Creativity has long been viewed as a crucial skill for teachers, as well as a key target for development amongst students. Mindfulness on the other hand has gained popularity more recently in education, as student well-being and mental health needs are thought about more deeply. I recently had the wonderful opportunity to join two amazing educators in exploring the literature that examines relationship between these two areas, and how that relationship impacts the world of education. Citation, link to the article, and abstract are below.
Henriksen D., Richardson C., Shack K. (2020) Mindfulness and creativity: Implications for thinking and learning. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 37
Abstract: Mindfulness and creativity have both come to the forefront of educational interest—but a better understanding of their relationship and the implications for education is needed. This article reviews the literature on the intersection of these topics in order to understand where and how these two related but distinctive areas of research connect, and how this pertains to the complexity of education settings. Our goal is to understand findings from the literature and consider the implications for educational practice and research, with an eye to how mindfulness can be supportive to learners’ creativity. This thematic review and qualitative analysis of extant literature identifies four themes that speak to the connection between mindfulness and creativity. There is solid evidence to show a generally beneficial and supportive relationship, in that practicing mindfulness can support creativity—but many factors affect this and there are a range of considerations for practice. This article reflects on the key findings of scholarly work on the mindfulness-creativity relationship with interpretative discussion and implications for educational research and practice.
In recent years, I have had the privilege to work with an amazing collection of educators as a part of the MSU-Wipro STEM & Leadership Teaching Fellowship. One of the new learning opportunities I have had from this experience has been the process of sharing our work with the broader academic community. I have been fortunate to work on several publications with the MSUrbanSTEM team (you can find more here), including a recent publication focused on creativity in urban contexts. Citation, link to the article and, abstract are below.
Horton A., Henriksen D., Mishra P., Seals C., Shack K., Marcotte C. (2019), Creativity-and-MSUrbanSTEM-2018 In: Mullen C. (eds) Creativity Under Duress in Education? Creativity Theory and Action in Education, vol 3. Springer DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90272-2_16
Abstract: We examine the urban context of learning for the fellows in a partnership between Michigan State University (MSU) and Wipro Limited, a leading global information technology, consulting and business services company, which resulted in the Wipro Urban STEM Fellowship Program at Michigan State University (MSUrbanSTEM) program. This grant-funded fellowship provided full tuition scholarships and stipends for 124 highly motivated teachers in Chicago Public Schools (CPS) who demonstrated a passion for teaching STEM. The fellows were divided up into three cohorts. Each cohort participated in an innovative yearlong integrated learning experience to build STEM teachers’ capacity to lead and inspire transformative, innovative practices in urban K-12 schools. In this chapter, the fellows’ instructors explore how to support these teacher participants in their efforts to foster creativity in an era of intensified authority, control, and resistance. By engaging in creative pedagogies explicitly connected to disciplinary knowledge, the program aims to disrupt traditional ideologies around teaching. The mission of the MSUrbanSTEM program is to empower K-12 math and science teachers in CPS to create transformative, innovative, and multimodal instructional experiences through project-based and experiential learning experiences. Each educator participant was encouraged to engage in inquiry around how the ideas of wonder, improvisation, invention, and reflection connected with his or her subject-matter expertise. As reported by way of this case example of teacher creativity, these strategies supported the activities the teachers engaged in throughout the year. The fellowship itself provided a foundation for fellows to develop projects for reshaping aspects of their teaching practice.