The importance of creativity: teaching for transformation in higher education

Year: 2011

Author: Allen, Belinda

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Creativity has emerged over the last decade as an important dimension of 21st Century professional practice (Florida, 2002), as a significant gap in the focus of school education (Robinson, 2000), and has been increasingly promoted as a graduate attribute in higher education (McWilliam & Dawson, 2008). The kinds of capabilities and behaviours that characterise creativity relate to other widely promoted graduate attributes such as independent learning, innovative problem-solving, interdisciplinarity and global citizenship. As creativity is increasingly understood as multi-faceted and contextualised, it may be usefully characterised as a 'threshold' concept or disposition (Meyer & Land, 2003). Examination of teaching creativity in 'creative' disciplines shows that creativity as an outcome is rarely explicit in curriculum documents, and that the teaching and assessment of creativity often relies upon the teacher's ability to model and guide creative practice through classroom interaction (Jackson & Shaw, 2006; Dineen, 2006). So how can the characteristics of a 'creative curriculum' be made explicit, and how can teachers in 'non-creative' disciplines conceptualise and actualise the teaching of creativity?