Critique of Creativity Written by James, Gerard, and Vagt-Traore

Chen Tzu Su (Theresa)
Indiana University in Bloomington

Brief Overview

Creativity is a relatively new topic in the field. Although there reminds many difficulties to approaching this field but there are already many theories (Sternberg & Lubart, 1996). This chapter discusses the concept of creativity, as well as the implications for teaching and learning. The purpose of this chapter is to raise a general discussion about different creative strategies utilized in the teaching environment. After reading this chapter, as a teacher we will have better idea about the strengths and drawbacks of different kinds of creative actives.

Key Points

  • In recent years, two approaches dominate the research literature: process-oriented models of creativity and systems-oriented models. Process-oriented models concentrate on cognitive aspects of creativity; while systems-oriented models take a broader approach to creativity that involves non-cognitive factors as well as cognitive ones.
  • Lubart (Sternberg & Lubart, 1996; Lubart, 2000) points out that the consensus among researcher to define creativity as the production of both novel and appropriate work is a product-oriented, “western” definition and the assessment of creative work can only be done in the social and historical context of its making.
  • Geneplore model is a recent approach to identify the cognitive process and structures involved in creative thinking. It distinguishes between generative processes and explorative processes. Through generative processes individuals construct preinventive structures which can later be interpreted through explorative processes and then used to develop creative products.
  • Not to much surprisingly, motivation is a strong driver of creativity (Sternberg&Lubart, 1996). Amabile has identified intrinsic motivation as more likely to produce creative results than extrinsic motivation and she came up with six strategies which may influence intrinsic motivation.

Strengths and Weaknesses


The title of the chapter is clear. In addition, the contents outline also help to provide sufficient information for readers to grasp the idea about what information they are going to read. And it also helps readers to build an organized learning about creativity.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Coinciding with this chapter, the author provides some Power Points slides and movies. As a reader, I think these help to memorize the content easier and help to understand the content in an organized way. It is also creative as is the topic of this chapter. Perhaps this is the advantage of a Wikibook-to not only provide text resources but video, audio and animations as well. When such information is added, powerful learning can occur.

The example, “Meet Mr. Kabo” is well designed. It clearly points out that the problem and solution finally end up with the authors’ description. Besides, in the latter section, the authors will connect the theories or strategies with the case study so that reader can have a concrete image not just an abstract idea.

Quick Tips for Enhancing Creativity in the Classroom. I think this section is extremely helpful and conservative. After read so many strategies and then the author give readers a summary so that readers can check if they already learned form the previous content, and also read it as a review.


Amabile proposed an idea that intrinsic motivation is more likely to produce creative results than extrinsic motivation and she then proposes six strategies to enhance intrinsic motivation. However, I found some of the strategies problematic. First, some strategies do not provide strong support for Amabile’s idea. For instance, I do not see Organization Support strategy as an intrinsic motivation enhancement but rather extrinsic motivation. To name one of the examples, passing a bill to support new funding. This enhancement may not work to elicit the interest from learners or provide a better learning environment. Second, the authors over emphasized the benefit of diverse work groups, but ignored other influential factors. While working in groups, some students tend to dominate other group members, in that case, the result may only attribute by individual rather then group. Besides, attempt to enhance creative motivation by work-group has many limitation, such as age. Learners in lower lever may not develop enough ability to organize project plans. They may need plenty of instructions from instructors. However, too much assistant may deprive students of freedom and hamper learners’ creativities.

The authors mentioned a potential the conflict and concern involving the time costs between teachers and students in the resources strategy column. I think this discussion is not properly located in the chapter in one of the six strategies. The authors may expand another section to discuss about the difficulties or limitations to implement creativity in the classroom.

In the Freedom Section, author mentions the Six C’s of Motivation. However, this is an independent chapter; readers first read this chapter may not know what Six C’s is so that can’t see its association with Amabile’s six strategies. If the author can make a more coherent connection, then readers will focus them better.

The authors didn’t strongly stand out their position. In this chapter, the authors provide many theories developed from others and contain few personal opinions such as questions or disapproval or approval. However, a reasonable explanation might be inferred that creativity is a new field for most of the researchers including the authors. As a result, before the development of additional theories, the authors may not want to pass any judgments.


Through this chapter, I have learned the concept of creativity and how intrinsic motivation works in the creative process. But the most impressive part for me is the implications for teaching and learning. Although some of them are not well developed, they functions as an observation for me to think about how can I improve them and implicate those strategies in my own class. On the other hand some of the strategies provide good models for instructors. For examples, I learned that sufficient freedom and positive feedback are necessary to booster the development of learners’ creativity but it should also have some constraint. Therefore, how do keep the balance between freedom and constraint will be a new problem for me to find out the solution.

Creativity is a new field in teaching and learning, but new does not mean it cannot be implemented in a real teaching environment. Though we may not have extensive or accurate information about it, we can still embed aspects of it in our teaching. During the implementation of creativity, we will discover more problems, debate issues and even develop still more theories.