Sven Mathijssen is vice programme director of the Radboud International Training on High Ability (RITHA) and lecturer in the European Council for High Ability (ECHA) training. The programmes train students to become ECHA-Specialist in Gifted Education.
Sven studied Psychology (track: Child & Adolescent) at Tilburg University. During his training, he was an intern at the Center for the Study of Giftedness (CBO Talent Development). After his graduation, he worked there as a developmental psychologist.
Besides his activities as vice programme director and lecturer, Sven is an external PhD candidate at Tilburg University. In his doctoral research programme, he analyzes human figure drawings of (potentially) gifted children. The goal of this research programme is to develop an instrument with which young children (3-6 years), whose educational needs are not met within the regular school curriculum, can be more easily detected. Since January 2021, Sven is the Editor in Chief for ‘Talent’, a popular-scientific journal about giftedness.
Giftedness, Creativity and Ethics
Creativity is a valued facet in the classroom. It opens doors to new possibilities for what was previously perceived as unsolvable problems. The world has learned from this in the past year, which was greatly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the use of creativity, the educational field would probably not have been able to cope with the situation the way it did. To be brief: we need creativity in order to progress and to be able to live the lives we live. Professionally, to solve atypical problems, and personally, to provide ourselves with challenge or to relax. Just imagine: what would the world be like without the possibility to create or enjoy creative expressions, such as art, music, or games? For multiple reasons, various researchers have addressed the importance of fostering creativity in gifted students. However, creativity is a neutral construct. It is neither positive nor negative, and yet can be used both positively and negatively. For example: in advertisement, creativity can be expressed in puns that spark something in potential buyers. However, creativity can also be used in dishonest advertisements, by highlighting the benefits, and keeping the dark side in the dark. How can professionals encourage creativity, while at the same time fostering ethics? The aim of this presentation is to provoke thoughts about creativity and ethics, based on findings from the literature.