Can you teach creativity?

Saetha

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It's pretty widely accepted that to get good at something you have to practice it. You gotta study music to be a good musician, math to be a good scientist, writing to be a good writer, whatever.

But it's also pretty widely accepted that some jobs need a creative mind to pull them off. Now, you'll find no end of classes that'll teach you composition or grammar or design, but I don't think I've ever seen a class that teaches someone the basics of being creative - why is that, though? Is creativity (In comparison to, say, intelligence or obedience) undervalued and thus not a teaching priority? Is it too much effort, too much cost, for a "class on creativity" to be a widespread thing? Is it too undefined and subjective? Or is it simply impossible to teach, an intrinsic trait that can only be worked with, not improved? Or some other reason entirely?

What do you think?
 

Queen Michael

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You can't teach creativity. You can't be taught having an idea appear in your head. If you've got lousy imagination, a course won't help. If your imagination's good, courses aren't necessary.

It's like being funny. You can give people tips on improving their performance, but being spontaneously funny is something you are or aren't.
 

Aerosteam

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Not really. Some peoples' brains just don't work like that.
 

Fox12

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Sure, you just have to get people in the habit of being open minded, trying new things, and thinking outside the box. Preferably as children. Expose them to as many different views and philosophies as humanly possible.

It's like that old saying. If you don't want to write the books that everybody else writes, don't read the books that everybody else reads.
 

Aris Khandr

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You cannot teach creativity, but you can encourage it. In western society, an emphasis is placed on following instructions. To encourage creativity, assignments should be open ended and easily interpreted in numerous ways. The inherently uncreative will follow the instructions in the most straightforward method possible, while the others will be given the opportunity to explore things. With sufficient praise delivered for this sort of exploration, even the uncreative will begin to attempt to find alternate answers, if for no other reason than because that is what is most like following instructions in that scenario. So no, you cannot teach creativity, but that doesn't mean you cannot foster an environment for it to grow.
 

crimson5pheonix

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I don't know. They tried basically doing that with the various GT programs I had in elementary school, but it was reserved for the people who were already doing very well in class, I don't know how effective it was.
 

spartan231490

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No, you cannot teach creativity. You can encourage creativity that is already in someone though. Sadly, modern education has left that far behind, along with anything else that might result in a student having an original thought some day.
 

Nazulu

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I believe you can, but there are a lot things your going to have to 'accept' to be open minded. That's if you want to be actually creative instead of doing commercial stuff, because you will have to experiment, and you will have to want to experiment and challenge yourself.
 

Smooth Operator

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I really don't see why you couldn't teach it, the only thing I can see is no one attempting it and everyone discouraging that attempt. Wasn't too long ago that a similar sentiment went around general education, either you were considered the "right" material or it shouldn't even be attempted...

But there is some solid reasoning behind this discouragement, the average person can invent far more imaginary shit then they can useful shit, it is far easier to come up with imaginary answers/information then it is to know the real answers. Pretty much every time we don't know something shit is getting made up.
"Wait that isn't creativity!" It's not the kind of "write me a new Harry Potter" process you wanted, but it is creativity.
 

VanQ

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Of course you can. You just need to think creatively...


Joking aside, you probably can teach creativity to a degree but there's a certain amount of talent and inspiration involved when it comes to creating just about anything. Writing/painting/building a video game/etc all have theory behind them that you can learn, a quick google search on "how to ____" will give you some basic ideas and tips, and then there's also specialized schools where you can go to learn about these kinds of things. However, beyond the theory there's not much you can outright teach, the rest is again, up to talent and inspiration and hard work.
 

BytByte

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I think everyone is creative in some aspect, but what they are creative in varies and can be hard to find. Like someone could be the most creative genius behind risk management, or you make really pretty cakes or something. Finding that and then supplying that person with the tools to cultivate it is the hardest part.
 

Hagi

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I think you can teach it. Or at least the processes that lead to it. In fact it's not really that unheard of.

The general process seems to be taking breaks to give your lower brain time to process all the stuff you're thinking about, avoiding high-stress environments and building up a greater deal of knowledge to draw from.

Obviously there'd be bounds, not everyone will turn into a great inventor. But the idea that creativity is somehow a static property seems to me as silly as the idea that with sufficient teaching everyone will reach Einstein levels.
 

GundamSentinel

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Queen Michael said:
You can't teach creativity. You can't be taught having an idea appear in your head. If you've got lousy imagination, a course won't help. If your imagination's good, courses aren't necessary.
Having studied Design Engineering, I don't agree. Useful ideas have a context: what's the idea? For whom? Why? What problem do you want to solve?

Exploring that context systematically is a great way to come up with ideas. Our university published a Design Guide every year that's mostly about how to be creative in a functional and constructive way. There are dozens of processes and plans about how to tackle a design problem and how to encourage creative thinking. For some people it's easier than others, sure, but anyone can come up with ideas and anyone can become good at it.
 

FalloutJack

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I would say that you can teach someone with no talent how to be a decent writer, say. He won't be as good as someone whose mind is bursting with ideas, but he'll be alright.
 

Leon Royce

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Unlikely. However, it is possible to un-teach creativity, to bury it.

Any creative individual knows that. The school system is particularly efficient at this.
 

Scarim Coral

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Sure you can't teach creativity but at the same time you shouldn't discourage or dismissed someone creative idea.
 

Asclepion

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I don't see why not. The brain is known to be a very malleable organ.

Creativity can also be programmed into computers. Like this song that was created entirely by artificial intelligence: