Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

The ‘Habit’ of Creativity And How to Develop It

March 14, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I enjoyed Robert J. Sternberg’s Commentary immensely I enjoyed Robert J. Sternberg’s Commentary immensely (“Creativity Is a Habit,” Feb. 22, 2006). It is critical that schools not forget the importance of open-ended work (as well as the time to do it—and not just occasionally) to the cultivation of the “habits” of creativity and innovation.

I was particularly struck by Mr. Sternberg’s comments about essay tests, which are often thought of as the answer to the rigidity of multiple-choice testing. It is important to realize that if rigid structures or templates are applied to supposedly open-ended formats (including portfolios, art, and performances), these can become ossified remnants of the creative purposes that created them.

In this regard, though, Mr. Sternberg’s suggestions for supporting creativity, and his examples of creative teaching, seem to slide back into the same standardization they are attempting to critique. While I agree with his premise—that it is important for schools to be places where creative thought is valued—there is something a bit mechanistic in his description of the ways to get there.

Also, to say that creativity is somehow dependent on reward (or praise) seems at odds with the very notion of creativity.

Mr. Sternberg says that creative people “habitually ... defy the crowd and stand up for their own beliefs,” which suggests that they don’t need praise or rewards to work creatively. If cultivating creativity is the goal, the work, even if not clearly valued, should be its own reward. Figuring out how we can help children understand that is vitally important to Mr. Sternberg’s goal.

Neal Wrightson

Los Angeles, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the March 15, 2006 edition of Education Week as The ‘Habit’ of Creativity And How to Develop It

Events

School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Get a Strong Start to the New School Year
Get insights and actions from Education Week journalists and expert guests on how to start the new school year on strong footing.
Reading & Literacy Webinar A Roadmap to Multisensory Early Literacy Instruction: Accelerate Growth for All Students 
How can you develop key literacy skills with a diverse range of learners? Explore best practices and tips to meet the needs of all students. 
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
College & Workforce Readiness Webinar
Supporting 21st Century Skills with a Whole-Child Focus
What skills do students need to succeed in the 21st century? Explore the latest strategies to best prepare students for college, career, and life.
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 15, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read