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The Efficacy of Teaching Creativity Assessment of Student Creative Thinking Before and After Exercises Elena Karpova Sara Marcketti Jessica Barker Iowa State University
Background To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all • Importance of creativity: • successful adaptation to the demands of daily life • competitive advantage • ultimate source of all intellectual property • US prosperity and security • Critical skill in the ever-changing world of fashion
Purpose To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all • To help students increase their ability to think creatively • to develop and implement creativity exercises • to measure effectiveness of the exercises by assessing student creative thinking before and after the training
Creativity Exercises • Assumptions: • all people are creative • because creativity is a natural human trait, it can be cultivated and developed • Aimed at creating exercises that were: • general and could be easily incorporated in various courses; • appropriate for students enrolled in different majors (‘creative’ vs. ‘non-creative’) • could be administered by instructors who did not have any special training in creativity.
Creativity Exercises • Four creativity modules: • What is creativity • Opportunity recognition • Generation of ideas (techniques for problem solving and exploration of mental blocks that hinder the creative process) • Evaluation of ideas • Each module contained from 5-7 distinct exercises drawn from various sources • 5 to 20 minutes per exercise
Exercise Example: Bug Report Main idea: everyday life problems represent opportunities and great ideas often come out of frustration when something does not work as it should, or something does not exist yet but should. Students are asked to note everything that irritates them (‘bugs them’) and create a bug list in the context of apparel, identify bugs when people design, make, sell, select, buy, wear, store, care for, and dispose garments and accessories Develop a creative solution to one of these problems
Research Hypothesis • To evaluate effectiveness of the developed creativity exercises, we tested the hypothesis: • H: Students will demonstrate higher creative thinking abilities after completing the creativity exercises than before the training.
Procedure • Exercises implemented in four classes taught by 3 instructors: • a learning community orientation course • 2 sections of an introductory patternmaking course • advanced patternmaking course • Twelve exercises over the course of 9-12 weeks • one to two exercises a week • no extra credit for participating in the creativity exercises • anonymous student feedback was collected at the midpoint and after completion of the training
Creativity Assessment • Torrance Test of Creative Thinking • widely used creativity test in education & industry • reliable & valid measure of creative thinking • appropriate for different ages • Figural format • Published by Scholastic Testing Services
Torrance Test of Creative Thinking • Figural test assesses quantity and quality of creative ideas produced by a test-taker over a thirty-minute period • three ten-minute drawing activities • Picture Construction • Picture Completion • Lines/Circles • titles for the drawings • Form A was administered before the training and Form B after the training
Discussion • Some participants did not improve creative thinking abilities after the training • Contextual characteristics • time when the exercises and assessments are administered • motivational predisposition appear to influence outcomes of creativity training and assessment Further research is needed to understand how contextual and personal characteristics influence creativity and efficacy of training
Conclusions • The study demonstrates effectiveness of creativity training overall and specifically of the exercises developed by the authors • The creativity exercises incorporated in an introductory level course required for all students enrolled in the department • In spring 2009 will be introduced to veterinary medicine students • Implications for instructors who want to nurture students creative skills
Students’ comments “I realized that being creative has some to do with how you think and wanting to be creative.” “I learned that being creative can be challenging. I also learned that it takes time and practice.” “The creativity exercises got me to challenge myself. I had to think outside the box, and not just for 1 idea but to have more than 1 idea.”
Acknowledgements The study was partially funded by the Pappajohn/Kauffman Foundation Tanya Austin’s help in developing and implementing exercises is greatly appreciated The authors are very thankful to the students who participated in the study