Frequently Asked Questions About Creativity
Is It True That Children Have Active Imaginations?
Studies of the brain activity of preadolescent children offer empirical evidence that children do indeed have active imaginations (Diamond, 1999). Even when wide awake, children experience more frequent theta wave activity, a daydreamlike state that mature adults experience primarily as their minds hover between being awake and falling asleep. Theta wave brain activity is more relaxed, freewheeling, and receptive to fleeting mental images. Eminent creative individuals in various fields report a host of techniques to capture theta wave activity (Goleman & Kaufman, 1992; Runco & Pritzker, 1999). Evidently, children are adept at forming varied and unusual images while adults tend to have the advantage when it comes to storing and retrieving information, drawing upon experience, and making judgments about what is appropriate and effective. So, children may not be "more" imaginative, but they certainly do have active imaginations.
Are Children More or Less Creative Than Adults?
Children are differently creative than adults. Children have unique ideas but may not yet have the ability to execute them well or communicate them clearly to others (Fishkin, 1998). Originality in children "reflects their lack of inhibitions rather than their intentional and metacognitive efforts..." (Runco, 2004, p.22). Evidently the creative assets of childhood include a tolerance for ambiguity, a propensity for nonlinear thinking, and receptivity to ideas that might be quickly discarded by an adult as too fanciful to merit further consideration. The line of demarcation between fantasy and reality is not as firmly drawn for children as it is for adults, so ideas from one realm slip through easily into another. This may enable children to respond in ways that are nonstereotypic, a trait that many adults, particularly those in the arts, find enviable (Kincade, 2002).
Is Being Creative Valued Mainly Because It Provides an Emotional Release?
Creativity is more than "letting off steam." There is a difference between jumping around and dancing, for example. The artist's behaviors are planned, controlled, and practiced. This tendency to treat the arts as emotional outlets distances creative work not only from the cognitive and physical processes used to attain excellence, but also from the cultural contexts in which creative works are produced. Creativity is much more than an emotional outlet; it is an expression of values, a source of national pride, and, for those outside the culture, a way of communicating intercultural understanding.
How Can Teachers Support the Creative Expression of Children with Special Needs?
The key to unlocking the creative potential in children with disabilities is the search for opportunities for every child to experience success. This typically involves focusing on children's strengths and adapting the environment to enable them to express those abilities. For example, a child with a visual disability may not be able to use crayons to produce a drawing that is pleasing to the eye, but the child can use fabrics to create a fabric collage that is pleasing to the touch. Likewise, the child whose physical conditions prohibits the requisite fine motor skills for sculpting or painting at an easel may be able to mold large objects with clay or use hand and arm movements to finger-paint.
© ______ 2006, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Social Cognitive Theory
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- Problems With Standardized Testing