Giftedness and creativity are intertwined concepts. Most people never investigate what these concepts actually mean. For a gifted educator, this is our daily conundrum. We are tasked with finding and nurturing both. Although I don't see the concepts as separate, in this post, I would like to address just the concept of creativity.
Part of the SPACE curriculum is focused on helping students understand giftedness so they can better understand themselves. I am currently teaching two curricular units to address the affective needs of gifted students. The first unit is the Take Five: Five Traits of Competent Kids by Dent and Craig. The second unit is Learning to Be a Durable Person by Hennenfent. Both units help students understand themselves and their gifted traits better. Both address the issue of creativity and how creative traits can be misunderstood.
Recently in a discussion with my adult daughter, we discussed issues she was having due to being the "creative" person in her job. She is a graphic designer for a web hosting company. As a former SPACE student, she was able to recognize how everyone in her company uses creativity, but she is seen as the only "creative" person in the company. On the other hand, her supervisors and co-workers do not see their own creativity. This conversation reminded me that we live in a world where creativity is misunderstood.
This point was further reinforced in some professional reading I am doing. I am reading Investigating Creativity in Youth by Fishkin, Cramon and Olszewski-Kubilis. The book addresses over sixty years of research into the concept of creativity and how to develop creative talent. Sixty years of information and still most of the world does not understand creativity. Will the unique individuals ever be well understood?
Does this sadden me? Yes. Does this leave me hopeless? No.
Creative individuals are such unique beings. They are hard to understand. They are different. That is why there are programs like SPACE. Creative individuals need love, support, encouragement and the resources to develop their potential. Sometimes we need reminders of how important it is to support the growth and understanding of creativity. Today was one of those days.