What is creative thinking?  A new 10-point framework describes and identifies it

iStock_000003541361SmallDuring the pressure-filled school day, creative thinking receives less attention than other aspects of thinking such as analytical thinking

A recent study in the British Educational Research Journal describes a new framework for identifying and supporting creativity in students.  The framework can be used as a research tool and an observation tool but also as a schema for professional development and to explore what it means to be creative.  Developed through observations of young children at play and interviews with children about their creative play, the framework helps teachers infer creative thinking from child behavior.

The 10-point framework, Analysing Children’s Creative Thinking (ACCT),  is organized into 3 major categories:

  • Exploration
  • Involvement and Enjoyment
  • Persistence

“As a tool for professional development, the framework provides opportunities for reflection on adult roles, including interactions with children,” the author writes.  “For example, our analysis to date shows more evidence of children using prior knowledge and less evidence of using new knowledge, speculation or analysis in activities initiated or led by adults in comparison to those where they were absent.”

Each of the three categories has 3 or 4 facets of creative behavior with operational definitions. For example, the “Involvement and Enjoyment” category includes the following observable behaviors:  trying out ideas, analyzing ideas, speculating and involving others.

Behaviors in the other categories include engaging in a new activity, risk-taking,  exploring, persisting, completing challenges and knowing what you want to do.

The author writes that creativity is often seen as the preserve of arts-based activities such as dance, music, drama and art or as being a special talent enjoyed by a few.   This attitude, while hard to shift, is harmful to children’s creative development. Creativity should be viewed as a “universal capability” that can be accessed by all, writes author Sue Robson.

 “The Analysing Children’s Creative Thinking framework: development of an observation-led approach to identifying and analyzing young children’s creative thinking,” by Sue Robson,  British Educational Research Journal, February 2014, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp. 121-134.

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