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Creativity, creative thinking

Traditionally creativity has been seen as an ability to respond adaptively to the needs for new approaches and new products. It is often defined as the ability to bring something new into existence purposefully. The concept of creativity has expanded and changed in recent years. A new emphasis on ‘everyday’ and ‘social’ creativity is shifting the focus from individual genius in some fields (e.g. fine arts, advanced science) to collaborative creativity in everyday life, with new implications for learning and education. In order to produce a stable aptitude in learners to think and behave creatively, it is generally recommended to: (a) develop an integrated structure of various mental mechanisms, each playing a role in a particular kind of situation or in a particular phase of the creative process; (b) use materials that mimic real-life situations or, at least, help trainees to recognize the relationship between the training tasks and such situations; (c) consider individuals’ spontaneous beliefs and tendencies toward creative thinking and start the teaching and learning process from their naïve creative competencies, with the hope of changing spontaneous beliefs, tendencies, and strategies by means of an internal restructuring process; (d) show a metacognitive sensibility, that is, train learners not only to execute creative strategies, but also to control their execution; and (e) encourage learners to accept the risks and discomforts that creativity involves, to avoid the tendency to stick to familiar responses and to induce learners to look for novelty. (Adapted from: Seel 2012). Creativity is frequently included among key competences/competencies and 21st century skills.

See also ‘Bloom’s taxonomy’.

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