Creativity and Learning

One of the claims educators make is that we nurture creativity. But, do we truly nurture genuine creativity? The odds are against that, because people have a bias against radical creativity, according to researchers. When we endorse "creativity," it is more likely that we are encouraging students to express themselves in ways and with views we already support.
[Creativity] suffers from an odd sort of paradox. According to psychologist and Wharton management professor Jennifer Mueller, research shows that even as people explicitly aspire to creativity and strongly endorse it as a fundamental driving force of positive change, they routinely reject creative ideas and show an implicit bias against them under conditions of uncertainty. Subjects in Mueller's study also exhibited a failure to see or acknowledge creativity, even when directly presented with it.
I've explored this same issues with "critical thinking" and "creative problem solving." Too often, what educators mean is that students begin to reach conclusions associated with being educated — not necessarily new solutions or critical analyses. We think our solutions are creative and reflect critical thinking. All people believe their conclusions are special. It is natural to have a self-reinforcing bias.

It is depressing, however, that we cannot see creativity when confronted with it.


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