some of the pressure, first by giving clear and not
conflicting priorities. Moreover, policies should offer a balance between freedom and control,
and, most importantly, should provide enough time to teachers and students, away from
propositional knowledge, to internalise and experiment (Craft, 2005). It is also important to
train teachers and to implement continual professional development, as the needs of learners
change at a fast pace (Simplicio, 2000).
3.4. Curricula for creative learning and innovative teaching
Runco (1990) affirms that the thinking of children at all levels of ability is significantly
influenced by the type of opportunities they are given. Offering learners the right chances to
develop their cognitive and creative potential should be a priority in the design of school
curricula. A curriculum is the way in which domains of knowledge are made available to
students (Craft, 2005) and it establishes a vision of the kind of society which policy-makers
want and envisage for the future (Williamson & Payton, 2009). It may be said that a
curriculum is a political act, which involves several stakeholders (Williamson & Payton,
2009), including the parents. Therefore, choices on what to include in the curriculum should
benefit not only the learners (Williamson & Payton, 2009), but also meet the demands of
different stakeholders.
In order to foster creative learning and innovative teaching, curricula need to undergo a skilful
and thorough development, where re-balancing is a key factor. The literature identified
several aspects for enhancing the curriculum: the balance between different areas of
education; the balance along the curriculum (from pre-school to higher education); the
balance between prescription and freedom; and finally the balance between students' interests
and other educational stakeholders' agendas.
Balance among different areas
As Craft (2005) argues, creativity is not the preserve of the arts alone, but it can be fostered in
all school subjects. Endorsing the implicit theory of creativity as art is a misconception that
leads to an underestimation of the potential of creativity for other domains of knowledge.10 As
creativity enhances learning, it should be promoted in all curricular areas. Craft (2005) gives
some practical examples of teaching for creativity in different subjects. For instance, in
physical education creativity may involve a dance or gymnastic sequence, or collaborative
invention of a new ball game. In music, it could imply an individual or collaborative
composition. For ICT, it could be inventing a database to answer children's questions about a
specific topic. In maths, pupils could identify and solve problems. Wyse and Jones (2003)
give some practical guidance to foster creativity, offering both suggestions on specific
subjects and providing an overview on how to develop creativity and thinking across the
curriculum. Fisher and William (2004) also show how creativity can be developed across the
curriculum, offering both theoretical and practical advice on how to develop children's
capacity for creative thinking and achievement and use creativity to increase levels of
motivation and self-esteem.
The literature states that cross-curricular activities foster creativity in education. Williamson
and Payton (2009) suggest paying attention to the division of school subjects and skills. The
division of school time in subjects does not allow for the promotion of several skills, such as
10 Seeing creativity as a synonym of arts gives rise to a misconception that sees creative activities as synonyms
of play and fun (Craft, 2005). There is certainly a playful element, but it should not be forgotten that
creativity also involves hard work (Runco, 2007).
learning to learn and thinking skills. Those could be developed within the actual framework,
or by setting aside some time for a holistic view of knowledge and for the development of
skills that are not subject-specific.
Craft (2005) maintains that, regardless of subject separation or integration, the aim that should
underlie the curriculum is understanding a topic or issue. Therefore, subject integration could,
at times, be of benefit to the understanding of a cross-curricular theme; whereas, at other
times, separating subjects may become necessary. The same view was endorsed by Piaget,
who maintains that a mix between cross-curricular work and subject division brings in
effective knowledge construction and meaning-making (Piaget, 1973). As studies from
Harvard's Project Zero demonstrate, new knowledge is often generated through inter-
disciplinary work (in Craft, 2005) as this allows trans-disciplinary thinking. What could be
implied from these studies is that dedicating time to cross-curricular work would benefit a
holistic approach to knowledge and could trigger creativity in learning.
The Robinson Report highlighted another lack of balance between areas of the curriculum,
namely in the distinction between core and foundation subjects. In the National Curriculum of
England, there are three core subjects (English, mathematics, science) and seven foundation
subjects (technology, history, geography, art, music, physical education and modern foreign
languages). Even if other countries may not have such a clear-cut distinction, there is still a
hierarchy of areas of knowledge. Schools reflect a cultural background, which gives more
relevance to specific fields of knowledge than others. This imposes pressure on policy-makers
and teachers, ending up with the attribution of less importance to certain subjects, namely the
arts or physical education. The Robinson Report recognises the entitlement of every young
person to develop his/her abilities in possibly every field (NACCCE, 1999).
Every student has a different learning style and a different "type of intelligence" (Gardner
1983). Even if people seem to be naturally gifted with one kind of intelligence, they will not
accomplish much if they are not given the possibility to develop their particular intelligence
(Gardner, 1999). Current curricular structure makes schools more suited to a particular kind of
intelligence, whereas schools should cater for all intelligence types. A balance between
different domains of knowledge would allow for the provision of opportunities for success for
those students who do not possess an 'academic'11 intelligence (Christensen et al., 2008).
A balance between different areas of the curriculum entails:
The recognition that all subjects can benefit from creativity, as creativity is not
The possibility to introduce a statutory time for cross-curricular work, as this
facilitates a broad vision of education and learning and develops creativity and
thinking skills, as well as learning-to-learn skills;
An acknowledgement of the importance of every domain of knowledge, as this
facilitates the catering for different interests, intelligences and learning styles.
Balance along the curriculum
It has been noted that creativity has a different relevance across the curriculum, as
intrinsically creative subjects, such as art, seem to allow more space for creativity. On the
other hand, it is also true that creativity has an imbalance along the curriculum (i.e. from pre-
school to upper secondary), as there are discontinuities in curricular recommendations from
11 Linguistic or logical-mathematical.
early years to secondary school. First of all, there is a stronger emphasis on creativity for
younger pupils but not for adolescents. Secondly, creativity is defined and framed in different
ways for the early years, for primary and for secondary education (Craft, 2005). Figure 7
provides a view of the relevance of creativity in the Italian curriculum by Michela Ott - ITD-
CNR.12 Michala Ott maintains that in the Italian curriculum the strongest emphasis on
creativity is seen at primary level. Moreover, creative skills developed in primary schools
function as a trigger for the other stages of education.
A balance along the curriculum entails:
A recognition of the relevance of creativity for every age group;
A coherent definition of creativity from pre-school to university;
A detailed framework for creativity in education for all.
Balance between prescription and freedom
There is agreement in the literature that a prescriptive curriculum hinders creativity. The
knowledge-burden that teachers are asked to impart certainly has an impact on the time that
can be allocated to exploring topics in a creative and innovative way. Craft (2005) believes
that the curriculum does not have to involve a great deal of propositional knowledge and has
to be covered in a reasonable amount of time, in order to leave space for other activities, for
deepening understanding and for developing transversal skills.
An overloaded curriculum will also affect the teaching format. The Robinson Report cites a
study by Diane Montgomery, which found that, in over 1,000 lessons, 70% of contact time
was taken up by the teacher talking. She assumes that this is partially due by the pressure to
cover all the topics of the curriculum (NACCCE, 1999). Woods and Jeffrey (in Craft, 2005)
suggest some strategies for practitioners to deliver a heavy curriculum in a creative way by:
sharing and creating knowledge; speculating on a given idea/topic; building on prior
knowledge; sharing puzzlement (the teacher acting as a learner among other learners); valuing
pupils' knowledge; developing common knowledge; problematising knowledge.
A balance between prescription and freedom entails:
A recognition of teachers' freedom;
12 The figure is taken from Michela Ott's presentation at the scoping workshop on 'Creativity and Innovation in
Education' held in Seville on 23-24 February, 2009. To see the full presentation, please go to:
Figure 7: Creativity in the curricula
(Michela Ott)
A curriculum which allow space and time for innovation and experiments.
Balance of agendas
As stated earlier, a curriculum is a political act (Williamson & Payton, 2009), affecting
several stakeholders. Research has demonstrated that intrinsic motivation is one of the main
triggers of creativity (Amabile, 1990). It would therefore be desirable to balance factual
knowledge with learners' interests. An interested student is a more creative and engaged
learner. Runco (2003) suggests a two-step facilitation effort: first, triggering intrinsic interest;
and secondly, matching curriculum and experiences with the individual current level of
functioning. For the first step, he suggests educational actors (from policy-makers to teachers)
should make an effort to work on topics students find interesting or to find something that
might catch students' attention in every topic and subject. For the second step, he builds on
constructivist theories, stating that people assimilate information which is slightly ahead of
their current functioning. Easy tasks, and also extremely challenging ones, may bore or
frustrate the learner, therefore limiting the effectiveness of the teaching and hindering
creativity. As it is unlikely that a homogeneous level of functioning within any given
classroom will be found, the best solution would be to move towards a personalisation13 of
learning (Williamson & Payton, 2009). The ideal curriculum takes into account every
learner's needs and is therefore defined for the individual and not for the group (Runco, 2003).
A balance of agendas entails:
A recognition of students' interests when designing the curriculum;
The possibility to tailor (personalise) the curriculum to the current level of functioning
of each student;
Time away from the statutory curriculum to allow space and time for teachers and
students to teach and learn what they wish.
3.5. Assessment and creativity
Assessment is an essential component of learning and teaching, as it allows the quality of both
teaching and learning to be judged and improved. With regards to creativity and innovation,
the Robinson Report noted that the problem with assessment is how it is done, as current
methods at best do not take into account creativity, and at worst they stifle it (NACCCE,
The literature recognises a barrier for creative learning in the way in which formal, national
assessment, especially in the form of tests, is currently conducted. Wyse and Jones (2003)
maintain that testing has narrowed school provision at the expense of creativity.
Notwithstanding the amount of time required to prepare students for examinations, there is no
evidence that testing helps to raise standards. On the contrary, the statutory assessment system
is considered to divert teaching from activities that would improve teaching and learning
quality and attainment (Wyse & Torrance, 2009). The Robinson Report also recognises the
pitfalls of assessment for creative learning, as national or end-of-year tests place enormous
pressure on teachers and students, who focus on getting a better grade rather than on
innovative practices. Assessment often determines the priorities of education (NACCCE,
1999). As a result, if exam papers are asking for notional performances, teaching and learning
will tend to focus on propositional knowledge. This reinforces the view that policies should
13 This theme is underlined also through the theory of multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1999).
take into account creative learning and innovative teaching in both curricular and testing
The same applies to other educational actors, especially teachers. Fostering creative learning
with innovative teaching implies a change in assessment, both at a macro and at a micro level.
One cannot teach children "how to run and test them on how they jump".14 Therefore,
creativity has to be valued by teachers throughout the whole educational process, from
informal judgement to written assignments. Teachers can show that they appreciate creative
expression (Beghetto, 2005) and welcome uniqueness of responses, or foster creativity and
motivation by giving unusual tasks or assignments (Pleschová, 2007). This attitude does not
have to go against standards, since it should not be forgotten that creativity is a balance of
novelty and value, thus originality and appropriateness go hand-in-hand.
Simplicio (2000) and Beghetto (2005) agree on the importance of goal-setting: it should be
clear for both learners and teachers what has to be learned and how. Beghetto (2005)
differentiates between two goal-structure types: performance and mastery. A performance
goal structure highlights the importance of avoiding mistakes, to be the best, to get the highest
grades. It is a kind of assessment which makes comparisons among students. A mastery-goal
structure emphasises self-improvement and skills development and focuses on learning and
not on grading. This assessment provides useful feedback on students' progress and enhances
levels of curiosity, motivation, enjoyment and interest, all factors that are crucial in the
development of creativity. The framework of assessment for learning, though it does not
consider creativity, goes in the same direction. It recognises the priority of promoting
students' learning and understanding, and highlights the impact of self-assessment and peer-
assessment in raising children's achievement (Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall, & Wiliam,
2004). Assessment therefore monitors students' progress and aims to help students reach their
full potential.
Despite the statutory need to take into account the summative function of assessment, which
aims to judge – and grade – pupils' achievements at the end of a programme of work, the
other two functions must not be forgotten. These are: the diagnostic, which aims to analyse
pupils' capabilities and aptitudes as a basis for planning; and the formative, which gathers
evidence about pupils' progress to influence teaching methods and priorities (NACCCE,
1999). The main priority of teachers is to help students to focus on understanding and learning
rather than on grades (Beghetto, 2005). Simplicio (2000) emphasises the need to measure or
evaluate students' performance against previous attainment targets, so that students can see a
development in their progression. Knowledge or skills acquisition is not to be compared to
other students' performances, as learners have to compete against themselves. Instead of
motivating students by suggesting that they will be graded, teachers have to motivate them by
getting students involved in their tasks (Beghetto, 2005). Moreover, every learner varies in
how they react to assessment; some of them may perform well at written examinations, others
at speaking tests or oral exams. Creative and flexible teachers continue to be so when
assessing. This can be done by using a variety of assessment methods and by seeing
assessment as an extension of the learning process (Simplicio, 2000). If the building and
scaffolding of knowledge is co-constructed and personalised, then assessment must also be
tailored to the individual.
14 Quote from the presentation of Eliza Stefanova at the scoping workshop for Creativity and innovation in
education held in Seville on 23rd-24th of February 2009.
Diagnostic assessment has a relevant potential when planning for creative learning and
innovative teaching. It is necessary to adapt the concepts of value and novelty to each age
group (Russ 2003), so that a solution to a problem, for example, can be judged to be creative
for that age group. This could lead to a concept similar to that of reading age, with all its
benefits and pitfalls. It is unquestionable that grading creativity may lead to several clashes, as
the judgement of the novelty and value of a creative outcome often relies on subjectivity and
arbitrariness (Cropley & Cropley, 2007). Ellis and Barrs (2008) recognise the compounded
difficulties of assessing creativity, but nevertheless provided a framework and a creative
learning scale. The creative learning scale is divided into five levels or attainment targets,
accounting for both creative products and processes. Ellis and Barr believe in a kind of
assessment that aims to detect creativity, which will also have a backwash effect on fostering
creative learning and innovative teaching.15 Their framework of Creative Learning
Assessment (CLA) encompasses diagnostic, formative and summative assessment, allowing
teachers to make informal judgements and also to evaluate children's creative work in several
ways, including collecting pupils' work in portfolios and e-portfolios.
Table 2 summarises the major points of assessment for creative learning, addressing different
forms and functions of assessment, as defined in the Robinson Report (left column) and
giving an overview of creative solutions as proposed by several researchers (right column).
Assessment according to the Robinson
report Assessment for creative learning
Forms of assessment
informal judgements valuing uniqueness of responses (Beghetto,
2007b), asking open-ended questions and
tolerating ambiguity (Sharp, 2004), making
informal judgements (Ellis & Barr, 2008).
written, oral or practical assignment giving unusual assignments (Pleschová, 2007);
using a plethora of media (Simplicio, 2000);
gathering evidence by using portfolios or course
work (NACCCE, 1999).
formal public examination evaluating creativity in national tests
Functions of assessment
Diagnostic: To analyse pupils'
capabilities and aptitudes as a basis for
adapting the concepts of value and novelty to the
age group (Russ, 2003).
Formative: To gather evidence about the
pupils' progress to influence teaching
methods and priorities
goal-oriented attitude, make it explicit that
creativity will be valued (Beghetto, 2005)
assessment as monitoring of progress (Black et
al., 2004).
Summative: To judge pupils'
achievements at the end of a programme
of work
assess creativity in formal exams (Wyse &
Torrance, 2009).
Table 2: a taxonomy of assessment variables and possible creative alternatives
15 Sue Ellis took part in the scoping workshop for Creativity and innovation in education held in Seville on 23 -
24 February 2009. It is possible to see the framework in her presentation here:
3.6. Innovation as a paradigm shift
There is a growing desire for a holistic transformation of educational systems (Selinger et al.,
2008). The previous pages have shown how creativity can benefit learning. Creativity allows
for the possibility of making connections across different areas of knowledge; there is thus a
need for innovative spaces that allow for this cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary approach,
which can also include informal knowledge. This approach will thus challenge the actual,
traditional configuration of school space, time and structure (Burke, 2007).
Institutions are generally considered to be resistant to change. As Williamson and Payton
(2009) point out, any kind of educational change is challenging, messy and slow. Schools, in
particular, face an enormous challenge, as there is a pressure to achieve in different areas and
as new requirements do not shade or substitute old ones (Christensen et al., 2008; Punie,
Cabrera, Bogdanowicz, Zinnbauer, & Navajas, 2005). Moreover, it is quite unlikely that an
institution can provide disruptive change. By disruptive innovation, Christensen et al. mean a
kind of innovation that is not only preoccupied with the improvement of an existing product
(which is called incremental innovation); but which radically changes the paradigms and
principles of the product. A good example of the concept is the case of the personal computer.
Up until the time of its creation, computers were big, expensive machines that only experts
could use. Sustainable innovation made newer, faster, bigger computers. The advent of the
personal computer changed the market, as the product was not as "good" or as sophisticated
as big computers were, but it targeted another type of client (a previous "non-consumer"). So
the introduction of personal computers is a disruptive innovation because it changes the
"idea", market and target of computers, even though its base level was not as powerful as the
big traditional computers (Christensen et al., 2008). Hargreaves (2003) maintains that the idea
that lies behind disruptive innovation is the opposite to that of sustainable innovation.
Schools do not seem to possess the characteristics of innovative organisations, which are
generally flexible, welcome ideas, are empowering, tolerate risk, celebrate success, foster
synergy and encourage fun (Craft, 2005). Even the implementation of technology in education
has not made the foreseen change: ICT has not had the transformative impact it could have had
and which was expected (Ala-Mutka, Punie, & Redecker, 2008b). According to Christensen et al.
(2008), this is because teachers have used computers to sustain their existing practices, as
displacing them would require a kind of disruptive innovation that is not yet feasible. If there
is a desire to change education, all educational actors should be involved and must work
towards the same goals. Moreover, it is necessary to promote creativity at all levels, as
creativity can contribute to both sustainable and disruptive innovation. Innovation cannot
happen without creativity.
True innovation in education will require, first of all, a paradigm shift in format and
methodology (Simplicio, 2000). This will entail a constant and total renovation, regardless of
previous effectiveness. The main actors of change are teachers (Redecker, 2008), but without
institutional support they could not only kindle but also kill creativity and innovation. They
are the first and most effective source of creativity for learners (Esquivel, 1995), therefore
they need both the support and the resources to innovate. Teachers tend to settle in and
become comfortable in their profession (Simplicio, 2000). However, teaching careers can last
for forty years, and it seems unthinkable to expect that several generations of students would
benefit from the same approach (Pedró, 2006). Teachers who wish to be creative have to be
willing to change their approach and method (Simplicio, 2000). Teaching creatively and for
creativity is not about adding a few pictures to a handout or a presentation, or making students
listen to music.16 Educators run the risk of falling into the originality pitfall, believing that
creativity is a synonym of originality (Beghetto, 2007a). Innovating education involves a
complete change in the content and method of teaching, and also in assessment (Simplicio,
2000). There are already pockets of creativity and innovation in several schools around
Europe, these "best practices" must become standards for education.
Technology can help to bring about change (Christensen et al., 2008). The development and
implementation of student-centric technology will bring a need to shift to student-centred
pedagogy and the ownership of learning by learners, a quality that is indispensable for
fostering creativity (Woods, 2002). Students could learn with software that is developed for
their kind of intelligence and learning style (Christensen et al., 2008). In this way, teachers
will not be instructors anymore but rather facilitators (Burke, 2007).
Another path to innovation in education would be the establishment of a network of teachers
to disseminate good practice (Hargreaves, 2003). Schools are a good repository of expertise
and variety; teachers have therefore to be encouraged to share their expertise through the
observation of other teachers within and outside their school (Simplicio, 2000). Another
option could be the establishment of an institutional virtual network of expertise, where
teachers could exchange resources and tips (Hargreaves, 2003). Again, technologies are
fundamental for this kind of transformation, as ICT can be an effective and affordable means
of peer-to-peer exchange and networking.17
3.7. Major points
This chapter outlined the role and relevance of creativity and innovation in education. For the
educational sector, a democratic, "little c" conceptualisation of creativity is more appropriate,
as it acknowledges the possibility for everyone to develop their creative potential. This
concept entails a re-framing of some aspects of the creative discourse, in particular: implicit
theories; novelty and value; and the understanding of creativity as a process or a product. It
has been demonstrated that, in order to include creativity in the classroom, implicit theories
need to be tackled, to move towards a common understanding of what creativity is. Also, the
attributes of novelty and value must be considered for the individual and not for society.
Creativity should also be considered as a process more than a product.
Creativity requires experience and knowledge more than intelligence and it can be seen as a
form of knowledge creation, and thus linked to learning. Notwithstanding this premise,
creativity is not always welcomed in the classroom, especially by the teachers, who often
dismiss creative and original outputs on the grounds of their perceived lack of relevance.
However, if a creative culture is to be implemented, teachers will be key figures. They
therefore need support, both in terms of training and ongoing institutional support.
A re-balancing of the curriculum is required to foster creativity in schools. This entails:
Recognition of the fact that all subjects can benefit from creativity, as creativity is not
16 Michela Ott, a senior researcher at the Institute for Educational Technology of the Italian National Research
Council who took part in our scoping workshop, pointed out that this is the perception of creativity held by
many teachers she interviewed.
17 See next chapter.
The possibility to introduce a statutory time for cross-curricular work, as this
facilitates a broad vision of education and learning and develops creativity and
thinking skills, as well as learning-to-learn skills;
Acknowledgement of the importance of every domain of knowledge, as this facilitates
catering for different interests, intelligences and learning styles;
Recognition of the relevance of creativity for every age group;
A coherent definition of creativity from pre-school to university;
A detailed framework for creativity in education for all;
Recognition of teachers' freedom;
A curriculum which allow space and time for innovation and experimentation;
Recognition of students' interests when designing the curriculum;
The possibility to tailor (personalise) the curriculum to the current level of functioning
of each student;
Time away from the statutory curriculum to allow space and time for teachers and
students to teach and learn what they wish.
Assessment is also crucial for the development of creative skills. Assessing for creativity
(both in national tests and in day-to-day exchanges) will have a positive backwash effect on
teaching for creativity. Finally, innovation in education is a hard task for all stakeholders,
which requires a paradigm shift in format and methodology. Teachers' networks could help
this shift to happen.
The debate on the role of ICT for creativity and innovation in education has become an
important one over the past decade. The rapid development of technology, mainly as a result
of the Internet, has brought about an upsurge of technological tools which young people are
appropriating for use in their everyday lives. As explored by the domestication theory, the
arrival of ICTs in homes has brought the mobilisation of material resources, skills, cultural
values and social competences and capabilities (Silverstone, 2006). The recent rise of social
media is also having an impact on education. These applications have shifted the way users
seek information and the way knowledge is created. The potential of relational communities,
as opposed to locational communities (Bess, Fisher, Sonn, & Bishop, 2002), allows
expansion of interests and expertise with people outside one's local community who are
interested in the same topics. These new forms of communities facilitate collaboration across
space and time. Evolution in communication practices suggests that developments for
pedagogy need to address what it means to be educated in our times (Loveless, 2007), so as to
avoid 'yesterday's education for tomorrow's kids' (Prensky, 2005).
In the past few years, the emergence of a new wave of technologies has been observed. The
rapid uptake of these technologies, which are generally referred to as social computing
applications, has also taken many by surprise. Social computing applications vary from social
networking sites (like Facebook; MySpace); sharing of bookmarks (; Citeulike);
sharing of multimedia (Flickr; YouTube), online gaming (Second Life) and blogging, to
mention but a few. These applications offer new opportunities for people to express their
creativity, make it available to a large audience and get feedback and recognition (Cachia,
Compano, & Da Costa, 2007). Analysis of creative people and artistic innovation
demonstrates that scientific and artistic innovation also emerge from collective effort. This is
commonly referred to as social creativity (Fischer, Giaccardi, Eden, Sugimoto, & Ye, 2005).
As discussed by Fischer (Fischer, et al., 2005), an appropriate socio-technical setting can
amplify creativity amongst a group of people by augmenting individual creativity and also
social creativity.
Blogging is an example of how youngsters are using technologies to express their creativity
and to be innovative. Creativity can be at both the individual level and the collective level.
These applications demonstrate the variety of ways in which users learn how to learn, which
according to Rogers (1983), is a major component of creativity. The example of blogging
shows that children learn how to write for a public, how to link their work to other works,
how to network with other bloggers, how to utilise the blog for their eventual career paths
amongst other skills. This facilitates creative learning, as it enables users to use technology to
learn in new, creative ways. Such learning processes demonstrate that technology has great
potential for creative learning.
Technological skills are important not only for children at schools but also for lifelong
learning (EC, 2008c). The different levels of interaction and collaboration characteristic of
new technologies facilitate personalisation of learning paths. Learners become active
stakeholders, who are 'empowered to shape their own learning spaces and resources' and
collaborative learning processes (Ala-Mutka, Bacigalupo et al., 2008).
Continuous technological change means that learners today need to develop positive attitudes
towards change and also, adaptability (Hinkley, 2001). As Hinkley argues, students in the
future will endorse 'portfolio careers', moving through several careers and different jobs,
including jobs that today still do not exist. Hence, it comes as no surprise that substantial
pressure is being put on schooling systems to acknowledge new ways of dealing with
continuous rapid technological development. Young people today, often referred to as the
NetGen or Google Generation (Herold, 2009), are growing up surrounded and immersed in
technology. Appropriation of technological platforms requires new approaches for education.
This section explores how ICT could act as a platform for fostering creative learning and
innovative teaching in education and how the education sector may leverage on the
opportunities brought about by the new wave of technologies.
Traditionally, creativity has been associated with the artistic world, however, as Florida
(2002) argues, creativity is an important component of economic growth and social
transformation. Technology, he argues, is one of the major components for fostering future
creative communities, together with Talent and Tolerance, what is often referred to as
Florida's 3 T's (See section 2.3). In terms of innovation, social computing interfaces are
particularly interesting in this debate because in various ways they harness the emerging and
increasing role of the user in the innovation-development process, as well as the ongoing shift
towards open innovation (Lindmark, forthcoming 2009). Various online applications could be
used to empower teachers to become innovative in their teaching, as well as students to
develop their creative skills and learn creatively.
4.1. Appropriation of technology
There are different ways in which users interact with technology in learning processes
(Loveless, 2008). Interaction with technology is primarily based on how users understand the
capacity of technology. Loveless calls this level of learning: 'active learning process'.
Interaction with ICT provides users with new ways of doing things: 'extend or enhance
ability; novel ways of dealing with a task which might change the nature of the activity itself,
or provide limitations and structure which influence the nature and boundaries of the activity'
(p. 64). When learning to use a new technology, there are different ways users interact with it.
As Loveless argues, it is the interplay of human intention and activity which exploits the
potential of a technology.
Learning how to write is one level of learning, while learning how to write novels is another.
Writing is a technology which, during Plato's time, was thought of as an external, alien
technology (Ong, 1982). Today we have so deeply interiorised writing that it has become a
transparent technology. As argued by Ong, when technology is appropriately interiorised, it
enhances human life and heightens consciousness. Since its existence, writing has offered
various possibilities through which learners can develop their creative skills and learn in new,
creative ways. It allows users to deal with tasks in different ways, to find new solutions and to
enhance their ways of doing the same task.
Hence, basic technology skills are prerequisites for creative learning. Without basic skills in
writing, writing a novel or a poem is more difficult. Literature in this area demonstrates that
the digital generation, which is assumed to be totally proficient with technology, often lacks
basic technological skills and IT knowledge (Herold, 2009). This shows that if we want
children to be creative with technology, we have first and foremost to teach them how to use
it. A longitudinal study carried out by the CIBER research team demonstrates that the Google
Generation tends to rely heavily on search engines and does not possess the critical and
analytical skills to assess the information they find on the Internet (Rowlands & Fieldhouse,
2008). This is another example which demonstrates how the potential of a medium is not
exploited because students have not been taught basic skills which are required when
searching for information online.
Research on games has also demonstrated that when games are used in educational contexts,
appropriation can take place on different levels. The distinction between diegesis18 and non-
diegesis, borrowed from film studies, explores the different experience of immersion in games
and the other role of being outside the game. de Freitas & Oliver (2006) argue that in
educational contexts, learners need to be able to enter the world of the game, but also be
critical about the process, so as to be able to reflect upon their relationship with the game
when viewed from outside. This suggests that creative learning through gaming requires
substantial effort from teachers, in order to achieve positive results. Research carried out by
the European Schoolnet demonstrates that when teachers used games in their teaching, pupils'
motivation and skills were increased (Wastiau, Kearney, & Vanderberghe, 2009).
It is also important to mention that the open innovation culture is changing the way users deal
with technology today. A classic example is OpenOffice, a software suite which, through its
open system, has encouraged various users to become innovative through the reporting of
bugs, requesting new features of enhancing the software. Another more recent example is
Facebook's Application Programming Interface (API), which allows third parties to integrate
foreign applications. These applications vary from basic gaming to more complex ways of
leveraging on social networking.
4.2. Innovative teaching: the role of teachers
Literature and research suggest that technology is endowed with a potential to innovate
education (Blandow & Dyrenfurth, 1994; Ruiz i Tarrago, 1993). However, teachers need to
modify their teaching methods to accommodate the changed interaction patterns. The
effective use of new technologies requires innovative teaching skills. When students are not
provided with adequate understanding of the affordances of technologies, there is a high
probability that they will replicate familiar forms and ideas using the new tools, as opposed to
using the new tools to explore new connections and different ways of fashioning (Loveless,
2008). A study conducted in primary schools on how students used online tools to
communicate and participate in online communities highlights the same point (Turvey, 2006).
Despite relative autonomy in virtual spaces, most children did not attempt to experiment with
the potential of the tools but rather followed predictable patterns of behaviour. This shows
that provision of creative spaces and freedom for exploration does not necessarily lead to
creative learning. The role of the teacher within and outside virtual spaces is important in
teaching students how to be creative and innovative.
Teachers' proficiency in using technology is another issue covered in literature (Shaffer,
2006). Teachers, who are not conversant with the technologies they use in their teaching, may
not feel comfortable with showing their lack of expertise in front of their students. As Shaffer
argues, if a teacher cannot read, it would be difficult for him/her to identify whether a book is
bad or whether his/her reading is inadequate to judge the book. When it comes to technology
18 "Diegetic," in the cinema, typically refers to the internal world created by the story that the characters
themselves experience and encounter: the narrative "space" that includes all the parts of the story, both those
that are and those that are not actually shown on the screen (such as events that have led up to the present
action) (Definition retrieved from Wikipedia, June 2009)
similar behaviour is noted. In order for innovative teaching to take place, teachers need to be
aware of the available resources and how such resources may be useful.
Teachers also need to be able to identify creative processes when they take place. An example
given at a conference captures this point clearly. In the UK, it has been observed that one way
for teenagers to be popular in class is to download music at home and then be the first to share
it with their classmates through a bluetooth application.19 While for one teacher such an
activity may appear frivolous or even a waste of time, for another teacher this activity may
represent new ways for youngsters to engage with technology. These teachers may thus
leverage on their technical knowledge and try to integrate new ways of teaching using their
students' technology. Another example could be integrating the downloading of e-books in
classrooms or sharing school resources for a language class.
Many teachers today recognise that a new generation of computer literate learners demand
'sophisticated e-learning resources' and 'support from their instructors' (Wang, Huang, Jeng, &
Wang, 2008). However, it is not always clear how teachers should integrate technology in
their teaching. Lack of technical personnel to help teachers manage laboratories, as well as the
fact that teachers are often not compensated for the extra-time needed to integrate ICT in their
teaching, are some challenges and limits imposed by school systems with an ever increasing
number of subjects (Bottino, 2003).
Emerging technologies, like for example SNS (Social Networking Sites), are based on notions
of networking. In the educational context, networking could enable people to develop
collaborative forms of learning. However, most school systems are still based on transmissive
models (Bottino, Forcheri, & Molfino, 1998; Noss, 1995). Within such systems, the role of
the teacher is fundamental, if creative learning is to take place. Other challenges for teachers
highlighted by another study conducted in Denmark relate to: team teaching on the internet
(organisational challenges and difficulties); taking ownership and group leadership amongst
the students/learners and new aesthetic norms and standards for learning projects (Borgnakke,
2006). This highlights the fact that ICT training for teachers is an important step in making
education how it should be today. Teacher training, learning digital competence within
context and innovative learning approaches have indeed been highlighted as enablers for
pedagogical innovation in the context of ICT in an IPTS Policy Brief (Ala-Mutka, Punie, &
Redecker, 2008a).
Another study conducted in Korean schools show that there are six factors which hinder
teachers from using games in their teaching, namely: inflexibility of curriculum; negative
effects of gaming; students' lack of readiness; lack of supporting materials; fixed class
schedules and limited budget (Baek, 2008). An important result of this study, which also
reflects findings from the study conducted by the European Schoolnet, is the difficulty
encountered by teachers in aligning games with the curricula (Wastiau et al., 2009). These
studies also mention the difficulties in locating useful educational games and parents' concern
about the usefulness of games in the context of education. In this context, these limitations
must be discussed because they could also be hindering innovative teaching.
19 This example by presented by Leslie Haddon at the Cost Conference which took place in Copenhagen
between 13-15 May 2009 during a session on New Media in the Hands of Young People:
4.3. Leisure vs. school work
An ethnographic study conducted in Denmark explored the different learning strategies
involved when students interact with technology. Students engaged with a virtual IT project
called the 'Middle Ages Project' carried out a range of activities from simple reproduction to
sophisticated creation (Borgnakke, 2006). Student behaviour was related to the conflict and
the dynamic between desire/duty, play/learning, leisure (for leisure use)/ school (for school
use) experienced by the students. These binary distinctions reflect an important debate that
has emerged as a result of new technologies. The domestication of media means that most of
these applications are used by students at home in their leisure time. Attempts to shift such
leisure media for educational purposes have prompted contradictory debates.
While some students would not want their teachers on their Facebook profiles, others would
happily do their homework with their peers using Facebook. Breen et al. (2001) suggest that
leisure usage of ICT should enable the blending of the academic with the personal. This is
perhaps only one side of the story. In our view, more research addressing the blurring of
academic and leisure usage of social media is needed. The fusion between leisure and school
work is an important debate for this work because there are many instances where creative
learning can take place at the hybrid level between leisure and school/work.
The use of games in the educational context has had a positive impact on motivation and other
skills (Wastiau et al., 2009). This study shows that students were generally happy that
teachers integrated applications from their everyday reality into their educational process.
Teachers, on the other hand, found that the use of games in teaching improved students' self-
confidence and also were more appropriate when it came to mistakes and different learning
rhythms of students. In addition, while students were more prone to retain information and
knowledge, teachers were more likely to be innovative in their teaching by combining games
with classic teaching aids.
As argued by Prensky (2005), all students have something in their lives which engages them,
they enjoy doing and they are good at, 'something that has an engaging, creative component to
it' (p. 62). This is often linked to technology and may vary from downloading songs, to
playing video games or sharing resources through the Internet, such as pictures or videos.
However, such engagement with technology is often ignored at school, resulting in what
Prensky calls students becoming 'enraged', as opposed to 'engaged'. Today's education is
based on the notion that student 'must eat' what they are fed. This contrasts strongly with the
reality offered by new technologies, which empower young users to choose what they want
and to create their own personalised identity.
4.4. Technology as an enabler for change
Over the past decade, ICT integration policies have mainly focused on providing access to
technology. However, the vast amount of money spent on placing computers at schools has
not yielded the expected results in pedagogical change. Bottino (2003) argues that schools
have 'crammed' new technologies into their existing structures, as opposed to allowing the
new technology to foster a new model, which would allow growth and change in how they
operate. According to Bottino, the provision of ICT infrastructure and training does not
necessarily result in 'effective pedagogical use of technology in schools'.
On the other hand, it is also argued that technology is endowed with a potential which could
enable migration from the present interdependent curricular architecture of most schools to a
more modular, student-centric approach (Christensen et al., 2008). Technological solutions
could act as platforms which help teachers to act as mentors and to build new and innovative
ways of teaching and for their students to develop their creative skills and to learn in new,
creative ways.
Lack of creativity and innovation in schools has also been attributed to technology design.
Technologies are often designed for the market rather than for education. It is often the case
that teachers are seen as consumers of pre-formed technologies. In this process, suppliers of
ICT and teachers are separated. Literature about games also suggests that most games tend to
be developed for commercial and leisure purposes (Wastiau et al., 2009). Allowing
practitioners into the process of development could enable more innovative and useful
products, specifically tailored for education.
It is also important to mention, that even when a real effort is made to bringing about change,
by being creative and innovative, this effort does not always yield positive results. In the UK,
for instance, the government has dedicated £350 million to creating a "digital curriculum".
The idea was to have a game-based document, so as to engage the students. However, as
Prensky (2005) argues they are 'struggling in this unfamiliar world'. According to him,
creating engagement should be based on good ideas rather than fancy graphics. In the context
of creative learning and innovative teaching, the importance of extracting and identifying
good ideas cannot be emphasised enough. Loveless (2008) proposes an analytical framework
for assessing creative endeavour and outcomes in physical and virtual learning. This is based
on: developing ideas; making connections; creating and making; collaboration and
communication and evaluation. This suggests that in order to foster creative learning and
innovative teaching, assessment in schools should be adapted to, and appropriate for, what we
are trying to measure in terms of children's achievements.
The fact that most current education systems are still based on 19th century institutions is
another important issue in the literature (Hinkley, 2001). Most of our schools are still using
time and space as means of control and as monitorial systems (West-Burnham, 2000). In this
context, increased usage of technological applications at home puts pressure on educational
institutions to take into consideration the participatory culture of students outside the school
and to bring learning closer to the everyday practices of the present student generation (Ala-
Mutka, 2008). Curricula design rooted in subject content easily becomes outdated and
irrelevant for students' real and future needs (Hinkley, 2001).
4.5. Major points
This chapter has explored how technology could act as a platform to foster creative learning
and innovative teaching. The development for new pedagogies needs to address what it means
to be educated in our times. The use of technology at school, however, requires a full
understanding of the different levels of technology appropriation by youngsters, in order to
leverage on the opportunities brought by technology. This also means that even though
technology is endowed with a potential to foster creative learning and innovative teaching,
unless teachers change their teaching methods positive results will be limited. Teachers also
need to have the required knowledge to be able to identify creative and innovative skills and
processes amongst their students. Accordingly, teacher training in these fields is fundamental.
In addition to keeping up with rapid technological developments, teachers are also faced with
various other challenges imposed by conservative schooling systems and their policies.
Teachers therefore need support.
This section also points out the contradictory debate surrounding the use of leisure media for
educational purposes, but we believe more research is required in this area. Nonetheless, most
of the literature does suggest that the current educational system must consider and explore
how to capture the empowerment culture characteristic of new technologies, as these are
having an important influence on the learning processes of young people. Until recently, most
education policies have focused on access to technology. Little progress has been made in
changing school systems in order to allow new technologies to foster new educational models
which would, in turn, allow growth and change in how schools operate. It has also been
pointed out that the way most schools carry out their assessment and the way curricula are
designed may hinder creative learning and innovative teaching. Literature shows that unless
education takes into consideration the underlying changing processes brought about by new
technologies, there is a risk that education policies become irrelevant for students' real and
future needs.
The previous discussion regarding the framing of creativity and innovation in the broader
research and in the educational sector have outlined a variety of perspectives and
understandings of these two concepts. There is also a profusion of implicit theories on
creativity, which allow people to judge what is creative and innovative without being able to
explain or define what creativity and innovation are (Runco, 1999). Both aspects – research
and connotations – contribute to the vagueness and elusiveness of the terms, complicating the
tasks of looking for creativity and innovation in practice.
At the same time, there is a gap between policies and practices. A support mechanism is
needed to facilitate the implementation of policies. This also applies to the discourse of
creativity and innovation in education. If member states promote creativity and innovation in
their educational policies, this does not guarantee that schools will show creativity and
innovation in their day to day practices.
As many researchers found, one of the barriers to creativity and innovation in schools consists
of teachers' overloaded schedules. The demand for creative learning and innovative teaching
from policy-makers has to be matched with a support mechanism, i.e. with policies and tools
that help all educational actors to pursue creative and innovative paths. Besides, policies for
creativity and innovation in education need to be in line with other policies and with what is
demanded from teachers and students, as contradictory messages will increase uncertainty and
further impede the adoption of necessary measures for a creative learning environment. The
promotion of creativity and innovation needs to be articulate and coherent, as the issue is
complex and multi-faceted. Moreover, policies need to be mirrored by practices, for instance
by establishing a nurturing school culture or by finding support in the availability of certain
tools, in order to be applied in an effective way and to have a positive impact.
It becomes evident therefore that looking for manifestations of creativity and innovation is
challenging for several reasons:
Creativity and innovation are processes which do not always result in tangible
outcomes and as a result it can be difficult to find evidence of them;
Creativity and innovation are exposed to subjectivity, arbitrariness and interpretation;
thus making it challenging to compare data;
Policies are not necessarily mirrored in practice: encouraging creativity and innovation
in policies is not enough, as there is a need for a support mechanism.
The fostering of creativity and innovation does not uniquely rely on the intention of educators
and pupils, as there are several conditions to be met before a creative and innovative
environment can be promoted. In this sense, policies and common practices may provide the
circumstances for creative learning and innovative teaching or, on the contrary, obstruct them.
It is therefore interesting and necessary to examine which conditions can trigger creative
learning and innovative teaching in order to support and allow them to spread. As Burke puts
it, "if creativity is difficult to define, one certain thing is that it is possible to create the
conditions in which creativity is more likely to thrive" (Burke, 2007).
As demonstrated, the role of the teacher in formal educational environments is fundamental to
bring about new pedagogies or to stimulate change (Ala-Mutka, Bacigalupo et al., 2008).
Teachers need institutional support to be creative and innovative. Nonetheless, an assessment
of creativity and innovation in educational practices cannot rely on the fortuitous and
incidental number of individuals with the will and the inspiration. It was hence decided to
investigate and assess the "enablers" for change. This will allow an understanding of the basic
conditions for fostering creative learning and innovative teaching.
By "enablers" we understand the circumstances or the support mechanisms that allow creative
learning and innovative teaching to emerge or that facilitate creativity and innovation. As
"multiple components must converge for creativity to occur" (Sternberg & Lubart, 1999), it is
necessary to "prepare the ground" for creativity and allow for these components (or enablers),
to convene. If all enablers are present, it is still not possible to deduce that creativity and
innovation are happening, as it ultimately relies on the teachers and students to actively
engage in the creative and innovative process. At the same time, if several conditions do not
convene, it is unlikely that creativity and innovation will flourish. Enablers are therefore a
measure of the possibilities for creativity and innovation, and not of the creative learning and
innovative teaching that is actually happening in schools. The gathering, clustering and
validation of enablers can have interesting spill-over effects for policy-making: enablers are
the conditions and the support mechanism that facilitate and assist creative learning and
innovative teaching. They should therefore be taken into account in order to develop
educational policies effectively and coherently promoting and supporting creativity and
innovation in education.
A twofold method was used to identify major enablers: a literature review and a scoping
workshop. During the first phases of the literature review, special attention was paid to the
gathering of those aspects that the literature pointed out as being relevant in allowing for
creativity and innovation in schools. The results of this data collection were then clustered
according to internal similarities or overlapping purpose. A first draft systematisation of the
enablers was then presented at a scoping workshop organised by IPTS in Seville on the 23
and 24 February 2009 and attended by experts in the field of creativity and innovation in
education. The workshop provided the second phase of the enablers' collection. Attendees
were asked to think of the three major enablers for creativity and innovation in formal
education. Their opinions were then collected, clustered and discussed in a post-it session.
This chapter will give an overview of the actual systematisation of the merging of enablers
taken both from research and from the experts' session. Enablers are divided into eight major
areas, presented in alphabetical order: Assessment; Culture; Curriculum; Individual skills;
Teaching and learning format; Teachers; Technology; Tools.
These areas are wide and loosely defined, in order to allow a variety of conditions to fit under
the same domain of concern. All areas have several sub-categories they refer to, in order to
specify and detail the conditions for creative learning and innovative teaching. Each area is
presented through a table that summarises all sub-categories and links them to the main
5.1. Assessment
The generally conflicting interests of stakeholders come together on the issue of assessment.
This is because students want to perform well, parents want their children to achieve, teachers
may be judged on students' performances and governments may take final scores as evidence
of improvement or failure of educational systems. It has been noted that an assessment for
creative learning will help students enhance the quality of their learning.
Enablers Description and references
Assessing for creativity in
formal tests
If we support the teaching of creativity, we shall also assess it. Teaching and learning are
often shaped around what is required from examinations (Scoping workshop; Wyse, 2003;
NACCCE, 1999).
Assessing creativity in day-
to-day practices
This will entail adapting the concepts of creativity and innovation to age-group. Also, a
framework to assess creativity will bring it to a central stage for both students and learners
(Cropley & Cropley, 2007, 2008; Ellis & Barrs, 2008; Russ, 2003).
Valuing creativity Making learners understand that creativity is welcome. Reward curiosity and exploration
(Beghetto, 2005; Runco, 2003).
Formative assessment Focus on understanding, not on evaluating. Allow for a variety of assessment methods (self-
assessment, peer-assessment, portfolios). Assessment is not to judge the students but to help
them to understand better (Beghetto, 2005; Simplicio, 2000; Ellis & Barr, 2008).
Making assessment
Assessment does not need to be a stressful situation for the learner. It can also trigger
students' imagination and needs to express their creativity. Use of several media to assess
pupils – e-portfolios, video-making, projects, etc.; unusual assignments and tasks (Pleschová,
Minimise social comparison
Students do not have to compete against each-other, but each pupil will benefit from trying to
improve his/her previous performances. Need to establish a culture where what matters is the
learning and not the grade. This will allow a focus on enjoyment of learning and fosters
creative learning (Beghetto, 2005).
Appreciating creative
Overcome the "paradox of desirability". Welcome originality in students' performances,
contributions and ideas. Find a balance between originality and relevance (Beghetto, 2005,
2007b; Ng & Smith, 2004; Runco, 1999).
Table 3: enabler area 1 - Assessment
5.2. Culture
Creativity and innovation are certainly characterised by a culture of risk-taking rather than
one of mistake avoidance. Research shows that there should be a shared belief in creativity as
an asset for teachers and students and this belief has to be recognised by all educational
stakeholders. The main challenge lies in the values that characterise creativity and innovation
(risk-taking, exploration beyond the rules, non-conformity), which are in sharp contrast with
school values (standardisation, obedience, relevance and correctness). There is also a need to
engage in the creation of a democratic culture, where students' ideas, interests and opinions
are welcome. Initial teacher training and continual professional development have been
recognised as fundamental in promoting this kind of culture.
Enablers Description and references
Fostering Environment
An environment that recognises creativity in the individual. A tolerant environment, where
teachers are the key but students are at the centre of the stage. Fostering a culture that allows
students to be able to know when to be original and when to conform. A non-threatening
learning environment (Albert & Runco, 1999; Craft, 2005; Csikszentmihalyi, 1999; Esquivel,
1995; Florida, 2002; Runco, 2003; Wyse & Jones, 2003).
Engagement Giving a good reason to engage in tasks. Recognise students' interest. Culture that rewards
hard work but allows fun (Beghetto, 2005).
Creativity as an asset Culture that recognises and welcomes creativity as a source of deep knowledge and as a
thinking skill. Valuation of creativity from all stakeholders. Awareness of what creative
learning and innovative teaching mean and entail (Craft, 2005; Runco, 2003).
Risk-taking culture A culture that welcomes risk-taking, that gives the possibility to try before getting it right. A
culture that does not seek for avoiding mistakes (Beghetto, 2005; Davies, 1999; Fisher, 2003).
A democratic culture Learners have their say. Everyone takes part in the learning process. Co-construction of
knowledge and negotiation of meaning. Ownership of learning from learners (Craft et al.,
2001; Robinson, 2001).
Open-mindness From teachers and students alike. Open communication at all levels (including building of
trust). Encourage divergence (to broaden the horizon). Understanding of relationship between
people, ideas, subject domains, cultures (Scoping workshop).
Table 4: enabler area 3 - culture
5.3. Curriculum
Changes in the curriculum are very often at the centre of a delicate debate. Our interest here is
on the recognition of a curriculum that is both effective and facilitates creative learning and
innovative teaching. It has been argued before (Chapter 3.4) that the key word for an
innovative curriculum is "re-balance".
Enablers Description and references
Balance different areas of
Give the same importance to core and foundation subjects. Address creative learning in all
subjects (and not just "the arts"). Teach skills as well as subjects. Allow for cross-curricular
work (Craft, 2005; NACCCE, 1999; Piaget, 1973; Williamson & Payton, 2009; Wyse &
Jones, 2003).
Avoid competing curricular
demand Emphasis on the need for creativity without making it an extra task in a busy schedule,
allowing time (Scoping workshop, Beghetto, 2005, 2007a).
Creativity along the
curriculum Creativity is not just for primary school. The frame and conceptualisation of creativity shall
be coherent from primary to secondary school curricula (Craft, 2005).
Balance between
prescription and freedom
A prescriptive curriculum hinders creativity. Overloading the curriculum with too much
information/knowledge leads to stressful and tight schedules and to a frontal format where the
teacher is at the centre of the stage instead of the learner (Craft, 2005; NACCCE, 1999).
Addressing students'
Motivation is a main trigger for creativity. Students learn best when they see the relevance of
what they are doing and when they are intrinsically interested in the activity or task. A good
curriculum that promotes creativity needs to consider, among other things, also students
interests (Scoping workshop, Runco, 2003; Williamson & Payton, 2009).
Table 5: enabler area 2 - curriculum
5.4. Individual skills
Trans-disciplinary research and the literature on creativity and innovation for education
emphasise the importance of individual skills. Students can develop certain attitudes, abilities
and knowledge in order to perform in creative ways. Teachers will also need to widen their
experience and expertise to become advocates and practitioners of creativity and innovation in
Enablers Description and references
Individual Skills
Intellectual abilities Students and teachers: develop synthetic, analytic and practical-contextual abilities
(Sternberg & Lubart, 1999).
Knowledge There is a minimum threshold of knowledge needed to be creative in any field. Moreover,
learners and teachers will have to know how to think, how to make connections, how to seek
for problems and how to solve them (Boden, 2001; Sternberg & Lubart, 1999).
Experience Being an expert or having some expertise in a given field is a requirement for being creative
(Scoping workshop; Amabile, 1998).
Cognitive abilities Divergent thinking, tendency to practice with alternative solutions, sensitivity to problems,
evaluative ability (Russ, 1996; Sternberg & Lubart, 1999).
Certain personality traits shall be welcomed and fostered in class: tolerance of ambiguity,
openness to experience, independence of judgement, unconventional values, curiosity,
preference for challenges and complexity, self-confidence, risk-taking (Russ, 1996; Sternberg
& Lubart, 1999).
Motivation Intrinsic interest in the topic (from students and teachers). Work slightly ahead of learners'
current functioning (Amabile, 1998; Runco, 2003; Sternberg & Lubart, 1999).
Hard Work Creativity is not just fun but requires hard work (Runco 2007).
Table 6: enabler area 4 - individual skills
5.5. Teaching and learning format
A change in content and perspective also demands a change in pedagogy. Current educational
systems need to adopt new methods that are suitable for present and future learners. In line
with this, fostering creativity also requires an active mode of learning, and consequently a
new teaching format, where the teacher is a coach and supporter and learners are empowered
to take ownership of their own learning process.
Enablers Description and references
Teaching / Learning Format
Teaching for creativity Teachers to tell the students that they value creativity. Making creativity explicit by
supporting teachers to teach it (Runco 1990; Ellis & Barr, 2008).
Co-production of
A democratic classroom, where everyone has a say. Learners have an active role in the
production and negotiation of meaning. Their ideas are welcome. Ownership of learning. Co-
operative work (Scoping workshop; Craft, 2005; Jeffrey, 2005; Runco, 2003).
Positive involvement Fostering passionate involvement in tasks, affective fantasy in play, tolerance of anxiety
(Russ, 1996).
Adapting format to the
changing needs of students
Today's learners learn in a different way. They are surrounded by technologies. They
understand differently. There is a need to change the format at greater pace than in the past
(Pedró, 2006; Redecker, 2008; Simplicio, 2000).
Adapting creativity to age
Being creative means different things at different stages/ages. When planning for innovative
teaching, there is a need to tailor content and method to students' interest, current level of
functioning and current or proximal abilities (Runco, 2003; Russ, 2003).
Focus on creative processes
rather than products
Creativity can be understood both as a product and a process. Focusing on the process allows
for the development of thinking skills and for cultivating the right climate for creative
learning and innovative teaching (Malaguzzi, 1993; Runco, 2003; Sharp, 2004).
Intrinsic motivation Intrinsic motivation, i.e. the pleasure of being involved in a given task, is a booster of
creativity. It also enhances effective learning (Amabile, 1989; Runco, 2007).
High-expectation of
creative potential
Have high expectation from students, for both their learning and their creative potential. This
will help students' self-esteem and trigger their motivation. Belief that everyone has the
potential to be or become creative (Craft, 2005; Robinson, 2001; Wyse & Jones, 2003).
Learners as thinkers Learners are treated as thinkers. Provocative methods to stimulate responses and interest.
Learners think about the matter in between classes (Taylor, 1988).
Pupil-centeredness Need of a learner-centred pedagogy, personalisation and individualisation of learning,
allowing pupils to have a say in the fashioning of tasks (Scoping workshop; Craft, 2005;
Williamson, 2009).
Table 7: enabler area 5 - teaching/learning format
5.6. Teachers
Teachers play a very important role in the kindling or stifling of creativity and innovation in
education. They need to be made aware of the opportunities offered by creative learning and
innovative teaching. Most of all, they need support.
Enabler Description and references
Training on creativity Training is fundamental to acquire new skills, techniques and method to be innovative and
creative, support professional development (Esquivel, 1995; Ellis & Barr, 2008).
Understanding of what
creativity is
Need to tackle myths, implicit theories and common assumptions on creativity. Need to
understand what creativity is and how to look for and foster it (Beghetto, 2007a; Runco, 1999;
Sharp, 2004).
Valuing creativity in
Teachers need to welcome creativity, acknowledging the balance between originality and
value. They need to make it clear for students that creativity is well received (Beghetto,
2007b; Craft, 2005; Runco, 1999, 2007).
Be creative Teachers need to be creative, to implement creativity in their practice if they want to teach in
an innovative and creative way (Craft, 2005).
Support from technical
personnel Teachers require technical support, extra time and supporting material to integrate
technologies in their teaching (Bottino, 2003; Baek, 2008).
Time Time away from curriculum, to innovate, assimilate, try and explore (Scoping workshop).
Table 8: enabler area 6 – teachers
5.7. Technology
Technologies offer great opportunities for change. They can act as a platform for innovative
teaching and creative learning in many ways, as they entail new ways of fashioning
knowledge creation and meaning making.
Enablers Description and references
Sharing of resources, social
networking & collaboration
New opportunities offered by new technologies. Allow users to express their creativity, make
it available to a large audience and get feedback and recognition. Networking and
collaboration between teachers across different countries. Cooperation among schools to share
'next practice' and spread applied knowledge (Hargreaves, 2003).
Positive attitude and
Appropriation of technology can foster creativity and innovation only when users develop a
positive attitude in adapting new technologies. This is applicable for both teachers and
students (Hinkley, 2001).
Users as innovators
Participatory culture
Harnessing the emerging and increasing role of the user in the innovation-development
process. Appropriation of technology can range from simple reproduction to sophisticated
creation. Learning new ways of doing things (Loveless, 2008; Turvey, 2006; Lindmark,
forthcoming 2009; Borgnakke, 2006).
Learning how to learn This facilitates creative learning, as it enables users to use technology to learn in new, creative
ways (Rogers, 1983).
Technology Skills /
Technology skills as a prerequisite for both creative learning and innovative teaching for
students and teachers. Teacher training (Ala-Mutka, 2008; Herold, 2009; Rowlands, 2008;
Shaffer, 2006).
Games which are
appropriate for education
Games have shown positive impact on motivation, self-confidence, different learning rhythms
of students and in the way students deal with mistakes (Wastiau et al., 2009).
Table 9: enabler area 7 – technology
5.8. Tools
Finally, other tools play a part in boosting innovative teaching and creative learning. These
include physical spaces and resources.
Enablers Description and references
Resources Manipulatives, realia, innovative textbooks, interactive resources (Simplicio, 2000).
Space (for creativity – open spaces, building of the classroom); a total environment where
tools, spaces and mindsets are stimulating creativity and thinking. The smarter the
environment, the smarter the people. The creation of different spaces where students can
engage with technology (Taylor, 1988; Gardner, 1999; West-Burnham, 2000; Burke, 2007).
Networking The possibility to share good practice, virtually or face-to-face (Hargreaves, 2003).
Table 10: enabler area 8 - tools
5.9. Major points
In order to foster creative learning and innovative teaching, a series of conditions must be in
place. These conditions were deduced using a two-fold method: a categorisation of enablers
extracted from the literature review and a group activity during a scoping workshop with
experts. The enablers were then clustered into eight areas, namely: Assessment; Culture;
Curriculum; Individual skills; Teaching and learning format; Teachers; Technology; Tools.
This report has provided an overview of how creativity and innovation are conceptualised in
the context of education and the emergence of a knowledge society. The existing research on
creativity and innovation is broad, complex and addresses multi-faceted concepts. For this
study, creativity and innovation are understood as interrelated concepts; the first refers to a
product or process which shows a balance of originality and value, and the second to the
implementation of such a process or product in a given sphere.
The notion of creativity has been researched in various fields and approached in several ways.
This report shows that creativity can be linked to different factors, residing both in the
individual (cognitive abilities, thinking skills, personality traits, knowledge), and in the
surrounding sphere (culture, environment, field and domain). Creativity can be linked to
cognitive and thinking processes as much as to emotional states, such as intrinsic motivation
and affective learning processes. To sum up, all the theories studied indicate that creativity is
context dependent, and arises in the interplay of a number of factors and requisites which can
be supported and/or suppressed.
This report has argued that creativity and innovation are strongly interrelated but it has also
proposed a differentiated approach for the field of education in which creativity is more
strongly linked to learning, and innovation to teaching, hence the notions of creative learning
and innovative teaching. Research indicates that, for a multitude of reasons, creativity is
currently not at the centre of education practices. This suggests that there is a need for a
change in pedagogy towards a more permissive environment which cherishes students’ ideas,
encourages risk-taking and mistakes, and allows learners to assume ownership of their
learning. The traditional configuration of school space, time and structure also needs a shift
and re-organisation for creativity to blossom.
Creativity and innovation in education are not just an opportunity, but a necessity. This work
highlights an inclusive and democratic perspective of creativity, which sees all people as
capable of being creative from early childhood. However, whether people develop their
creativity depends on the kind of training they receive. Accordingly, creativity should be
understood as a skill which may be developed through creative learning and innovative
teaching. The fostering of such skill depends substantially on the development of curricula,
where a balance among the different subject areas, between prescription and freedom and in
agendas should be a priority. Assessment in schools also needs to be addressed as current
methods often do not take into account creativity and may even stifle it.
The rapid development and take up of technology, especially by young people, has a
significant impact on education, challenging educators and institutions to address the changed
learning patterns and needs of their students. The emergence of social computing applications,
in particular, allows for personalisation of learning paths, making learning opportunities
tailored to the individual’s needs a reality. New digital formats employing a variety of media
tools open up new sources and resources for creative expression. Collaboration and
networking services offer further opportunities to develop creative ideas in cooperation with
others. Both creativity and ICT require the re-definition of the role of the teachers as enablers,
motivators, mentors and coaches of learning processes that are essentially owned and
controlled by the learners themselves.
The fostering of creativity and innovation cannot rely on the intention of educators and pupils,
as there are several conditions to be met to promote a creative and innovative learning
environment. Therefore, a set of 'enablers' is proposed as a framework for understanding the
conditions or the support mechanisms that allow creative learning and innovative teaching to
emerge, and thus facilitate creativity and innovation. These are: assessment; culture;
curriculum; individual skills; teaching and learning format; teachers; technology; and tools.
In conclusion, this report provides a theoretical grounding and a working definition for
creativity and innovation. It also explores the role and function of creativity and innovation in
the educational domain and the factors which are likely to enable or inhibit creative learning
and innovative teaching. Finally, it analyses the role and potential of ICT and in particular,
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European Commission
JRC 52374 – Joint Research Centre – Institute for Prospective Technological Studies
Title: Innovation and Creativity in Education and Training in the EU Member States:
Fostering Creative Learning and Supporting Innovative Teaching
Literature review on Innovation and Creativity in E&T in the EU Member States (ICEAC)
Authors: Anusca Ferrari, Romina Cachia and Yves Punie
Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities
Technical Note
This report provides a brief overview of the theoretical foundations for creativity and innovation in the context of
education, as a background for the other planned reports. It attempts to define creativity and innovation in the
educational context and provide an overview of research on creativity and innovation, especially for creative
learning and innovative teaching. This work aims to capture the fruitful interdisciplinary debate on the role of
Creativity and Innovation in the knowledge society and different schools of thought contributing to this debate.
The mission of the Joint Research Centre is to provide customer-driven scientific
and technical support for the conception, development, implementation and
monitoring of European Union policies. As a service of the European Commission,
the Joint Research Centre functions as a reference centre of science and technology
for the Union. Close to the policy-making process, it serves the common interest of
the Member States, while being independent of special interests, whether private or
... However, today's technologically based world is redefining the parameters of knowledge every day (Simplicio, 2000). New technologies such as video-games, mobile phones, and other digital media that surrounds the learners brings a new understanding of communication, information retrieval and meaning-making (Ferrari et al., 2009) and it is posing as a great challenge for teachers. Pedro (2006 as cited in Ferrari et al., 2009), claims that the gap between the school and home digital environment is affecting the learners' expectations. ...
... New technologies such as video-games, mobile phones, and other digital media that surrounds the learners brings a new understanding of communication, information retrieval and meaning-making (Ferrari et al., 2009) and it is posing as a great challenge for teachers. Pedro (2006 as cited in Ferrari et al., 2009), claims that the gap between the school and home digital environment is affecting the learners' expectations. Thus, there is a need for educators to develop new ideas and pedagogies to meet 21st century learners' expectations (Kwek, 2011). ...
... Same with creativity, several studies have been conducted on innovation. Some of these studies include those performed by OECD (2016) and Ferrari et al. (2009) which discuss the role of innovation in facing the challenges in today's education. Innovation is seen not just as an opportunity but a necessity to prepare students to cope successfully in the rapidly changing world. ...
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This study analyzed the influence of various incentive mechanisms on teachers' creativity and innovativeness. One hundred twenty-eight (128) teachers from Partido Area participated the study. Researcher-made perception survey, which was validated and reviewed by experts, was the main tool used to gather the needed data. Weighted mean, percentage, t-test, chi-square test, and Fishers' exact test were used as statistical tools to give meaning on the values obtained. The result showed that teachers are generally creative but are less innovative. Among the incentive mechanisms given to teachers, professional development support and plus factor given in Individual Performance Rating have significant relationship to teachers' creativity. On the other hand, non-economic incentives such as awards and gifts are the incentive mechanisms that have a significant relationship to teachers' innovativeness. The study also revealed that there is no significant relationship between teachers' profiles and creativity; however, the same cannot be said with innovation. It is therefore recommended that economic and non-economic incentive mechanisms that enhance the intrinsic motivation of teachers should be designed and implemented.
... Creativity and innovation in education are not only regarded as an opportunity, but also a necessity. These are considered an unalienable part of the purpose of the present and future educational system (Ferrari, Cachia & Punie, 2009). ...
... Teaching to develop creativity is a process of equipping learners with knowledge about the creative process and giving opportunities for them to express their creativity (NACCCE, 1999). In this context, researchers believe that encouraging learners to believe in their own creativity is important in teaching for creativity (Moran, 2010;Ferrari, Cachia & Punie, 2009). Teaching for the development of creativity is inseparable from the assessment of (Tran, Ho & Hurle, 2016). ...
... Assessment is considered one of the most important factors to develop students' creativity (Tran, Ho & Hurle, 2016;Ferrari, Cachia & Punie, 2009). The fact of teaching at universities shows that assessment of lecturers inhibits the development of students' creativity due to many different factors. ...
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We are very happy to publish this issue of the International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research. The International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research is a peer-reviewed open-access journal committed to publishing high-quality articles in the field of education. Submissions may include full-length articles, case studies and innovative solutions to problems faced by students, educators and directors of educational organisations. To learn more about this journal, please visit the website We are grateful to the editor-in-chief, members of the Editorial Board and the reviewers for accepting only high quality articles in this issue. We seize this opportunity to thank them for their great collaboration. The Editorial Board is composed of renowned people from across the world. Each paper is reviewed by at least two blind reviewers. We will endeavour to ensure the reputation and quality of this journal with this issue.
... Innovation education is a type of modern education pattern through which learners become independent, creative, and professional (Anusca Ferrari, 2009). Johnson (2019) found that teaching students using innovative and creative methods helps to develop their capabilities and makes them more creative in using their knowledge and skills. ...
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Learning English is critical because English is an international language, and it plays a significant role in everyone's life. English serves as a gateway to the world. Education is a tool that allows students to both acquire knowledge and develop their creative thinking skills. The purpose of this study is to investigate the benefits of TRIZ implementation as an innovative method for foreign language teaching and learning, in English lessons to improve students' writing and reading skills. An experimental group and a control group were compared within the framework of a quasi-experimental research design. In the experimental group, English lessons, reshaped within the framework of TRIZ, an innovative teaching method, were held for two months. In the control group, any teaching activities shaped within the framework of the TRIZ method were not carried out. A pre-test and a post-test were used to analyze the effectiveness of the TRIZ method on students' writing and reading skills and to compare the experimental and control groups. In addition, observations (students' interactions with the teacher and their views on the teaching method used) were made to evaluate the participants in both classes and to compare their similarities and differences. In summary, within the framework of this research, it was concluded that the application of the TRIZ method in English lessons improves students' reading and writing skills and can help bring an innovative perspective to English Language Teaching.
... Contemporarily, the wide spread use of technology has been a key development that will continue to advance toward more sophisticated forms in the years to come (Ferrari et al., 2009). This trend of technological development is bound to dramatically change industries such as the hospitality industry. ...
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Information technology (IT) and digital marketing are perceived as the driving forces for promoting the development of the hospitality industry in a competitive market. However, there is a global shortage of workers to fill related positions, which hinders the sustainable growth of this industry. Thus, a qualitative thematic approach was adopted in this study to analyze textual data from experts to explore the reasons behind this shortage. Through careful design and analysis, three parties were identified as key generators, including education, industry, and staff/students. Meanwhile, the specific causes made by each party were presented to provide a detailed analysis of the issue. The findings are aimed to help solve the education and human resource issues in the hospitality industry. Nevertheless, the findings could have been more detailed if a follow-up interview was conducted after the thematic analysis.
... Innovation and creativity in the classroom should not be seen as a chance, but also indispensable. The educational system as it is now or tomorrow sees creativity as an inseparable part (Ferrari et al., 2009). ...
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The purpose of this article was to analyze chemistry teachers’ interest, literacy, self-efficacy, teamwork, and creativity in the use of simulation teaching of concepts in chemistry to enhance students’ creativity skills. A descriptive and exploratory quantitative design was used in the study. The study used 150 serving chemistry teachers from the Calabar education zone public education system. A 29-item questionnaire was employed to gather data from respondents. Independent t-test, regression, and a 2-way analysis of variance were used for data analysis. Results obtained indicated high levels of teachers’ interest, literacy, self-efficacy, and teamwork in the utilization of simulation strategy in teaching chemistry concepts. Results of a 2-way analysis indicated that teachers’ age and years of experience influence teachers’ self-efficacy, teamwork, and creativity. It was recommended among others that serving teachers’ interest in the use of simulation is encouraged to support their learners’ instructional activities in a simulated classroom.
... Similarly, Looney (2009) identifies at least four trends behind the drive for innovation in education: 'social and economic pressures to raise achievement levels and to ensure greater equity of outcomes for all students; changes in work, social and family life; rapidly advancing technologies; and the need to motivate and engage students' (p. 6). In this regard, innovation is seen not only as an opportunity, but as a necessity (Ferrari et al., 2009). Interestingly, innovation has become equalled to -and has even replaced -terms such as 'improvement', 'reform' or 'change', which where prevalent until the early 2000s (Morley and Rassool, 1999;Reynolds and teddlie, 2002). ...
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Narratives on innovation in education are spreading fast and both national and local educational administrations have been recently promoting innovation policies and programmes in many different European contexts. Academic literature analysing the potential benefits of innovation in education has expanded accordingly, with some international organizations increasingly commissioning research aiming to study the impacts of educational innovation, especially on learning outcomes. Interestingly, less attention has been given to analysing how these policies and programmes are translated into different practices at the school level. Drawing on a policy enactment framework, this paper aims to analyse the ways in which schools interpret top-down policy text and prescription on innovation and enact innovation in education. To do so, we focus on the case of Xarxes per al Canvi (XC), an educational innovation programme launched by the educational administration of the city of Barcelona in 2017 that aims to create school networks in order to stimulate knowledge sharing and innovation. Findings show how schools make sense of the innovation policy diversely. Policy enactment outcomes appear to be context-sensitive, with schools enacting its precepts in different ways, especially to serve their needs in increasingly competitive local education markets.