Special Education Report Roundup

Study Draws Clues on Creativity From Famous Lives

By Sarah D. Sparks — March 12, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

From Mark Twain to Woody Allen, creative adults often say they were uncomfortable in school, and educators have struggled for decades to find a reliable way to identify gifted—but often quirky or rambunctious—creative students.

A study published last month in Creativity Research Journal describes a University of Kansas project that mined the biographies of such notable creative adults to develop tools to help teachers identify and support creative adolescents. Researchers Barbara Kerr and Robyn McKay analyzed biographies and interviews of famous creative types to distill the characteristics of creative giftedness at age 16. They then grouped those into six profiles in five areas of creative giftedness: verbal and linguistic skills, mathematics and science, spatial and visual skills, interpersonal and emotional skills, and music and dance.

“Very often these traits that feed their creativity, like openness to experience and impulsivity, get them in trouble,” Ms. Kerr said. “And many of them said that they’re only noticed in school when they’re in trouble. Creative kids tend to be a particular type of outsider, admired by their small cadre of friends for their art or coding abilities, but avoided by many because of their eccentricities.”

The researchers worked with academic counselors in schools across Kansas to identify 485 students who matched the profiles and brought them to the counseling laboratory for additional testing and interviews.

A third of the students who fit the profiles for creative giftedness had never been identified for gifted programs, largely because their grade point averages were not higher than average—in part because those students tended to focus only on subjects that interested them.

Those students also tended to respond better to academic counseling that encouraged a do-it-yourself approach, such as pairing science classes with technical-shop classes for a student interested in becoming an inventor.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 13, 2013 edition of Education Week as Study: Famous Adults Offer Clues to Identify Gifted Teenagers

Events

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
IT Infrastructure Webinar
A New Era In Connected Learning: Security, Accessibility and Affordability for a Future-Ready Classroom
Learn about Windows 11 SE and Surface Laptop SE. Enable students to unlock learning and develop new skills.
Content provided by Microsoft Surface
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Making Technology Work Better in Schools
Join experts for a look at the steps schools are taking (or should take) to improve the use of technology in schools.
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
Budget & Finance Webinar
The ABCs of ESSER: How to Make the Most of Relief Funds Before They Expire
Join a diverse group of K-12 experts to learn how to leverage federal funds before they expire and improve student learning environments.
Content provided by Johnson Controls

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

Special Education L.A. Agrees to Do More After Failing on Special Education. Could Other Districts Be Next?
The district failed to meet the needs of students with disabilities during the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education found.
6 min read
Conceptual image of supporting students.
Illustration by Laura Baker/Education Week (Source images: DigitalVision Vectors and iStock/Getty)
Special Education Protect Students With Disabilities as COVID Rules Ease, Education Secretary Tells Schools
Even as schools drop precautions like mask requirements, they must by law protect medically vulnerable students, a letter emphasizes.
3 min read
Image of a student holding a mask and a backpack near the entrance of a classroom.
E+
Special Education Hearing, Vision ... Autism? Proposal Would Add Screening to School-Entry Requirements
Nebraska legislators consider a first-in-the-nation mandate to assess all children for autism before the start of school.
5 min read
Image of a student working with an adult one-on-one.
mmpile/E+
Special Education Florida Changed Rules for Special Education Students. Why Many Say It’s Wrong
The new rule contains a more specific definition of what it means to have a “most significant cognitive disability.”
Jeffrey S. Solochek, Tampa Bay Times
7 min read
Richard Corcoran, the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education sits next to Florida Department of Education Board Chair Andy Tuck as they listen to speakers during Thursday morning's Florida Department of Education meeting. The board members of the Florida Department of Education met Thursday, June 10, 2021 at the Florida State College at Jacksonville's Advanced Technology Center in Jacksonville, Fla. to take care of routine business but then held public comments before a vote to remove critical race theory from Florida classrooms.
Richard Corcoran, Florida’s education commissioner, and Andy Tuck, the chair of the state’s board of education, listen to speakers at a meeting  in June.
Bob Self/The Florida Times-Union via AP