Teachers' implicit theories of creativity

Maury Anton Lesser, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' implicit theories of creativity and to examine the relationship between these implicit theories and experts' explicit theories. Statements describing typical student creative behaviors were collected from 20 teachers and evaluated, yielding a list of 30 (Implicit) statements. A second group of statements was taken from the general literature on creativity and evaluated yielding a second list of 30 (Explicit) statements. The subjects were 34 teachers separated into two groups, each evaluating either the Implicit or Explicit statement lists. Subjects engaged in a Q-sort task, arranging their lists into groups under 12 group names (delineators) and rating the contribution of each statement to its group on a 7-point Likert-type scale. Four methods of analysis were used: (a) hierarchical cluster analysis; (b) hierarchical cluster analysis with outliers removed; (c) two-dimensional nonmetric multidimensional scaling; and (d) hierarchical cluster analysis on the output of the multidimensional scaling. Correlation coefficients were calculated between the implicit and explicit data sets using the weighted scores from the initial data collection. Method 2 was discarded as the removal of outliers did not improve the data analysis. Across the three methods of analysis used, results indicated some clear patterns. Teachers consistently subsumed their implicit theories of creativity under four of the original delineators: Innovation, Flexibility, Motivation, and Elaboration. In addition, Focus, Redefinition, and Originality appear in two of the three methods. Explicit theories of creativity were subsumed under five of the original delineators: Innovation, Motivation, Focus, Redefinition, and Risk Taking. Across all methods of analysis, two delineators (Innovation and Motivation) emerge as common elements to both Implicit and Explicit theories. Correlations were significant between full implicit and explicit data sets in two of the three methods of analysis. Correlations between common factor sets were not significant. The results of this study indicate that teachers' implicit theories of creativity share a number of common factors with experts' explicit theories. The study also provides a methodology for collaborative consultation with teachers as it provides an empirical rationale whereby current implicit concepts can be compared with explicit content for in-service training.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Lesser, Maury Anton, "Teachers' implicit theories of creativity" (1994). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9511222.