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The role of implicit theories in the development of creative classrooms

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posted on 11.06.2007, 14:40 by Wendy Dow
Whilst there appears to be a consensus that creativity should be encouraged in the school curriculum in general and in the design and technology curriculum in particular, the extent to which this is a reality within the present day system is open to question. Whereas teachers appear to overwhelmingly endorse the desirability of developing creativity within the classroom (Feldhusen & Treffinger, 1975), there appear, paradoxically, to be factors either within individual teachers or within the system which in some instances militate against this. This paper attempts to explain this problem through an exploration of the literature on creativity. It considers the implications of some of the issues arising from this literature for the successful development of creativity within the design and technology curriculum. The paper examines the role of the teacher in providing structures within the classroom which may act as facilitators or barriers to creative practice in the design and technology classroom. The complex relationship between creativity and motivation, for example, is explored through some of the findings on the implications of external evaluation, concrete rewards and praise for creative work (Ames, 1992; Deci, 1971; Ryan & Deci, 2000; Amabile, 1986; Lepper & Greene, 1978), and the differing effects of competitive, collaborative and individualistic structures on the creative process. (Johnstone & Johnstone, 1999; Nicholls, 1989). The importance of autonomy, diversity and risk-taking in fostering creativity is explored in relation to the work of Ames (1992) and Dweck (1999), and the extent to which teachers encourage the types of traits which appear to be part of the ‘creative personality’ is considered in relation to studies such as those by Wallach and Kogan (1974) and Guilford (1959). It is argued that the extent to which teachers are willing to adopt the type of structures and practices which will foster creativity in the design and technology classroom may be a function, not only of the education system but, perhaps more importantly, of the implicit theories which teachers hold in relation to creative ability in particular and to learning and assessment in general. The role of Teacher Education Institutions is discussed as a means of addressing these issues.



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  • D&T Association Conference Series



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