The Relationship Between Accountability and Creativity

Imagine this graph represents the possible relationships between accountability and creativity.

Accountability vs Creativity  graph

Where would you put the activities you do as a school?  Here are some examples of activities some school do, and where I think they lie on the accountability vs creativity scale.

Accountability vs Creativity with some ideas

What you may notice about this graph is that, for the most part, activities which hold schools and students highly accountability are not associated generally with creativity and that activities which are highly creative can fall short of being very accountable.  It’s not a perfect graph, and I think that some of the examples could be moved, but the idea I think is pretty clear: the more you increase accountability, the less flexible the activity, and hence the less ability for students to be creative while completing the activity.

Accountability in this sense means how the activity and the student’s performance of that activity, is shared with the student, the teachers, the school, and the wider community.  Standardized tests are considered a "highly accountability" activity simply because everyone has access to how well pretty much any school did, and educators within those schools generally have access to their individual marks, and of course students get feedback about how well they did.

Creative activities to me are generally areas where the student has a lot of choice on how the activity will be completed, and how they will complete the activity.  These are often the types of activities that I think students will actually be able to do once they finish their education, and according to Sir Ken Robinson, our schools fail to provide opportunities to students to do them.

There are a few activities which fall with higher accountability and decent ability for students to be creative, and we often find that these activities are not ones which are done by most schools.  Anyway, I’m sure the model I have up there is imperfect, so I invite you to follow this link to this collaborative Google drawing I’ve started, and we can add other activities to this chart.

 

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2 Comments

  • James McConville wrote:

    Hi David,
    Great post to get us thinking. One thing would be great on a third chart is the placement of external and internal (personal) accountability. I’d make the assumption that personalized project based learning would have the highest personal engagment and accountability… just a thought…
    James

  • David Wees wrote:

    Yeah this version of accountability certainly doesn’t take into account personal engagement or self-directed learning. Certainly many of the activities which have a low external accountability might have a very large personal accountability. Great point.

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