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National Curriculum

How can you spot creativity?



We have already defined creativity as being:

  • imaginative

  • purposeful – directed at achieving an objective

  • original

  • valuable – in relation to its objective.

But what does this actually look like in the classroom?

When pupils are thinking and behaving creatively in the classroom, you are likely to see them:

  • questioning and challenging

  • making connections and seeing relationships

  • envisaging what might be

  • exploring ideas, keeping options open

  • reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes.

Questioning and challenging

Creative pupils are curious, question and challenge, and don't always follow rules. They:

  • ask 'why?' 'how?' 'what if?'

  • ask unusual questions

  • respond to ideas, questions, tasks or problems in a surprising way

  • challenge conventions and their own and others' assumptions

  • think independently.

Making connections and seeing relationships

Creative pupils think laterally and make associations between things that are not usually connected. They:

  • recognise the significance of their knowledge and previous experience

  • use analogies and metaphors

  • generalise from information and experience, searching for trends and patterns

  • reinterpret and apply their learning in new contexts

  • communicate their ideas in novel or unexpected ways.

Envisaging what might be

Creative pupils speculate about possibilities. They:

  • imagine, seeing things in the mind's eye

  • see possibilities, problems and challenges

  • ask 'what if?'

  • visualise alternatives

  • look at and think about things differently and from different points of view.

For example

In The creepy polar bear, pupils keep the image of a cold wind in their mind’s eye when experimenting with different sounds that reflect their thoughts and feelings about Antarctica. Open questioning helps them to think imaginatively and represent their mental picture through music.

Exploring ideas, keeping options open

Creative pupils explore possibilities, keep their options open and learn to cope with the uncertainty that this brings. They:

  • play with ideas, experiment

  • try alternatives and fresh approaches

  • respond intuitively and trust their intuition

  • anticipate and overcome difficulties, following an idea through

  • keep an open mind, adapting and modifying their ideas to achieve creative results.

For example

In The surfing ballerina, pupils experiment with different ways of producing movement using mechanisms and components, anticipating and overcoming difficulties along the way. They modify ideas as they reflect on their designs for moving toys and some continue to keep their options open and make changes right through to the making stage.

Reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes

Creative pupils are able to evaluate critically what they do. They:

  • review progress

  • ask 'is this a good...?' 'is this what is needed?'

  • invite feedback and incorporate this as needed

  • put forward constructive comments, ideas, explanations and ways of doing things

  • make perceptive observations about originality and value.

This content relates to the 1999 programmes of study and attainment targets.

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