Fostering Creative Thinking - What do Primary Teachers Recommend?
Background: The fostering of creative thinking has become a key target for Greek primary education and for music education in particular. Creativity researchers have proposed numerous recommendations concerning fostering creative thinking in the context of primary education. However, there is limited research regarding creativity recommendations (CRs) proposed by primary teachers.
Focus of Study: The qualitative study presented here aims to investigate and analyse Greek primary teachers' CRs because they are the professionals who foster (or should foster) students' creativity in practice.
Setting: Three comparable focus groups were formed. Discussions took place in June 2008 in Athens, Greece, and lasted approximately two hours each. The first author of this paper acted as moderator.
Participants: Twenty-one Greek primary teachers with diverse backgrounds and expertise participated voluntarily. All participants were in-service teachers in primary schools in the Athens region, and three were music teachers.
Research Design: Qualitative study relying on data collected through recordings of discussions within the three focus groups.
Data Collection and Analysis: Transcriptions of discussions within the three focus groups resulted in an electronic document of approximately 45,000 words. A six-phase thematic analysis was adopted for locating, analysing, and reporting teachers' CRs.
Results: Primary teachers' CRs were classified under three broad categories: (1) features of the creative teaching and learning process; (2) common traits of the creative student, and (3) characteristics of the creative environment. Data analysis revealed that teachers' CRs deal mainly with the characteristics of the creative environment, particularly the inhibiting features. Very few of the teachers' CRs are student-centred, and even fewer are student-oriented or student-originated. Finally, we propose four essential CRs missing from the previous taxonomy.
Conclusions: The study provides a starting point for further research on CRs provided by primary teachers. We conclude that primary teachers need a comprehensible and practicable set of recommendations on how and why students' creative thinking should be fostered.
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