On-Air Highlights

Teaching Creativity

Written by Fred Vigeant, Director of Programming and Promotions for TV and Radio | Apr 9, 2013 10:50 AM

As schools cut budgets and stretch to teach to standardized tests, one of the first casualties is often arts education. Drama, dance, music and visual arts are often seen as nice extras, not essential skills.  NPR's Elizabeth Blair takes a look at how arts education fits in with academics in fostering creativity in students. The three-part series airs beginning Monday, April 15th, on All Things Considered on witf.

Testing Creativity - Monday, April 15th
Creativity can help you succeed in life -- but how do you know you have it? In the 1960s, psychologist E. Paul Torrance developed a way to test creativity by following students over several decades. His test is often used for admission to gifted programs, but a few years ago one academic found that Torrance test scores were dropping. Is the U.S. in a "creativity crisis"? NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.

Can Art Save A Failing School?  - Tuesday, April 16th
When President Obama first ran for office he formed an Arts Policy Committee with a top priority: reinvest in arts education. The president signed off on an experiment to see if an arts curriculum could improve eight failing public elementary schools in some of the country's poorest neighborhoods. The Turnaround Arts program is funded through both public and private dollars -- but for just two years. NPR's Elizabeth Blair visits one of the schools.

Life Pieces to Masterpieces - Wednesday, April 17th
A small nonprofit in one of Washington, D.C.'s poorest neighborhoods is trying to use art to transform the lives of African-American boys and young men. Life Pieces To Masterpieces is an after-school program where students work together to create art. After more than 15 years, they're starting to see results. In a neighborhood where only 33% graduate from high school, 100% of LPTM's graduates go on to college or post-secondary education. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.


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  • mvrentchler img 2013-04-14 10:54

    In this morning's broadcast, The Case For The Arts In Overhauling Education
    April 14, 2013 8:00 AM, Ms. Blair makes a comparison about lower socio-economic kids not receiving arts educations. I am a teacher in those schools in Long Beach, CA so I know from whence I speak in this regard. The schools have had their funding reduced in severe ways recently, but even before this recession, did not have adequate funding for arts. Why? The funds that a school receives are put into the highest need areas that support growth on the high stakes tests. In these low socio economic schools that translates into more funding for English Language learner programs like Reading Recovery, RSP services usually connected to special education services, speech and language specialists, and so on. The higher socio economic schools don't need these so have the funds available for "electives" or "enrichment".

    There was also a comment about lower expectations for the lower socio economic kid schools. I can emphatically support that comment. I personally have recently been upbraided for bringing higher expectations from another school that I service (I have two every year at a minimum) to a (perceived by the Principal to be) a lower socio economic school with an unpleasant exchange, "...NOT at my school". I've been in shock since as it came from the mouth of a "minority" Principal.

    I am very excited about Kahn Academy and opportunities afforded to get everyone up to high stakes taking speed in a cost effective, fun, engaging manner. Hopefully this learner tuned system affording more time as needed for the student to learn lessening the need for specialists aforementioned, and subsequently bringing back a rounded educational experience in K-12.

    Melissa V Rentchler, MLIS, M.Ed. Teacher Librarian

  • Mary-Theresa Stengel img 2013-04-14 17:29

    Elizabeth Blair reported that the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking is the one assessment of creativity. With my M.S. in Creativity Studies from SUNY College at Buffalo (www.buffalostate.edu/creativity), I know a quick "Google" shows many ways to assess each person's style, uses and potential for creativity, such as KAI (Kirton Adaption–Innovation) Inventory, Guilford’s Alternative Uses Task and the Random Associations Test. Ms. Blair, please research and report the myriad of creativity assessments developed since the 1960's!

  • Bonnie Cramond img 2013-04-15 20:43

    Mary-Theresa is correct that there are several measures out there, and Elizabeth Blair does report on James Catterall's test after saying that some psychologists say that the Torrance Test "is maybe not the best test." Of course, Catterall would tout his test over another. However, if you look at the reliability and predictive validity of the Torrance Tests over the last 50+ years, you will see that it has the best statistics of any of the tests. In fact, Catterall's sample items read on the air sound very similar to the Just Suppose items on the Torrance Verbal Test: e.g. Just suppose people could travel with just a twitch of the nose, what might happen as a result? (similar to, but not an actual item).