I have been a long time believer that our students think critically, but we don’t always see it because they demonstrate it differently than we typically do. Many times we ask our students to do the same project or written assessment which works well for some students but negates the talents of others.

As a means of attempting to provide a diverse breadth of opportunities to demonstrate critical thinking, my grade 12 university students are creating a variety of projects as a Summative task for Hamlet. I am actually quite excited to see their finished products. Two students are planning to create movie trailers of Hamlet in a variety of genres, one student is taking a piece of classical music and “tweaking” it to represent the death scene, and another is writing a philosophical essay about Hamlet’s mental state. To go along with the creative piece, the students have to write a two page explanation of their thinking complete with line references to the play.

As I’ve been observing the creative planning stages, some students have expressed concern over this project. The main issue for them is that they claim they aren’t “creative.” They know how to analyze texts in a written format but don’t feel they have any creativity and are therefore worried about their grades on this task. I believe that everyone has creativity within them and it’s upsetting for me that students so young believe they don’t have creativity. Do we need to broaden the definition of creativity? My students seem to think that it only contains ideas related to art, drama or music, but to me it can be items like party planning, fashion, interior design, gardening, food preparation, and more. Am I way off the mark or do we need to change how we view creativity in the classroom?


6 thoughts on “A Question of Creativity

  1. Nope, you’re right on the money with this one. Some of the most creative thinkers I’ve ever met have been scientists and engineers. Creativity means to the ability to create. Anything. You don’t have to draw, dance, sing or make movies to be creative. Making something new. Anything new. New to you, or new to everyone. That’s being creative.

  2. Do you think you would have heard the same claims if there was not an evaluation attached to this task? I wonder if the “I’m not creative” claims stem from a concern about the grade they may get if you do not appreciate the creativity they share.

    I heard a student say “I don’t care if I learn this. I just need an ‘A'” and that has been bothering me… A LOT! I wonder if this is another version of the same message students are sending us?

    1. Mary-Kay,

      I absolutely agree with you. The idea of learning has disappeared to be replaced with a focus on grades.

      The issue arose in my 4UI class so you are probably right that it might have been different if there wasn’t an evaluation attached.

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