I took a class a couple years back where we were asked to make motorcycle helmets. Not literally make them but illustrate them. Paint was the encouraged medium. The teacher said we should draw out many ideas and then pick our favorite to create. Since I was not the fastest painter I figured I would bypass this redundant step besides I already had an idea. I painted the greatest checkered design for the helmet. Checkered flags reminded me of racing and motor bikes so naturally it was perfect. I thought it was pretty awesome when it was finished as I had used some advanced shading techniques that added depth and detail. It was a technical tour de force in my professional option. The teacher saw things differently. Much like a lazy English teacher doesn’t read entire papers, I don’t think this art teacher gave my work much consideration. He gave me an unmemorable grade and permission to see him later (what nerve). He also took the liberty of exclaiming how uncreative AND unimaginative my work was to him. I thought well screw him, I like it.
This is not the attitude that I took in math when an earlier teacher had told me math might not be my thing. In that case, I asked for help and before long it became my thing. I mean I knew he knew the material better than I did and I didn’t want to fail. Why didn’t I feel this way with the art teacher? I mean I was no artist at the time and the art dude was very good at what he did.
This inconsistency in perspective is the reason that creativity is condensed to such a small sector of the population. Most people consider their creative works an extension of themselves hence are very sensitive about them. It takes a lot to open up your work to critical appraisal. Aggravating the issue is the fact that many people thing that creativity is completely in born. This isn’t true. Creativity is developed although we do have different starting points, just like every other skill.
How well you learn is a reflection of the quality of the teaching and your openness to learning.
Write a list of cool super powers. Your list probably contains things like invisibility, flying, super healing, and morphing. This is not a creative list. A teacher assessing this list could easily show that it wasn’t creative and show you techniques for developing truly novel ideas.
Creativity has recently been brought to the forefront as an essential skill for the future. But to teach this skill we need to change student’s perspective of creativity. Students must start treating their creative development like their other studies where they don’t fear exposure and encourage feed back.