Academic journal article Journal of Secondary Gifted Education

Program for Enlightened and Productive Creativity Illustrated with a Moire Patterns Lesson

Academic journal article Journal of Secondary Gifted Education

Program for Enlightened and Productive Creativity Illustrated with a Moire Patterns Lesson

Article excerpt

Combining both the Western perspective of creativity as productivity and the Eastern perspective of creativity as enlightenment, a Program for Enlightened and Productive Creativity (PEPC) for teaching inquiry was devised. The PEPC describes stages through which a student is guided to solve a problem using increasingly complex observation, inquiry, and experimentation. The use of this model in teaching is illustrated through a physics lesson of moire patterns using overlapping patterns found in our everyday life. A case is made that PEPC can be applied to teaching general students, as well as gifted students, and in different content areas.

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Educators around the world are becoming increasingly interested in infusing creativity into the curriculum (Chao, 2002). In addition to recognizing the potential benefits to society of preparing creatively productive students, educators are realizing the motivational benefits of creative teaching and learning for students. At the same time, educators from the East and West are looking to learn lessons from each other about effective teaching. The traditional view of creativity in the East differs from that of the West in that it emphasizes personal enlightenment as the ultimate goal of creative inquiry.

In the West, the emphasis has been on creating a product, even if that product is intangible, such as a theory or social order (cf. Gardner, 1993). Creativity is usually defined as the ability to produce work that is novel, original or unexpected, appropriate, useful, or adaptive concerning task constraints (Barron, 1988; MacKinnon, 1962; Perkins, 1981; Stein, 1953). In contrast, in the East there is a focus on personal expression or understanding of an inner sense of ultimate reality (Chu, 1970; Kuo, 1996; Mathur, 1982). This includes a focus on meditation as a method to achieve these goals (Sarnoff & Cole, 1983).

However, the creative goals of the East and West are not as far apart as they may initially seem. Although Zen Buddhism has advocated turning inward in the search for higher consciousness (Gaskins, 1999), the work of Maslow (1968) in describing B-Cognition in Peak Experiences (pp. 74-96) and Csikszentmihalyi (1990) in describing Flow are very reminiscent of the state of being when seeking enlightenment in the Eastern sense. If the goals of the East and West are combined, both the internal goal of personal enlightenment and the external goal of productivity can be reached. This combination is what the model is designed to accomplish.

Theoretical Background and Components

Spiral Curriculum

Bruner (1960) proposed a "spiral curriculum" concept to facilitate structuring a curriculum around the great issues, principles, and values that society deems worthy of continual concern. He described this spiral curriculum as an appropriate way to teach highly structured bodies of knowledge like mathematics, physical sciences, and even the field of history (Bruner, 1960). Bruner's spiral curriculum model has since been applied in many fields. For example, DiBiasio and colleagues (DiBiasio, Clark, Dixon, Comparini, & O'Connor, 1999) applied Bruner's spiral model in a chemical engineering curriculum to emphasize learning through engagement in open-ended projects while revisiting concepts periodically with "ever-increasing sophistication" (p. 15). The innovative curriculum was intended not only to increase technical proficiency, but also to retain more students in the program by improving teamwork skills, motivation, interest, and confidence (DiBiasio et al., 1999). Because the scientific method can be seen as a continuous loop of steps, the steps should be repeated or jumped over according to the problem, like in the spiral curriculum. In this paper, we present a spiral creative model used in the process of scientific inquiry for enlightenment by using overlapped patterns. This Program for Enlightened and Productive Creativity (PEPC) is described as quantum stages through which one might advance to the next level according to the individual's ability. …

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