Creativity by Design


Presented by Cherice Montgomery, Ph.D.
of Brigham Young University
at the New Jersey Education Association/Foreign Language Educators of New Jersey Conference
Atlantic City, NJ
November 4, 2010 from 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

Description: Craft compelling, standards-based learning environments and experiences for students by using playful pedagogies extracted from research on creativity, design, expertise, literacy, problem representation, and visual cognition.


  • Participants will define creativity and explain why it is considered an essential 21st Century skill.
  • Participants will assess their own creativity and evaluate it in light of their professional domains.
  • Participants will articulate the relationships between cultural values and creativity.
  • Participants will explore characteristics and conditions commonly associated with creativity.
  • Participants will identify and examine examples of key elements of the creative process.

Guiding Questions:

  • What do we mean by creativity (individually, professionally, societally, culturally)?
    • How do we know when something is creative?
    • In what ways is creativity supported/constrained by cultural values?
    • Why is it easier to be creative in some settings than in others and what conditions seem to foster creativity?
  • Why is creativity a fundamental element of learning?
    • What does the research on conceptual transfer, creativity, the diffusion of innovations, and distributed cognition teach us about learning?
    • How does creativity influence possibilities for personal change, professional development, transformative learning, and social problem solving?
    • How might principles of creativity inform the design of compelling language learning environments and experiences that foster and support creativity?
    • How do key elements of the creative process align with key principles of second language acquisition?

Key Concepts:

What research-based concepts provide the foundation for this session?

  • Creativity - Creative self-expression supports knowledge integration (Vygotsky, 1978; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Eisner, 2002)

  • Flow - Key principles for keeping students engaged and "in the zone" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996)

  • Motivation - The whats, whys, and hows of breakdowns in learning (Deci & Ryan, 2001)

  • Multiple Representations - Changes what students can see & understand (Ainsworth & Loizou, 2003; Ainsworth & Van Labeke, 2002; Boland, et. al, 2001; Minsky, 1974; Mishra & Nguyen-Jahiel, 1998)

  • Networks of Conceptual Associations - Critical implications for approaches that are likely to facilitate language acquisition and vocabulary development (Bransford, 1999; Ma, 1999; Siemens, 2005; Siemens, 2008; Spiro, Feltovich, Jacobsen, & Coulsen, 1991; Holden & Von Kortzfleisch, 2004)

  • Transfer - Recontextualization increases students' ability to transfer their learning to new situations

  • Transliteracy & Transformative Learning - Carefully crafting multifaceted, layered learning environments and experiences empowers students to change the world (Thomas, et. al, 2007; Thomas, 2008; Cazden, et. al, 1996; Leu, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004; Thomas; Burbules & Callister, 2000)

  • Visual Cognition - Supports memory, problem-solving, representation, self-expression (Anderson & Woodill, 2004; McLoughlin & Krakowski, 2001; Moore, Cohen, & Ranganath, 2006)

Creative Process

  • Preparation (Interest, Attention)

  • Immersion (Contexts, Information, Problems)

  • Incubation (Relaxation, Flow, Play)

  • Feedback & Evaluation

  • Insight

  • Elaboration (Variation, Iteration, Innovation)

  • Validation

  • Recursion

For materials from Cherice's other FLENJ session, please visit


Prole, Ivan. (2008, December 2). Wooden pencils in line. Stock Xchng. Retrieved November 3, 2010, from Used under a standard Stock Xchng License.