Reilly, Rosemary C.
Is expertise a necessary precondition for creativity? A case of four novice learning group facilitators.
Thinking Skills and Creativity, 3
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.tsc.2008.02.002
Many North American theorists conceptualize expertise as preceding creativity. The rationale is, that in order to be truly creative, one must master a field so remarkable contributions can be made. Therefore, in order to be truly creative one must be an expert in a structured and codified
domain. This inquiry attempted to examine the relationship between expert thinking skills and creativity in an ill-defined domain, embedded in the community of practice of group facilitation whose goal was to support learning. Using an instrumental case study approach to explore a
unique system embedded in a naturalistic context, the case was comprised of a team of four female novice group facilitators, functioning as teaching assistants for learning task groups of university students. Various sources were drawn upon in order to map this group as a coherent knowing system. Debriefing sessions and interviews were transcribed and coded using a category string method in order to retain a holistic sensibility to the analysis. The codes revealed that the system displayed characteristics of shared expertise and social creativity. The overall pattern of creative response closely followed those of expertise. The codes for expertise generally preceded those instances of creativity, suggesting that creativity does need to rely on expert thinking skills. However, this inquiry suggests expanding the notion of expertise, in that it need not be situated in a single person, but can emerge from a system of shared expertise.
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