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Todd Kettler Reflects on NAGC

January 25, 2010

As it turns out, the cognitive mirrors floating in the cranial suitcase of some take longer to cast reflections than the similar cognitive mirrors in others. But time is a tricky medium adding interesting detail to memory, so reflect I shall.

I had a wonderful experience at the National Association for Gifted Children Conference (NAGC) in St. Louis this fall. I attended several great presentations, attended a work session for a committee on which I serve, made my way to numerous receptions mastering the art of making dinner of finger food, and made three smashing presentations myself. I had dinner with some of the greatest thinkers in gifted education, and made a small donation to a black jack table at a riverboat casino.

Below is a list of some of the presentors I found to be particularly captivating, dynamic, and informative:
James Kaufman, “Championing Creativity in the Classroom and Curriculum”
Bonnie Cramond “Championing Creativity in the Classroom and Curriculum”
Mattthew Makel “Championing Creativity in the Classroom and Curriculum”
Marcia Gentry “Grouping for Instruction: Perspectives, Issues, and Applications”
Rena Subotnik and Christopher Kolar “ Evaluating Secondary STEM Education Over Time: What Should We Ask? How Will We Get Responses?”
Ann Robinson “If You Build It, They Will Come: Advocacy by Evidence”
Bob Seney “What’s New in Young Adult Literature”
Howard Gardner “Multiple Intelligences: The First 25 Years
Howard Gardner and Dean Keith Simonton “Larger Than Life: Exploring the Lives of Eminent Creators”

I would like to focus on one particular session that I attended and found of particular interest, James Kaufman “Championing Creativity in the Classroom and Curriculum”

Kaufman is an emerging expert in creativity and talked about varying degrees of creativity. Historically creative ability has been talked about as C (big C) and c (little C). Big C creative abilities are the great creators like Picasso, Joyce, and Mozart. Little c abilities refer to the creative abilities the average person may have to create a scrapbook or decorate boxes for Christmas gifts. Kaufman made a case for expanding this two part distinction to a four part distinction in describing creative ability. Big C is still eminent level creativity. But just below it he adds Professional C. Professional level creativity are those who make their living as creative workers whether painters, musical artists, actors, or writers. They may never be eminent but they are creative enough to make a living performing their art or craft. Just below Professional C Kaufman adds County Fair C. County Fair level of creativity is more of an advanced hobby level. The person with this level of creativity may not be making a living at his craft, but may have the talent to enter works in a show her and there and receive recognition for the talent. Little c still represents those creative insights each of us can have whether a new idea for a recipe or a new lyric to jazz up a holiday song or a new method of keeping your dryer lint free. I think Kaufman’s distinctions are helpful in thinking about what creativity really. Many people may claim to not be creative, but I believe everyone has little c creative ability. Perhaps the way Kaufman explains it will help both kids and adults realize that creative ability is in all of us waiting to be developed.

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