Creativity Killers

The following seven conditions are commonly known as the "creativity killers." Unfortunately, they are all commonplace in our schools and home. Are we, as teachers and parents, participating constructively in our children's creative development? Do we believe that the intrinstic motivation that lives in all of us can give children the greatest sense of accomplishment and ownership during the process of creating?


Hovering over kids, making them feel that they're constantly being watched while they are working, under constant observation, the risk-taking, creative urge goes underground and hides.


When we constantly make kids worry about how they are doing, they ignore satisfaction with their accomplishments.


The excessive use of prizes - it deprives a child of the intrinsic pleasure of creative activity.


Putting kids in a win-lose situation, where only one person can come out on top. It negates the process children progress at their own rates.


Constantly telling kid how to do things, often leaves children feeling like their originality is a mistake and any exploration a waste of time.

Restricting choice

Telling children which activities they should engage in instead of letting them follow where their curiosity and passion lead. It restricts active exploration and experimentation that might lead to creative discovery and production.


Establishing grandiose expectations for a child's performance which often ends up instilling aversion for a subject or activity. Unreasonably high expectations often pressure children to perform and conform within strictly prescribed guidelines, and, again, deter experimentation, exploration, and innovation. Grandiose expectations are often beyond children's developmental capabilities.

Summarized from:
Goleman, Kaufman & Ray (1992) The creative spirit, p.61-62.