University of Arkansas, Fayetteville


Divergent thinking is a 21st century skill that allows individuals to create innovative ways to alleviate societal burdens by finding new solutions to old problems. However, creativity is often overlooked or ignored in the classroom environment because the rigid atmosphere of authority does not allow for the simultaneous use of multiple cognitive abilities. What can teachers do, or are they doing, to ensure that divergent thinking is fostered in their classrooms? Three surveys were administered to 32 elementary school teachers to determine if there is a disconnect between what teachers believe fosters creativity with actual practices within the classroom. Survey responses indicate that teachers' personal beliefs, knowledge of creativity, and teaching practices do not indicate that they are fostering creativity in their classes. While teachers would like to provide more lessons that promote divergent thinking and foster creativity, mandatory standardized testing limits their ability to implement these activities.