Applied Creativity for Practitioners

The topic of creativity is receiving a great deal of attention in education, with interest in both formal and informal settings. From classrooms to afterschool programs, childcare settings to residential summer camps, the importance of creativity is frequently discussed and reinforced.

Yet there is a dearth of research-supported material for practitioners about how to foster creativity in applied settings. Books tend to be either academic in nature or practitioner-focused and devoid of theoretically- and empirically-supported strategies. There is also an odd trend of creativity books becoming longer and longer, which makes them unlikely resources for time-pressed practitioners.

From an enhancement perspective, the trend over the past 25 years has been to encourage educators to rethink their practice regarding creativity, implying that they need to overhaul their practices. And it takes a brave educator to consider redoing all of their curricula and instructional strategies. But the majority of creativity-fostering strategies can be implemented in almost any learning context, with limited tinkering and adaptation leading to creative growth (i.e., improving rather than replacing).

The purpose of this series will be to produce short, practitioner-friendly books that directly address key principles from creativity theory and research and provide detailed recommendations for fostering creativity, with an emphasis on strategies that can be worked into existing curriculum and activities.

This series could also have wide appeal in other countries, most notably China, where there is a tremendous desire for materials on educating for creativity across a broad range of formal and informal education settings.

Format of the Books
After a concise opening chapter that reinforces the importance of creativity and introduces the book, each volume will be organized using 10-12 principles drawn from psychological and educational theory and research. After each principle is described in 1-2 pages, a set of general strategies for applying the principle will be included. To supplement the strategies, specific examples will be provided, perhaps in the form of vignettes drawn from real-life examples, real lesson plans or activity descriptions that have been modified to address the principle, etc. This approach – using theory and research to frame but not dominate the sharing of practical strategies for creativity enhancement – should be appealing to a wide range of practitioners, and at an attractive price point.

Principles could include:
• Definition of creativity as originality and usefulness
• Divergent thinking
• Convergent thinking
• Creativity as both divergent and convergent thinking
• The role of problem-finding
• Working with constraints
• The role of the creative product
• Implications of the emerging sociocultural perspective on creativity
• Group vs. individual creativity
• The role of modeling
• Domain/task generality vs. specificity
• Importance of attitude and role of attitude change
• Creative personality
• Creative articulation