On Creativity

Sarah DeBacher | October 21, 2013


This entry comes to us from GNOWP allstar Ari Zeiger. Ari attended the Summer Institute in 2012, co-facilitated it in 2013, and teaches writing (brilliantly!) at Delgado Community College.


In this short video, Sir Ken Robinson discourses on a range of subjects (from creativity to education to imagination). At last count, I’ve watched the video a dozen times. And here’s why: I just keep wondering how I might use it in my classroom. Put differently, how might this video help my students better understand themselves as “writers with power”?

Maybe like this.

First, screen the video — followed by a directed fast-write on Robinson’s ideas.

Next, discuss our written reactions as a group.

After the discussion and a second screening, students receive the following handout:


Robinson’s definition of CREATIVITY contains three traits. Please identify them below:

Those same three traits, I believe, are crucial not only to creativity but also powerful writing. Thus, I’d like you to use those traits to evaluate a piece of writing — your own or someone else’s.

Importantly, I’d also like you to “define your terms” for each trait. So please provide a one-to-two sentence description for each one.


What do you think? My hope is that students can see how Robinson’s definition of creativity (“The process of having original ideas that have value”) can serve as a beacon for better writing, can help underscore how powerful prose depends on rewriting (process), on voice (originality), and on meaning (value).