I believe that to be very creative you must have the tools to help you
visualize your unique and creative thoughts. Differnet media exposure,
knowledge to design principles, (to use or destroy), color theory, and
craftsmanship will be the cornerstone of some excellent creative thought.
The use of copying directly is bad but the re-interpretation of a style or
period helps give the student a base of thought to build on. When I discuss
Cubism and the way it was started, the student don't copy a Braque or Picasso
peice, but instead be cubists on their own and use a still life inorder to
creative and work in the style of these "Dead" artists.
I seem to be rambling here but I feel that if any teacher just has students
copying another's work then this is wrong and very little learning is
accomplished. However the use of art history and the medias, techniques,
styles and subject matter of the past can be used to create intuitive thought
and creativity in the future.
San Jose, CA