‘For a Good Poet's Made, as Well as Born’: The Relational Ontology of Shakespeare’s Genius
Wendy Ross & Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau
(Accepted in Creativity: Theories - Research - Applications)
Folk and scholarly conjectures on the nature of creative genius are often reductionist: The explanation centres on the person, the creator, transcending the more prosaic forces that shape everyday, routine cognition. Focusing on the alleged extraordinary character of a creator deflects attention from the emergent, distributed and relational nature of creativity. A more productive research agenda considers a range of factors, operating at different time scales, that guide and constrain the manufacture of creativity. We argue that a transactional perspective is particularly fruitful for the analysis of the dramatic work of William Shakespeare. Drama is an inherently relational art form created by the writer, the director, actors and audience. Further Shakespeare’s output is a palimpsest of classical texts and writers contemporary to him, and was shaped by practical constraints. Viewing his work as situated in an historical time period and in a dialogue with other voices gives us a fuller account of the ontological locus of his creativity.
Mental Arithmetic and Interactivity: The Effect of Manipulating External Number Representations on Older Children’s Mental Arithmetic Success
Wendy Ross, Frédéric Vallée-Tourangeau & Jo Van Herwegen
The use of manipulative artifacts is widespread throughout the early years of education but declines as children progress through primary education. Forty-three children aged between 7 and 9 years old took part in an experiment to determine if artifacts aid long additions in the presence or absence of loading the phonological loop with a secondary task. Interacting with numbered tokens (interactivity) and phonological load were manipulated in a 2x2 repeated measures design. Children calculated the total of 7 digits either with hands down – low interactivity - or moving numbered tokens – high interactivity. Additionally, in half of the conditions the children performed with a load on the phonological loop. The children were also assessed across a battery of measures examining individual differences including IQ, working memory and maths anxiety. As expected, performance was considerably worse under a load than with no load. Furthermore, the number of correct sums was higher in the high interactivity conditions regardless of phonological loading. In the high interactivity condition with a load, there were significant correlations between performance and both numeracy and fluid intelligence. This suggests that even for children who are highly confident in their numeracy, interactivity and manipulatives confer an accuracy benefit. Interactivity couples problem solvers to their environment. How a problem solver’s internal resources are deployed depends on the nature of the external resources offered by and perceived in the environment. This dynamic agent-environment transaction highlights the pedagogical importance of considering external resources when assessing and developing children’s problem solving abilities.