Posted by: sherrattsam | November 29, 2010

What is creativity?

I love this page from Alan Fletcher’s “The Art of Looking Sideways”. We are all sure that we need to inject more creativity into education, but we are all unsure about what creativity actually means! Fletcher’s attributes of creativity work well for me! How about you?



  1. So thrilled to find someone else who loves that book…. As I say in my blog post on inspiring libraries — — I think no library should be without “The Art of Looking Sideways” by Alan Fletcher. I have a YouTube video of the man embedded in that blog post — fascinating to listen to him (he’s now dead….).

    The book is a brilliant source of inspiration for everyone. My own kids used it for Theory of Knowledge papers, I use quotes and images from it for unusual library displays, and I even give it as a wedding present to special people. The ultimate coffee table book — in the best sense of the word.

    • Absolutely the best book I have come across in years. Like you, it almost forms part of everything I do! I gave a coffee to some people who have inspired me recently and I think I’ll always do that – what better gift could there be?

  2. Sam – my challenge also – how can I be more creative in the classroom, as a teacher and educator. I’m on a learning journey – and I’m glad that I’ve got these blogs to think about, share and learn from.

    • It’s nice to be part of your journey! I like to think about Arthur Koestler’s quote when making sure I am creative in my teaching approaches:

      “Creativity is the defeat of habit by originality.”

      Creativity can just be a matter of constantly trying new things, new aproaches, new strategies and not sticking to the same old plans year in and year out!

  3. Hi Sam,

    The same question I had a while ago and was curious how a teacher can actually model creativity in the classroom. Most of what we use – ideas, web resources, actual content – are the fruit of other people’s work. We do not reinvent the wheel every single day…
    So where is the place of creativity?
    As you say, I think trying new things – may they be new strategies, activities, approaches to teaching something, even the way you connect with students – is the only way to tackle the routine that so often clings onto us because it is comfortable.
    I try to think that I am a creative teacher (I looked over your list and ticked, metaphorically speaking, most of them ). 🙂 “Taking advantage of the unexpected”needs to be worked on.

  4. I really like that… “Taking advantage of the unexpected” is such a good way to define creativity, and it applies so beautifully to teaching. I was chatting with Chris, a friend and colleague, today and he was telling me about what his students have been doing recently. We have all been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution recently and some of Chris’ students decided they’d like to learn some of Jamie’s recipes. Chris allowed them to do this andset up times in the secondary school kitchen so they could follow through with it. He was not expecting that development… but he took advantage of it.

    This is a great example of “creative teaching” that Alan Fletcher’s definition helps us to recognise as “creative”!!!

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