The study, “Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System,” conducted by Edelman Berland, surveyed 4,000 K-12 and higher-ed teachers and parents of students in the United States, Germany, Australia, and the United Kingdom to compare attitudes toward creativity in education. The survey findings were broken down in an article by David Nagel of The Journal (6/24/13), “Report: Creativity Hindered in the Classroom by Testing, Mandates, Lack of Resources”.
Is Creativity in Education Important?
In terms of the economic importance of creativity in education, a full 90 percent of U.S. parents and 87 percent of U.S. educators who participated in the survey agreed or strongly agreed that “fostering creativity in education today will fuel the economies of the future.” This is contrasted severely with the attitudes of educators in Germany (65 percent agreement), Australia (67 percent), and the UK (67 percent), though parents in those countries did show stronger agreement (around 85 percent in each country).
Can Teachers Be Doing More to Teach Creativity?
In the United States, 89 percent of educators and 87 percent of parents agreed that teachers could be doing more to teach creativity but that there are barriers in the way of that change.
- Both parents (87%) and teachers (86%) agreed that there needs to be a “transformation in the way schools work” in order to foster creativity.
- They also agreed (85% teachers, 87% parents) that in order to teach creativity, educators must be given more tools and techniques.
Barriers to Creativity in American Schools
The survey identified several barriers that both teachers and parents agreed stood in the way of creativity in schools. Those barriers included:
- Schools do not allow enough time for creativity (84% parents, 79% teachers);
- Creativity is not valued by the education system (73% parents, 74% teachers);
- Schools do not have the tools required to effectively foster creativity in education (71% parents, 73% teachers); and
- Creativity is not something that can be assessed under the current education system (69% parents, 71% educators).
|Source: “Barriers to Creativity in Education: Educators and Parents Grade the System,” conducted by Edelman Berland in March 2013 and published June 2013 by Adobe.|
What Needs to be Done?
The survey also asked respondents for the single most important step that must be taken to promote and foster creativity in the classroom. The top five suggestions for parents and teachers in the United States were:
1. Provide tools and techniques for educators to teach creativity (31% parents and 28% teachers).
2. Make creativity integral to the curriculum (22% parents, 26% teachers).
3. Reduce mandates that hinder creativity (16% parents, 20% teachers).
4. Improve the curriculum (14% parents, 16% teachers).
5. Reward educators who inspire students to be creative (17% parents, 10% teachers).
“Currently, as students move from K-5 to grades 6-12 and on to higher education, creativity is increasingly treated as a specialized skill,” Tacy Trowbridge, worldwide manager of education programs at Adobe, the group that commissioned this survey, said. “Educators and parents see that the demand for creativity and creative thinking is growing — to solve complex problems and to drive future economies — yet students are less prepared to lead the innovation of tomorrow.”
Among American educators surveyed, most (54%) indicated that the role of creativity in education has changed in the last 25 years, and a larger majority (68%) said the role of creativity will be greater in education in the next 25 years – yet there is much that needs to change. While we need to keep pushing our schools and government to give creativity in education the focus it deserves, as parents, it’s important that we are at least actively nurturing creativity development at home.