Teaching Creativity Takes Mistakes

Being creative means making mistakes. The research is perfectly clear that more successful creators don’t have many ideas, they just have more. Many more bad –> a few more good.

I want my students to be creative. I want my children to be creative. Giving them a safe place to make mistakes is important, but it isn’t enough.

We need to let them see us make mistakes, grapple with them. See us have bad ideas that lead to good ones. See us try, fail, then get up and try again.

If they don’t see their mentors actively grappling with creativity, they won’t attempt it themselves.

We all fail creatively, but how often do we talk about it? Next time a program doesn’t work, a choir doesn’t get polished the way you though it would, a rehearsal plan goes off the rails: why not share it with your students or children? Sit down, and talk at a meta-cognitive level about the process, the failure, the next step.

It will go over some of their heads, sure; but for many, it will be an example of creativity that they can apply to their own lives.

Can creativity itself be taught? Maybe not directly, but it can be modeled, discussed, and emulated. That’s almost as good.