Can creativity be taught? An empirical study

Year: 1996

Author: Schofield, Neville J

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Human society has always been dependent on the creative spark within a few individuals to maintain artistic and technological development. By its very nature, it would seem that creativity is a spontaneous occurrence that is outside the normal bounds of teaching. However, much of what we know as education also depends on fostering student creativity, suggesting that it is, in some sense, educable. One area of society in which creativity is constantly sought and found is that of technology. And yet, the paradox of technology education is that technology educators, who should be at the forefront of innovation, are themselves extremely resistant to change. This paper considers the issue of teaching creativity from two perspectives; firstly it presents a study that sought to change technology educators to be more receptive to innovation; then it considers three separate studies which sought to enhance the creative product of technology students. Only one of these four studies produced positive results, from which it was concluded that the direct teaching of skills likely to enhance design creativity is only possible in very specific circumstance but that, when those circumstances are met, it is possible across a broad spectrum of ability groups.