We know that creative thinking is a critical skill for the twenty first century. We know that we are living in times of uncertainty and change and we know that creativity and innovation are necessary for our future. What is less widely known or perhaps recognized is that creativity is a skill that can be developed.

“Creativity is a skill that can be developed.”

This isn’t a topic that is talked about much – if at all when it comes to teaching and learning in education or within parenting circles. The reason creativity skills aren’t discussed very much is that perhaps many people don’t realize that creative thinking is a skill that can be developed.  Many experts in the creativity field agree. In the book Creative Confidence, David and Tom Kelley (2013) of IDEO state “To be more creative, the first step is to decide you want to make it happen.” Extensive research conducted by Robert Sternberg, a creativity scholar of over thirty years reveals that “all creative people he has studied had one thing in common: at some point, they decided to be creative.”

Creativity scholar E. Paul Torrance, in his article Teaching for Creativity, Part 1: Can We Teach Children to Think Creativey? states:

“I know that it is possible to teach children to think creatively and that it can be done in a variety of ways. I have done it. I have seen my wife do it; I have seen other excellent teachers do it. I have seen children who had seemed previously to be “non-thinkers” learn to think creatively, and I have seen them continuing for years thereafter to think creatively. I have seen, heard, and otherwise experienced their creativity. Their parents have told me that they saw it happening. Many of the children, now adults, say that it happened. I also know that these things would not have happened by chance because I have seen them “not happening” to multitudes of their peers.”

What are the essential skills for developing creativity?

Torrance identified 18 Thinking Skills that can be deliberately taught and learned to teach creative thinking.

  • The Problem
  • Produce and Consider Many Alternatives
  • Be Flexible
  • Be Original
  • Highlight the Essence
  • Elaborate- But Not Excessively
  • Keep Open
  • Be Aware of Emotions
  • Put Your Ideas in Context
  • Combine and Synthesize
  • Visualize It – Richly and Colourfully
  • Enjoy and Use Fantasy
  • Make It Swing! Make It Ring!
  • Look at It Another Way
  • Visualize the Inside
  • Breakthrough – Expand the Boundaries
  • Let Humour Flow and Use It
  • Get Glimpses of the Future

The following blog posts highlight creativity skills through storybooks and through activities for children!



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