Books on creativity are not hard to come by these days, but finding a good one is another matter. Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas have a well-established track record as experts in learning and have applied this understanding to creativity. Be Creative is one of a series of personal development guides produced by the BBC; an audio CD is also available for each one (priced separately). The series is targeted at developing the skills demanded by a rapidly changing world - skills that can be used in our personal as well as our professional lives.
Claxton and Lucas take the view that everybody is creative, and explain how to create the right conditions to benefit from this capability. The title of the book is an invitation to us all to explore our potential; being creative is "what you need to be when there is no section in the manual to tell you how to deal with this situation, and your reflex problem-solving responses aren't up to it".
The concise and clear text provides a practical and common-sense view of creativity interspersed by exercises, quizzes and case studies that are guaranteed to get creative thoughts flowing. One perceptive insight, for example, is knowing the importance of cultivating a frame of mind that embraces doubt, uncertainty and mystery; consciously deferring the moment when we arrive at "the right answer". Consequently this book will be of particular interest to teachers, especially those familiar with Guy Claxton's excellent book Building Learning Power and with the notion that learning is "knowing what to do when you don't know what to do".
There is a wealth of material here that can be used by teachers to develop creativity in themselves as well as their pupils. This book tantalises us with the realisation that learning and creativity are close, and possibly inseparable, companions. For those who are grappling with the challenge of putting creativity back into the classroom.
NICK SORENSEN Nick Sorensen is an independent education consultant. Website: www.