Can Creativity Be Taught and Measured?

There must be very few people in education who have not yet seen Ken Robinson‘s provocatively entitled presentation ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?‘. Loved and loathed in almost equal measure, the fact that it has been viewed over 5 mistakes.jpgmillion times on YouTube would suggest that at least he is hitting upon something that reaches to the heart of our education systems, the debate about whether creativity is something which can be taught, or whether it is part of our DNA and can therefore only be nurtured or stifled. Is education indeed ‘a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul’, in the words of Muriel Spark‘s most famous fictional character Miss Jean Brodie, or does creativity still justify its place at the top of Bloom‘s revised, but increasingly less revered, hierarchy of skills, to be taught as well as learned? The issue was brought into focus for me again recently with the publication of Education Scotland‘s new ‘creativity measuring tool’, the ‘Brewstometer‘, which apparently “introduces the principles of creativity and helps learners reflect upon and evaluate any creative experience they have had recently. This could include a lesson, a workshop, a performance, a gallery visit or project. You can use the Brewstometer in any way that suits the needs of your learning environment, whether as a whole class, in small groups or one to one.” The Brewstometer has been developed by Creative Scotland and Education Scotland as part of Scotland’s Creative Learning Plan.

“The Brewstometer is a Creativity Measuring Tool that introduces the principles of creativity and helps you to evaluate any creative experience that you have had recently. This might have been a lesson, a workshop, a performance or project. The Brewstometer will help you and your learners to think back and reflect on the experience, how it made you feel, how successful it was, and ultimately how creative everyone was being.”


The Creative Scotland ‘Brewstometer’

So there you have it. A tool which measures how much creativity has been ‘taught’ by a gallery visit for example? An interesting concept. My initial reaction was one of extreme scepticism – there are some things which cannot and should not be measured – but it seems that everything in schools and education these days has to be measured, assessed and inspected or it is of little value. As always, however, I would be delighted to hear from any teacher whose use of the new tool has made their classroom or its inhabitants more creative. Regardless of your views on the ‘measurability’ of creativity though, the Creativity Portal from the same partners will provide you with some excellent resources and ideas to make you reflect on how creative you are as a learner and as a teacher. The site also has some useful links to blogs, case studies and contacts across all areas of the curriculum.

Further Reading

Flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy by Shelley Wright

I’m Not Really Sold on Bloom’s Taxonomy by Jaye Richards-Hill


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