A Call to Action: The Challenges of Creative Teaching and Learning
by Keith Sawyer — 2015
Background/Context: In spite of the widely acknowledged importance of creativity to society and the economy, scholars have had difficulty providing research-based recommendations for how to foster creativity in schools. The article extends three strands of research that have attempted to provide such recommendations: studies of whether creativity training enhances domain-general creativity; studies of whether arts education and arts integration enhance cognitive skills that transfer to other content areas; and studies of collaborative learning environments, designed to foster deeper conceptual understanding in the content areas.
Purpose/Objective: The focus of the article is to provide recommendations for how to design learning environments to foster greater creativity. I bring together arts education research, creativity research, and learning sciences research to provide recommendations for how to design learning environments to foster creative learning outcomes.
Research Design: This is primarily a review article. It provides meta-analyses of three strands of research—creativity training, arts education, and learning sciences. The conclusion of this review is that domain-general creativity training is less effective than domain-specific changes in how each subject is taught.
Conclusions: We are not likely to enhance student creativity by teaching for creativity in a distinct, domain general way. Instead, educating for creativity is most effective when schools change the way each subject is taught. Learning sciences research has provided strong evidence that the most creative learning, in all subjects, results from pedagogical strategies that are active, constructivist, collaborative, and improvisational. I provide research-based recommendations for how to design learning environments that result in creative learning outcomes.
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