Cultivating Creativity in Adult Literacy Education Settings
Posted by Jessica Gilmour on February 25, 2020 in categoryFacts & ResearchcategoryMember Tips

ProLiteracy’s Adult Literacy Education: The International Journal of Literacy, Language, and Numeracy is a free online peer-reviewed research journal published twice a year. The journal’s mission is to publish research on adult basic and secondary education and transitions to college and career programs. Be on the lookout for Volume 2 Issue 1 of the journal in April 2020.

We are excited to showcase “Cultivating Creativity in Adult Literacy Education Settings,” by Dominique T. Chlup of Inspiring the Creative Within®, LLC. An excerpt of the article is highlighted below.  

Few traits are as desirable as creativity. In fact, according to chief executives around the world, creativity is the most sought-after trait in leaders. Yet creativity is also one of the most elusive concepts (Csikszenthmihalyi, 1996). There is no shortage of definitions. Some define creativity as novelty, effectiveness, ethicality (e.g., Cropley, 2001). Others characterize creativity as a psychological trait that produces high quality, novel, useful work appropriate to an audience (e.g., Sternberg, Lubert, Kaufman, & Pretz, 2005). Others argue creativity is a confluence of personality traits, alternative ways of thinking and knowing, and a mixture of social and environmental influences (e.g., Kerka, 1999).

Teaching for creativity has been an increasing area of focus in children’s education but has largely been ignored within adult education. Jeffrey and Craft (2001) note the distinction between teaching creatively and teaching for creativity but go on to state that both aspects are important. Indeed, many argue that creativity is essential to human existence (e.g., Jeffrey & Craft, 2001). With so many differing beliefs, the starting point for literacy education instructors who wish to cultivate creativity in their adult basic education, GED, or ESL classrooms is to first believe they can. In an era where the notion that schools “kill creativity” (Robinson, 2006) and society has suppressed the creative potential of adults by encouraging intellectual conformity (Sternberg, 2017), instructors need to provide opportunities and encouragement to make creativity a habit and attitude adults possess for life. This article is an attempt to share with educators what researchers have found regarding the hallmarks of creativity. It also provides a sampling of proven techniques and approaches instructors can use in educational settings to help adult learners unlock and develop their creativity.

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