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2. The Processes of Creativity 35.

Creative abilities are developed through practical application: by being engaged in the processes of creative thought production: making music, writing stories, conducting experiments and so on. A key task for teachers is to help young people to understand these processes and to gain control of them. These are particular techniques and skills which are specific to different disciplines and forms of work. But there are also some general features of creative processes which young people need to experience and recognise.


Creative processes in all disciplines normally involve an initial phase of drafting: of giving an idea a rough shape or outline. This may be the first notes of a melody; a first image or metaphor; the first sketch of a problem in mathematics. The process of development is commonly one of Ôsuccessive approximationsÕ in which the idea is shaped and clarified in the process of exploring it. The final phases are often to do with refining the detail of the expression: with producing the neat copy, so to speak. The classical division of stages in creative thought - preparation-incubation-illumination then verification4 - is contested in various ways by different scholars but it does alert us to the common pattern of focus, withdrawal and then breakthrough and to the key point that creativity is a process, not an event. The form of this withdrawal from thinking about a problem, and the best circumstances for its success, are personal to the individual but often involves waking/sleeping moments, or a Ômoving meditationÕ as we do other things. Creative activity involves a complex combination of controlled and non-controlled elements, unconscious as well as conscious mental processes, non-directed as well as directed thought, intuitive as well as rational calculation.


Nine out of ten of my experiments fail, and that is considered a pretty good record amongst scientists. Professor Sir Harold Kroto, Nobel prize-winning chemist

Deferment of judgement is an invaluable element as we produce ideas and then stretch them and connect them imaginatively as far as they can go. Although there is always a stage, maybe many stages, where critical appraisal is necessary, if only to assess coherence and relate ideas to evidence, practicability, utility and audience response, generative thinking has to be given time to flower. At the right time and in the right way, rigorous critical appraisal is essential. At the wrong point, criticism and the cold hand of realism can kill an emerging idea. Creative Education

NACCCE report


ken robinson et al 1999_all our futures  
ken robinson et al 1999_all our futures  

All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education Report to the Secretary of State for Education and Employment the Secretary of State for...