STEM Student Learning Goals: Creativity

A. Definitions and descriptions– creativity as a student learning goal

Robert Harris, in his book Introduction to Creative Thinking (1998), defines creativity as:

  • an ability: A simple definition is that creativity is the ability to imagine or invent something new.
  • an attitude: Creativity is also an attitude: the attitude to accept change and newness, a willingness to play with ideas and possibilities, a flexibility of outlook, the habit of enjoying the good, while looking for ways to improve it.
  • a process: Creative people work hard and continually to improve ideas and solutions, by making gradual alterations and refinements to their work.

Nancy Andreasen, in her book Creating the Brain: The Neuroscience of Genius (2005), describes creative persons as:

    [Those who] to tend to approach the world in a fresh and original way that is not shaped by preconceptions..... ...Creative people enjoy adventure. They like to explore.... ...creative people also have traits that make them durable and persistent.... Persistence is absolutely fundamental, since creative people typically experience repeated rejection because of their tendency to push the limits and to perceive things in a new way.

    ...Creative people also tend to be intensely curious. They like to understand how and why, to take things apart and put them back together again, to move into domains of the mind or spirit that conventional society perceives as hidden or forbidden. Creative people are also often perfectionistic and even obsessional....

    These traits tend to be combined with a basic simplicity, defined by a singleness of vision and dedication to their work. In fact, much of the time, their work is really all that creative people care about.