How do we grade creativity? How do we measure the imagination?
He follows up with the idea that We can "attempt to evaluate [creativity], but we can't. Imagination is immeasurable, and we are fools for trying to quantify it."
In the recent push to incorporate creativity in the curriculum, we do run into trouble if we try to "grade" creativity if we define it as a product or an "end" or as a quality of being. In that sense, he's absolutely right!
My guess is that some educators may think that by adding an artsy sort of something to a unit, then, they have successfully integrated a creative component in the curriculum. I'm not saying everyone is doing that, but unless everyone understands that creativity is not a what or a thing or a project or a product, then we do run that risk.
Thus, I disagree with his points, only because the working definition is flawed.
Creativity is a process. It is the "how". It is the decision-making process we undergo, from start to finish. It is not the "thing" itself.
With that in mind, can we authentically grade a process? Yes. If we get past the idea of evaluation as the means by which we grade this process or perhaps more specifically: this way of doing something.
Rather, if the process of the class is one of considering aloud, postulating openly, pondering, making mistakes without fear, making decisions based on mistakes, trying something out, giving it a go, attempting, and seeking, followed by another series of attempts and decisions, then as an educator, you CAN see that happening or not happening in your class. Of far greater value is the student's ability to "see" how to work through mistakes, changes, decisions, than the arbitrary evaluation of how "good" his or her final artifact is..
We CAN grade students' decision-making process. We CAN have them walk us through that process for the grade. Perhaps that's the crucial point: we need to see them moving through the process, and if we see them moving through it, they should be rewarded points.
Teacher! I made a mistake!
Awesome, Juanita! How do you want to handle that?
You offered up a solid idea, Mark! By thinking out loud, you help all of us learn!
I saw how you worked through that problem in at least four different ways, Xeng. Way to go!
When a student walks into a creative classroom, he or she should feel immediately ready to play with ideas and thoughts and things without fear. Only then, can we honestly say that we've integrated creativity into our curriculum.
But, don't take my word for it! I base my definition of creativity on an individual who far exceeds my abilities! Here is his video, in which he provides not only a definition for creativity but also some solid strategies for educators to think about. It's well worth your time!
Mindy Keller-Kyriakides is the author of Transparent Teaching of Adolescents: Defining the Ideal Class for Students and Teachers. Become part of the conversation!