CREATICA: A MODEL TO SYSTEMATIZE CREATIVITY’S STIMULI
By: Gonzalo Fortún Berdecio.
CREATIVITY. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND.
At the time of the Second World War (1945), Wertheimer used the term “creativity” for the first time. In 1958, the first studies on creativity were carried out by Flamagan, who was the pioneer in investigating this issue.
It worth highlighting that we refer to creativity in the western world, which is different from creativity in the eastern world, where it would be considered an inner illumination state, a vital energy that must be activated so that it could flow freely through the energy centers producing a harmonic and unique development of the being in communication with itself and with the transcendental.
In the Occidental world, creativity was considered a myth. For the Greek, it was the representative of the gods. With the Judeo-Christian’s influence, creativity was related to God. Further on, it was shared by some artists, geniuses, or people who were mentally insane. Now we know that stress and high degrees of neurosis influence creative processes.
In 1960, after Dr. Roger Sperry, along with Gazzaniga and Bogen, investigated on open brain surgeries, first on animals and then on war injured soldiers, it was discovered that both lobules of the brain worked in different ways.
In recent decades, when Machado (1983) talks about the revolution of the Intelligence and Buzan (1998) talks about the Mental Alphabetization or Mentally Alphabetized Societies, and after the United States Senate declared the 1990s as “The Brain Decade”, which has had considerable effects stimulating new investigations about the brain, and the creation of new enterprises that look for new ways of understanding the brain’s capabilities to learn to think better and to have resources and tools to empower creativity.
The University of Harvard has been dedicated to elaborating programs to develop Creative or Inventive Thinking, among others Edward De Bono (1990) with his “Lateral Thinking” and Howard Gardner with his Multiple Intelligence Theory should be highlighted. Nowadays, recent additions have been made when Gardner introduces in 2009 his Five Minds of the Future, not denying his past theories, but complementing them.
As many other things in life, creativity has many definitions and it is a frequent mistake to think that there is a unique concept.
Some definitions consider people’s capabilities, others focus on processes or products, and some other ones take into account people’s emotional factors, values, and beliefs in the moment of the creative act. Nevertheless, creativity always indicates the new, the newness, the originality, the value or usefulness, and the capability of expression.
- Creativity is a process by which a person is aware of a problem, a difficulty or a knowledge lagoon for which s/he is not capable of finding a known or learned solution; s/he looks for possible solutions stating hypothesis; evaluates, proofs, modifies, and finally communicates the obtained results (Torrance, 1963).
- Creativity is the human capability of producing mental contents of any kind, which essentially could be considered new, unknown for whoever produces them (Drevdahl, 1964).
- Creativity is a mental process which produces new as well as useful ideas (Taylor, 1964).
- Creativity is a form of divergent thinking, which unchains several solutions to a problem (Guilford, 1967).
- Creativity is the human being’s ability of bringing something new to existence (Barrón, 1969).
- To create is to use one’s own past experiences and to reorganize them in new ideas, forms, and products (Smith, 1970).
- Creativity is the ability to make comparisons and analogies, to detect hidden patterns, connections among things (Maslow, 1992).
- Creativity, more that a need, is a pleasure. More than a task, is a joyful adventure (Gonzalez, 1999).
- Creativity is the capability of producing new relationships, of transforming the given rules in such a way that they could be used to generally solve a problem in an specific social reality (Wollschager)
- Creativity is a disposition, a potential state of all individuals and it is closely related to the social and cultural environment (Gonzales Fontao, 1996)
- Creativity is to look at where others have already looked at and to see where they didn’t see (Saturnino de la Torre, 1997)
- Authentic Creativity is born inside you. Your inner artist has the necessary resources to create. Pushed by him, you feel the desire to generate new ideas, to transform them into inventions, to select the best ones, to make sure you are producing the results you really want to produce (Gonzalez, 1999)
However we want to define creativity, it implies three basic ideas:
- Newness or originality. It has to be something new, not copied.
- Value. It needs to be useful for something or someone.
- Expression. It has to be possible to be expressed in such a way that people could reach it.
In the past, creativity was understood as the capability to find multiple alternatives to solve a given problem. In fact, it was intimately related to a divergent capability of solving problems, which now is considered as Creative Thinking. However, a conceptualization of creativity should be a holistic synthesis of the cognitive and the affective, a reunion of person, environment, process, and results. There is a considerable evolution from the concept of creativity related to the cognitive potentialities to the nowadays one, loaded with attitude and affective connotations. A concept open to knowledge and life.
Creatica has not invented anything. It simply has systematized a creative teaching-learning process that had been used non-systematically for years and years, in a way in which it could be carried out spending less time and energy.
Creatica is a movement that started in the 1970s that tries to develop intelligence as an experience and to reform the educational system focusing it on a creative student with a creative guide.
CREATICA IS THE SYSTEMATIZATION AND JERARQUIZATION OF THE creativity’s STIMULI, SUCH AS MODELS, SYSTEMS, PROCEDURES, TECHNIQUES, AND ACTIVITIES OR TASKS. CREATICA ALLOWS TO WORK CREATIVITY IN A DELIBERATED AND SYSTEMATIC WAY. MORE THAN A MERE TERM, IT IS A NEW CONCEPTION ABOUT THEORY AND PRACTICE OF CREATIVITY BECAUSE CREATICA BECOMES CREATIVITY’S BODY OF KNOWLEDGE AND APPLICATIONS.
It’s main characteristic is that it compiles all fundamental ideas from different psychological and pedagogical currents related to the issue and allows to develop creativity from a processual and systematical point of view.
Creatica’s pedagogic methods and educational systems are those whose structures are dynamic, the ones which are characterized by its coherence, openness to the environment, working autonomy, self-regulation, and flexibility to adapt to the new. Regarding their finalities, they take into account personal necessities, develop cognitive strategies and social abilities, emphasize creative attitudes and abilities, and have an optimizing and innovative sense.
TYPES OF CREATIVITY.
TO HAVE CREATIVITY. PHILOGENETICAL CREATIVITY.
This is the human species own potential. Being related to the species, it’s preset in every human being, being this creativity developed or not. At this point, it could be considered as any of the other human characteristics such as, intelligence, sensitivity, will, etc.
TO BE CREATIVE. POTENTIAL CREATIVITY.
It is referred as a potency susceptible of being developed. A type of energy that only needs to start working to produce results. A personal potential that allows one to generate new ideas and communicate them. Being a basic function of a human being, it could be developed at any age.
TO BE CREATING. KINETIC CREATIVITY.
It implies that from the Creative Potential we go to the action. It is the moment in which the ideas become facts. Creations that contribute new and revolutionary actions with the aims of proposing original, authentic, and socially useful ideas.
TO BE CREATOR. FACTUAL CREATIVITY.
It is the result of creations. It means, that it is not enough to carry out a creative idea, but we must see how useful, original, valuable, and authentic the results are.
Only after producing a result can we talk about creativity on its whole extent. Let’s not forget that it is the society which finally determines, on consensus, the validity of the creative results or products.
MAIN INDICATORS OF CREATIVITY.
Guilford (1967) talks about THINKING STYLES and distinguishes two types of cognitive activities: divergent and convergent. Divergent Thinking is the one that generates ideas, and it is basic to develop creativity. On the other hand, Convergent Thinking, generates a unique answer to a problem.
De la Torre, Marin, Rodríguez, agree with Guilford when they say that creativity is a form of Divergent Thinking, which means, thinking about several possible answers for a problem. Divergence implies fluency, flexibility, originality, and finally, ELABORATION, which are the four basic indicators of creativity.
Fluency is the ability to produce several ideas. It is the quick flow of ideas and questions. This aspect is expressed by the number of ideas, the amount of difficulty or solution alternatives produced for a given problem. It is the quantitative element of creativity.
It is the qualitative indicator of creativity. It is the capability of producing several answers, ideas , or solutions. Flexibility of thought is the ability to change optics, points of view referred to a given problem, fact, or situation. It is characterized by the thinking and expression plasticity, which gives one the possibility to open to change.
Flexibility could be measured quantitatively according to the number of categories produced, and qualitatively, according to the degree of divergence or distance from one category to another. When we talk about categories, we refer to big families of ideas or objects.
It is expressed when a new solution is found. A solution not previously known. Something unique and unrepeatable. Something different, but pertinent to a given problem. Something that responds appropriately to the group, moment, and place.
It is the ability that allows one to develop and add, with ease, details to enlarge a problem, to beautify or detail objects or ideas, to consider a situation from a wider optic. The elaboration of the thought is shown through the richness and complexity shown when carrying out determined tasks.
Besides the above mentioned indicators, other investigators such as Waisburd (1996), Marin (1991), Solar (1993) add to the basic ones already mentioned other complementary ones, such as, analysis, synthesis, sensitivity to problems, and redefinition.
It is a process that involves splitting a whole in its parts. Its objective is to deepen the knowledge of the parts as elements of a complex whole, which includes, nexus, laws, and operations. It allows one to discover new senses, new relationships among its components.
It includes the integration of the parts, properties, relationships, operations, etc. in a significant totality.
Analysis and synthesis are two ways of thinking about the same group of rational processes. The separation of a whole in its parts (analysis) and the unification of the elements to build the whole (synthesis). They are two opposite, yet simultaneous processes and, according to many authors, inseparable. There is no synthesis without analysis, nor analysis without synthesis.
SENSITIVITY TO PROBLEMS.
It is people’s capability of identifying and discovering difficulties, faults, imperfections in problems or life situations. The only way to solve a problem is by identifying its faults.
It is the capability of finding new uses, new functions, and new applications to objects or concepts. It is the ability to transform something into something else different from the habitual.
There are many ways of teaching that have tried to dynamize and empower student’s active work. Using creative teaching methods aims to develop different types of capabilities. Method means “way” and when we talk about it, we also think about words such as, form, manner, procedure, order, etc. generally, a method represents general ways or paths to follow.
Among the main creativity’s methods we have:
They consist on relating present situations with past situations. Its dynamics allow to use metaphors, analogies, similes, and other comparative resources that are used to find appropriate solutions to given problems. Analogical methods seek the resemblance and relationship that exist between the problem and the required solution.
They consist on decomposing a problem until it is hardly recognizable. The antithesis assumes opposition, and in creativity, it is an interesting alternative to permit the analysis of a problem from an opposite point of view. It is a way that makes it possible to open new paths and accessing routes to the solution of problems.
They consist on seeking forced, unusual relationships. Chance is used in such a way in which any word may be used as a possible trigger to solve a problem.
It is also about associating hardly associable elements, which enable a new access to a solution.
Generally, we look for close and usual relationships to solve a problem, but this methods suggest to consider the unusual and distant to extend the possibilities of solution.
When we talk about creative strategies, we refer to strategies based on meaningful and relevant learning. We talk about strategies that develop abilities and skills that promote interest, reflection.
Strategies are general procedures that are used to organize our actions. A strategy is an organized plan that seeks definite goals through the use of different resources.
As a few of the main specific characteristics of creative strategies we can see that they:
– promote knowledge building
– develop cognitive and affective capabilities
– motivate and invite imagination
– combine ideas and materials
– favor teacher-learner relationship
– cares for processes without leaving results aside
– connect experience with knowledge application
Among the main strategies we have:
They consist on using the analysis as a fundamental didactical resource. Analytic strategies generally emphasize the element of a problem, and their further integration by differentiating them first and integrating them later.
They detect the problem’s structure by disarticulating the problem in groups of ideas that will help to rearticulate it again and, therefore, have a different level of comprehension from a different point of view, besides having a wider conception of the problem.
They imply the organization of interrelated ideas or ideas that include each other in more complex entities. After a variety of ideas has been suggested, they are organized, classified, and then integrated into a system. These strategies produce a wider and synthetic view of the problem. Most analytic strategies are part of this category.
They create nexus and links among concepts. They allow to build new results from previous knowledge. These strategies are related to practical knowledge.
They are closely related to the ELABORATION creativity indicator because they propose the use of abilities such as, reflection, redefinition, and re-conversion of problems. These strategies help to outline a problem from different points of view.
CREATICA opens for us a universe of alternatives so that ideas such as, “I can’t”, “I don’t know what to…”, “I don’t know how to…” will be erased permanently from our vocabulary.
-Manual de la Creatividad. Ricardo Marín Ibáñez, Saturnino de La Torre.
-Dinamización Curricular. Formación Docente. José Bedoya, David Portillo.
-Expresión y Creatividad. Instituto Normal Superior Católico “Sedes Sapientiae”.
-Creative Minds. The Anatomy of Creativity. Howard Gardner.
-Creativity. Project “TAC”.
-Learning with the Whole Brain. Linda VerLee Williams.
-About Creativity. David Bohm.