Traditionally, research tells us that creativity has been largely associated with the arts. Our previous research has shown that teachers are often able to give examples of creative activity in arts subjects, but find it harder to do so when asked to describe creativity in subjects such as science.

But there is a growing realization that opportunities to be creative are found across a broader range of subjects. For instance, engineering provides opportunities to be creative through problem solving, and history gives the opportunity to think creatively about why events happened, and what motivated those involved.

Research has shown that training teachers to ask particular types of questions can be one way to help support creativity across the curriculum. This is because generating solutions to problems and explanations are creative processes, and these are vital if children are to have a “complete education”.

Our research also shows how it can be more helpful to talk about “thinking creatively” rather than “creativity.” This is because people tend to see thinking creatively as independence of thought and a willingness to take risks and seek new perspectives. It is also seen as a way to perceive new relationships, make new connections, and generate new ideas.

Moving creativity forward

The Durham Creativity Commission is a collaboration between Arts Council England and Durham University that aims to identify ways in which creativity, and specifically creative thinking, can play a larger part in our lives.

We are working alongside people in education, as well as businesses and arts and science communities, collecting their views on creativity and creative thinking. We will also be looking across these groups to determine whether or not there is a relationship between creativity and mobility, creativity and identity as well as creativity and well-being. We hope to be able to show that thinking creatively can not only be encouraged and furthered in a variety of contexts, but can also lead to positive outcomes on a personal, social, and economic level.

In a rapidly changing world, creativity is important for people and society on many levels—it can help to generate personal satisfaction and be important for economic development. This is why creative thinking must be a key priority in educational environments.

In the same way, creativity must also be recognized and encouraged in the workplace. Because, after all, it’s creative thinking that leads to problem solving and innovation in a range of areas.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

📬 Sign up for the Daily Brief

Our free, fast, and fun briefing on the global economy, delivered every weekday morning.