Improving Adult Creativity Using Therapeutic Models

By Aniello, Joseph; Clouse, R. Wilburn | Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, January 1, 2005 | Go to article overview

Improving Adult Creativity Using Therapeutic Models


Aniello, Joseph, Clouse, R. Wilburn, Journal of Entrepreneurship Education


ABSTRACT

This study examined changes in creativity among undergraduate students at a major southeastern United States university. The focus was on the interactions between 36 students and their professor within the context of the requirements for their coursework on organizational behavior. The student-teacher relationship was designed within the framework of a college classroom environment, specifically: (a) the level of Professorial Concern (PC) and (b) the climate of Affiliation (AF) as measured by student responses.

Each student was asked to produce a creative nametag at the beginning of the semester and then again, at the end of the semester. Analysis of variance showed a sig-nificant change (i.e., increase) in student creativity from pretest to posttest measures. This change was considered reliable when using Pearson r to measure the ratings of the 21 creativity judges (5 expert/16 peer). The two quantitative scales measuring the classroom environment, Professorial Concern (PC) and Affiliation (AF), produced a statistically significant increase in creativity from pretest to posttest. There was also a significant increase demonstrated in creativity change based on the beginning (pretest) level of creativity; the lower the starting level, the more increase that was experienced.

Creativity is "the most complex of human behaviors"

(Runco & Sakamoto, 1999, p. 62)

INTRODUCTION

There are several assumptions about the field of creativity. Some theories assume that you are just born with innate genes to be creative. Other assumptions indicate that you can create an environment and thus influence the creativity of individuals. When one observes a small child when he/she enters a school building for the first time, one observes an individual uncontaminated by many previous assumptions. In most cases, students who are ready for first grade are intrinsically motivated by the many different stimuli that they encounter in a learning environment. For the most part, many students are eager to learn and eager to try new and interesting ventures.

Public schools are not established to deal with this kind of creative thinking and sometimes unrelated learning. Schools are designed to teach a highly structured myopic view of the world and to teach it in a confining, stable environment. By the time the bright child reaches the third grade, they have learned that creativity is not rewarded and in most cases not tolerated in the classroom. Therefore, the student conforms to school related norms and proceeds with his/her life.

The next major change in the student's life is when he or she leaves the elementary grades and enters the high school grades. Here again, the learning environment is struc-tured around disciplines. Very few cross-disciplinary activities take place. The student learns a concept or idea within the framework of a particular course and not in the framework of the world environment. The student adapts and finally moves on to the university. The university has the opportunity of providing the student with an intra dis-ciplinary approach to learning. But, in most cases, it does not do so. The student learns to solve problems frequently in a one-dimensional arena and learns facts and figures.

At last, the student finishes his/her formal education and enters the work world. He/she may take a job with a Fortune 500 company, with an international company, with a mom and pop organization or may start their own business. Now, not only is the individual faced with the structure and culture of a new company but also with government regula-tions and bureaucratic structures. (Clouse, 2004).

This research is about the development of learning environments that encourage creativity and stimulate the learner to investigate the unknown. While all children may begin life with similar levels of inherent creative potential (Guilford, 1967), many factors can shape the creativity levels used as adults.

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