Defining and Measuring Creativity

Creativity refers to the process of being imaginative and innovative. A creative person is able to link existing information with new information in productive ways. Students who are creative may often be referred to as being gifted and talented. Charles F. Wetherall has listed many characteristics of gifted, talented, or creative students. Creative students, for example, have a keen sense of observation and a desire to improve their abilities, produce a variety of possible solutions to problems, are curious and original, have the characteristic of persistence, are comfortable with ambiguity, are able to work independently, are able to analyze and synthesize information, demonstrate compulsivity and an urgency to complete a task or execute an idea, and have multiple latent abilities. Thus, when one's existing knowledge and information combine in a unique way, a creative product or idea is formed.

Many others have sought to describe creativity. Characteristics of creative persons and creativity, according to Gary A. Davis and Sylvia Rimm, include valuing creative thinking, appreciating novel and far-fetched ideas, being open-minded and receptive to zany ideas, and being mentally set to produce creative ideas. Robert Sternberg describes creative people as those who have the ability and willingness to go beyond the ordinary limitations of themselves and their environment and to think and act in unconventional and perhaps dreamlike ways. Further, he states that creative people go beyond the unwritten canons of society, have aesthetic taste, and are inquisitive and intuitive. Major contributions have been made to many fields of endeavor as a result of creative enterprise.

Creativity has been studied through research that sought to examine personality and family issues related to creativity, the ecology of creativity, musical creativity, and creative ability in women. Research by Robert Albert that examined relationships between creativity, identity formation, and career choice led him to make six suggestions for parents and teachers to help students achieve maximally. This information would be beneficial both to students who are gifted and to those who are not. His suggestions include helping students experience emotions such as anger, joy, fear, and passion; teaching involvement rather than techniques to students; seeking to dis cover what people can do; allowing students to experience some novelty and flexibility; encouraging the students to ask the questions "What do I think?" "How do I think?" "What can I do?" and "How do I feel about it now that I have tried?"; and enhancing learning by being actively engaged with and taking chances with one another.

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