An investigation of teacher well-being as a key component of creativity in science classroom contexts in England
thesisposted on 21.06.2016 by Sarah Turner
In order to distinguish essays and pre-prints from academic theses, we have a separate category. These are often much longer text based documents than a paper.
This thesis considers pupils attitudes, teachers (and pupils ) creativity and teacher well-being. These three terms represent factors that are closely linked and have a synergistic relationship in determining learning outcomes. Research concerning these factors, and in particular the findings of action research concerning teachers well-being, are presented through eleven publications. This thesis, when viewed as a single piece of work, provides an insight into teachers everyday experiences, professional lives and their responsibilities. It utilises several research methods including questionnaires (approx. 200 teachers; 150 pupils), interviews (approx. 50 trainee teachers), and diaries (N = 2). The key findings suggest that more clarity is required concerning the meaning of creativity for all primary and secondary teachers and how it should be embedded in teachers practice. A safe classroom, one where a child can make mistakes, take risks and share their thoughts and feelings, is necessary for this to occur; teachers understanding of this concept is considerable and broadly based; however, results suggest that teachers approach this in different ways. Trainee teachers well-being is affected by their school placements and therefore time for them to learn and share with their peers was found to be both necessary and important. It was also found that the trainee teachers benefited from being taught about time-management as this skill was beneficial for their role. An intervention of a 90 minute lecture addressing stress, time-management, psychology models such as Maslow s hierarchy of needs and Rogers core conditions, was researched and proven helpful for trainee teachers (primary and secondary science). However, more discussion of the topics and models was required and therefore three workshops per academic year were trialled with the aim of creating a community of practice to normalise experiences. Questionnaire and interview data were highly positive about this intervention and evaluation of the content showed it was beneficial during school placements. The conclusion of this work is that creative pedagogy and a teacher s well-being are related: if we want our teachers to be creative practitioners in the classroom, we need to ensure that they are well in themselves. Although this conclusion is from a small case study, it could be generalizable to other teacher training courses and a crucial area for those working in teacher education to consider. Supporting and training trainee teachers in how to manage their professional lives so they are equipped personally and emotionally is reported in the findings as necessary for the profession.