Exploring the potential of a creative orientations model to engage educators in dialogue about the ways they promote creativity.

Year: 2018

Author: Selkrig, Mark, Keamy, Ron (Kim)

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The necessity to promote the creative capacities of young people continues to grow alongside the imposition of standards, outcomes and high stakes testing that dominate global education agendas (Robinson, 2015; Sahlberg, 2009; Zhao, 2012 ).  Similarly broader understandings of creativity are also emerging  (Banaji, Burn, & Buckingham, 2010; Harris, 2014)   and while there is a growing acceptance that creativity can extend across all learning areas (European Commission, 2009; Fisher & Williams, 2004),  discussion about what creativity is and ways to promote it through formal teaching and learning approaches remains contested. While an assumption has also prevailed that creativity is associated, understood and more frequently spoken about (Heilmann & Korte, 2010) in the arts  discipline, this is not necessarily the case. It seems there are   still difficulties for many educators (including arts educators) in how they understand, discuss and talk about creativity (Imms, Jeanneret, & Stevens-Ballenger, 2011; Lucas, Claxton, & Spencer, 2012). In this presentation we consider the distinct ways schoolteachers who are involved in the area of arts education understand, describe and talk about how the messy concept of creativity is entangled with their classroom practice.  Twenty-three educators from a P/K  to Year 9  school in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, participated in the project.  These educators taught the Arts either as specialist teachers, generalist primary classroom teachers or were members of the school leadership team.  A case study research design, was adopted for this phenomenological inquiry using mixed methods approaches.  The participants provided data through questionnaires, email prompts, discussion groups, and reflective journals.   Through analysing the educators’ discursive and dialogic responses about creativity, we were able to identify some general ways in which the participants spoke about creativity that linked with their role in the school.  Through further fine-grained analysis, four distinct (but connected) categories, or what we have labelled as ‘creative orientations’ surfaced.  In refining and classifying the educators’ understandings into a model of creative orientations it potentially offers educators in and across a range of discipline areas (not just the arts) to think about and map the ways they promote creativity with their students. Similarly, the  model also offers a way to focus dialogue and make it a little less difficult for educators to talk about creativity.