Bilingualism and creativity: An educational perspective.
In this chapter, I present the results of the empirical investigation of an impact of multilingual practice on an individual’s creative potential. The relationship between these two human endeavors has received little attention in the scientific community. The chapter makes an attempt to resuscitate this theme and provides a solid theoretical framework supported by contemporary empirical research conducted in different geographic, linguistic, and sociocultural locations. These studies demonstrate that multilinguals’ age of acquisition of their languages, proficiency in these languages, and experience with cultural settings in which these languages were acquired have a positive impact on selective attention and language mediated concept activation mechanisms, which together facilitate generative and innovative capacities of creative thinking. I have expanded the scope of my research and implemented these findings in education. After reviewing the empirical evidence concerning multilingualism and creativity, respectively, I propose a new program that includes teaching strategies from both fields, a unified Bilingual Creative Education program. This program is grounded in several conceptual premises. Specifically, it aims at facilitation of the overall linguistic, intellectual, and creative competences of young children regardless of their intellectual and creative predispositions. It is designed for both migrants who speak their native language and attempt to acquire the language of the migration country and autochthones who want to acquire a foreign language simultaneously with their mother tongue. The purpose of the program is to introduce students to a school curriculum in two languages and to foster four defining aspects of creativity: novelty, utility, aesthetics, and authenticity. To accomplish this goal, the program utilizes the holistic approach, which combines cognitive, personal, and environmental factors in education. This approach implicates five essential educational attributes: personal, cognitive, administrative, contextual, and curricular. The chapter discusses these attributes and provides specific directions for the implementation of the program.