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How does one teach creativity?

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Summary: Early attempts to teach creativity in earnest began in the 1960s. In the U.S., Paul Torrance developed creativity assessments and curricula that continue to be widely used. However, these methods remain grounded in the personality psychology of the day. It is time for a new approach to teaching creativity, one that is grounded in the cognitive sciences and the learning sciences of recent decades. In my current research, I am attempting to bring together the latest learning sciences research with the best contemporary understandings of creative thinking, to work through the implications of how schools could better teach creativity.

Bionotes: Dr. Keith Sawyer, a professor of psychology, education, and business at Washington University in St. Louis, is one of the world’s leading scientific experts on creativity and learning. His 2007 book GROUP GENIUS (Basic Books), written for a broad audience, draws on his research on jazz and improve theatre to show the reader how to be more creative in collaborative group settings and how to change organizations for the better. GROUP GENIUS is his tenth book; his other books on this topic include EXPLAINING CREATIVITY (Oxford, 2006), an academic overview of creativity research, and IMPROVISED DIALOGUES (Greenwood, 2003), which presents a series of interaction analyses of Chicago improvisational theatre performances. Sawyer is also the editor of THE CAMBRIDGE HANDBOOK OF THE LEARNING SCIENCES (Cambridge, 2006), an influential overview of the field of the learning sciences.

Related publications: Sawyer, R. K. (2004). Creative teaching: Collaborative discussion as disciplined improvisation. Educational Researcher, 33(2), 12-20. Sawyer, R. K. (2006). Educating for innovation. The International Journal of Thinking Skills and Creativity, 1(1), 41-48. Sawyer, R. K. (Ed.). (2006). Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences. New York: Cambridge University Press. Sawyer, R. K. (2007). Group genius: The creative power of collaboration. New York: Basic Books.

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