namely, openness to new experience and having wide range of interest. Later, Alder (2002) proposed a more comprehensive list by adding the following characteristics -originality, energy, attraction to new and complex ideas, appreciation of art, open-mindedness, need to have a private life, and self- awareness of creativity.
2.4.4 Barriers to Creativity
A vast body of research has been conducted on different factors that block creativity. All of them resulted in lists of barriers to creativity (Adams, 1974; Arnold, 1962; Majaro, 1992). Davis (1999) stated that,
Barriers are blocks, internal or external, that either inhibit creative thinking and inspiration or else prevent innovative ideas from being accepted and implemented. Most barriers result from learning. They may originate with one’s family, peers, community, or educational environment, or from others in the culture. (p. 165)
Arnold (as cited in Proctor, 2010) identified some barriers to creativity as follows,
• Perceptual barriers: resulted from factors that inhibit true identification of the world.
• Emotional barriers: resulted from factors like fear of risk taking or making a mistake, stress, and feeling unsafe. &
• Cultural barriers: resulted from the impact of society on the individual.
Later, Adams (as cited in Sarsani, 2006) made the list more complete by adding the following factors to it:
• Environmental blocks: resulted from the impact of the immediate environment.
• Intellectual blocks: resulted from lack of flexibility in using problem-solving strategies. &
• Expressive Blocks: resulted from lack of language skills to express ideas.
Soliman (2005) classified barriers to creativity in a broader categorization: historical, biological, physiological, sociological, and psychological Barriers. He confirmed that psychological barriers, that block creativity from inside, are the most important ones. Malone (2003) identified some major psychological barriers: self-imposed barriers, conformity to one expected pattern, not trying to challenge the obvious, rush in evaluation or judgment, fear of looking stupid, lack of willingness to challenge, anxiety, and lack of faith in your own abilities.
2.4.5 Promoting Creativity
As mentioned, throughout the history there was a shift of attention to a view that it is possible to promote individual’s creativity (Hall & Lin as cited in Khandwalla, 2004). As Cropley (1999) mentioned, it is a widely held view among the theorists that “creativity is present in all people, especially children, at least as a potential, and that it emerges spontaneously if it is not inhibited or blocked” (p. 637).
Therefore, it is crucial to promote creativity both in society and education. For this reason, specific conditions were identified as factors resulted in fostering creativity (Gilbert, 2005). As indicated by Khandwalla (2004) these factors include: characteristics of people, characteristics of the environment, mental abilities, creative process of problem solving, techniques to stimulate creativity, and knowledge of the field of endeavor. Khandwalla (2004) also mentioned some problem solving techniques to promote creativity. Those techniques are as follows:
• Brainstorming: this technique resulted in producing various ideas to a given problem without being worried about the criticism of others. Finally, results are gathered, ranked, and summarized for practical solutions.
• Questions Checklist: this procedure focus on answering a list of powerful questions which resulted in finding possible ways to solve a problem.
• Attribute Changing and Morphological Analysis: the focus of these procedures is on producing a list of all the modifiable attributes of an item, and then thinking about possible ways to make a change in those attributes to come up with new ideas. The only difference between them is in the fact that in morphological analysis the focus is on general modifications instead of specific ones.
• Synectics: a technique for finding solutions to problems by making association between elements that do not seem to relate to each other. &
• Breakthrough: a technique in which problem is defined from various perspectives before brainstorming for solutions. The top solution is selected before the initiation of reverse brainstorming which makes the solution more applicable by demonstrating the possible ways in which those solutions will not work.
Sletzer and Bently (as cited in Gilbert, 2005) believed that some factors should be available in the learning environment in order to stimulate creativity. Those factors are: freedom, faith, diversity in context, mutual exchange of knowledge and opinions, balance between skills and challenges, and real world outcomes. The same view is held by Hota (2000) indicating that it is possible to promote creativity by putting individual in a highly standard educational environment. He mentioned some factors like school context, non-evaluative climate of class, teachers’ attitudes and roles, methodology of teaching, and techniques in asking question as possible ways to promote creativity.
2.4.6 Important Cognitive Processes Involved in Creativity
Guilford (as cited in Russ and Fiorelli, 2010) identified divergent thinking and transformation abilities as main categories of cognitive processes important in creativity. Russ (1993) stated that,
Divergent production abilities were uniquely important in the creative process. Guilford thought that the key concept underlying divergent production abilities is variety. One can generate a variety of solutions to a problem or associations to a word. Divergent thinking is thinking that goes off in different directions. (p. 5)
Agars et al. (2008) described divergent thinking as the analysis of various responses to questions when no clear single answer is available. Guilford (as cited in Kaufman, 2009) identified the main components of divergent production as follows:
• Fluency: Number of ideas comes to the mind;
• Flexibility: Number of categories one can name;
• Originality: Uncommon ideas one can produce; &
• Elaboration: The potential to expand those ideas.
Kaufman (2009) pointed to the fact that, “creativity doesn’t necessarily just divergent thinking” (p. 18). As mentioned earlier, transformation abilities constitute another category of abilities important in creativity. These abilities enable the individual to understand the information, think out of the box, break a set, and transform the known patterns into the unknown new ones (Russ & Fiorelli, 2010).
As cited in King and Anderson (2002), Sternberg and Davidson confirmed that creativity is, to some extent, the result of the ability which is called insightful thinking and consists of three processes: (1) selective encoding: the ability to identify useful pieces of information, (2) selective combination: the ability to recognize the best way to combine different pieces of information, and (3) selective comparison: the ability to identify the relation between new information and old one that already exist.
Weisberg (as cited in Russ, 1993) believed that creativity is the ability to match the existing knowledge with the situation. In fact, his view of creativity was in line with Guilford’s view which point to the fact that creativity consists of simple abilities available in all people.
2.4.7 Researches on Creativity
There are also many studies conducted on, creativity, here is the report of some of these studies:
Pishgaddam (2011) conducted a study in this regard. This study aims at examining the relationship between learner creativity and performance in written narrative tasks in the context of Iranian EFL students. To this end, a sample of 222 EFL students from four universities in Mashhad (Iran) participated in this study. This study involved measuring the participants’ creativity using creativity test and eliciting written narrative performance from the participants with the help of a narrative task. The task involved two parts of narrating a story on the basis of a picture and writing a memory. Correlation and ANOVA were used to analyze the data. The results exhibited a significant relationship between learners’ performance in written narrative tasks and their total creativity and also with some sub constructs of creativity: fluency, originality and flexibility.
Another research is conducted by Ghonsooly (2012).This study aimed at investigating the relationship between creativity and burnout among Iranian EFL teachers with respect to gender differences. In so doing, an exploratory/descriptive study was applied with a sample size of 100 male and female classroom teachers. A survey was given to English language teachers in 12 English language institutes from all over the city of Mashhad. Weak correlations were found between creativity and the two dimensions of burnout, i.e., emotional exhaustion, depersonalization. However, a fairly significant correlation was observed between creativity and reduced personal accomplishment. Further, by running two way ANOVA it was revealed that gender did not influence the relationship between reduced personal accomplishment and the creativity index.
Hajilou (2012) also carried out a research regarding creativity. This study aimed to determine the relationship between creativity on one hand and lexical reception and production knowledge of Iranian EFL students on the other hand. The data were collected using three tests: a creativity test (Torrance, 1990), the Vocabulary Levels Test (Schmitt, Schmitt, & Clapham, 2001), and the Productive Version of the Vocabulary Levels Test (Laufer & Nation, 1995) which were administered to a group of 141 Iranian undergraduate students majoring in English Translation and Literature at Arak and Qom universities. The results demonstrated that there was not a high correlation between creativity on one