Four Competencies for Creativity

The Partnership for 21st Century Education (now part of the Battelle for Kids network) identified creativity as one of the essential transferable skills for students.  While creativity as a topic is quite large, there have been a number of resources published to help teachers incorporate creativity into the classroom and build student skills.  One article, Developing Students’ Creative Skills for 21st Century Success by Jennifer Henderson, addresses four competencies essential for student creativity as articulated by Robert Epstein:

  1. Capturing – Students need to develop ways to capture creative ideas when they present themselves.  A note card, notebook, journal, audio recorder, video recorder, or similar tool is useful in getting an idea archived for later exploration.
  2. Challenging – Students need the opportunity to tackle tough problems.  Don’t shy away from something because it seems too difficult or too grand.  Present the problem and let students brainstorm around it.  You might be surprised how well things go. 
  3. Broadening – Students need to explore a variety of topics based upon interest.  We certainly want students to build content knowledge and keep them focused, but we should not fence students in.  Let them explore a variety of topics.  They may be forming connections that we just can’t see yet. 
  4. Surrounding – Students need to operate in community to be creative.  Creative communities sharpen student skills as they share and challenge ideas.  

Do your students know how to capture their creative ideas?  Are they taking on big challenges and broadening their perspectives?  Are they surrounding themselves with other creative people for the exchange of ideas?  As you prepare for next week, think about how you can foster growth in these areas.  You will see creativity blossom in your students!

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