Numerous initiatives and resources are available to implement creativity within the classroom, but even less to identify students with outstanding creative abilities within the academic setting.

Typically, if we consider the emergence of creativity within the classroom, we look for markers of giftedness or novel expression as markers of creative intelligence within content areas—fine arts, math, science, literature, etc. In this limited initial assessment of remnants of creative abilities, we may ask any of the following questions to help us identify some form of individual creative achievement:

Does the student have an exceptional conceptual understanding of the domain?

Is the student extremely gifted in the recognition of patterns or organizational criteria needed to master the subject?

Is the student able to restructure and process the technical information of the domain into new ideas easily?

All these questions can be applied easily to any academic category to determine the likelihood of creative capacities. Still, while we would typically only assess a student’s creative capacity as it relates to content areas in which we can place a numerical value for grading, it’s also important to note that students may demonstrate extraordinary creative abilities in non-academic areas, such as through social relations.

Identifying Talent in the Social Domain

Gregory Feist described talent in the social domain as interpersonal and intrapersonal, an ability to easily organize groups, mediate conflict, and play effectively good team member. Therefore, even when students may not necessarily appear to be as artistically, mathematically, or scientifically skilled as other members of their peer group, their creative abilities may far exceed others in the social domain.

These students frequently show advanced skills in maintaining good relationships and generally possess healthy circles of friends. They have also been described as leaders and diplomats of the playground who can respond easily to the thoughts and feelings of fellow playmates and can regulate their desires and impulses easily. Students with exceptional ability within the social domain can more easily recognize, understand, express, manage, and use emotions more accurately and effectively than their peers.

The Benefits of Social Intelligence

These developed social abilities, like testing, also show a strong correlation to the likelihood of future academic and professional achievement. It’s, therefore just as important, especially as we develop new methods to identify the fields in which students are likely to succeed, which traditionally has been based on standardized testing, that we also pay special attention to the effect that social engagement can play in determining their overall creative intelligence.

Creativity can be identified in many ways and across subject areas, but it’s extremely important that we recognize that student creativity isn’t limited to traditional academic domains.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Monitoring our students for hidden talent and creative potential requires an examination of them as a whole person. We are too often focused on standardized testing and meeting state and local educational requirements. Still, we must learn the best traits of each student because their interests and skills extend far beyond our individual content areas.
  2. There is much more focus on social development in the early grades of K-12 education, but we must continue to monitor and develop healthy relationships with our students.
  3. We need to celebrate and reward a student’s ability to be highly proficient in social interactions because it is just as crucial of a creative skill as everything else!

Vincent Andrews works primarily as a Humanities Instructor and high school art teacher. He also is a creativity/life coach working with individuals to reach their individual goals. Vincent is extremely interested in cultivating creativity in education and organizations and his research is focused on identifying creative aptitude within specific domains, in addition to understanding the relationship between prevalent educational/training structures and the creative confidence of its participants that ensues as a result of these structures.

Listen to our Fueling Creativity in Education podcast episode with Vincent here!

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