Facilitating Creativity Study

Facilitating Creativity Study

In the spring of 2007, Dr. Michael Hanchett Hanson and his students in the Master’s concentration in Creativity and Cognition at Columbia Teachers College completed a study of the ways in which LTA teaching artists and classroom teachers encourage creativity among participating students. In addition to observing the ways that art projects, teaching styles, and school contexts contribute to creativity in LTA, the study was designed to help develop tools for professional development and recommendations for future, more in-depth studies of creativity.

Four LTA residencies containing a range of teaching styles and projects were selected for the study. The research team conducted structured classroom observations, pre- and post-interviews, and analysis of student artwork over the course of the residencies. A range of criteria were developed to mark and track teaching artists’ behaviors, use of language and questions, use of physical space, and other aspects of the LTA program hypothesized to promote creative development.

The research team compiled the analysis, observations, and interviews to determine where there was consensus of the best creativity-focused practices of the LTA program. Teaching artists were found to consistently use the following methods in their practice:

  • Modeling of artists’ thinking and working processes
  • Addressing, understanding, and treating students as artists
  • Implementing cross-modal thinking
  • Thoughtful and explicit use of language and questions
  • Classroom teacher involvement

To learn more, find case studies and in-depth explanations of the best practices on the right sidebar of this page. These documents have been edited for online publication.