Changing Direction: Trainee Teachers’ Beliefs about and Perceptions of Creative Practice
Mills, Sara Rose
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
In recent years there has been increasing interest in developing greater creativity in education. This study focuses on trainee teachers during their initial teacher education and explores their beliefs about and perceptions of developing greater creativity in their practice. The work is located within the context of a school-based initial teacher education course and considers whether and how continuing moves towards school-based training in England can support the impetus towards greater creativity in teachers and their pupils. The study draws from qualitative research undertaken with a small group of trainee English teachers during a one-year School-based Initial Teacher Education course in England. Working from a social constructionist perspective, this research uses the methodology of Action Research. Employing a range of qualitative methods, including discourse analysis of group discussions, individual interviews, a silent discussion, and writing and analysing metaphors, it provides some insight into the trainee teachers’ complex understandings of creativity in the classroom, and how these understandings connect with their developing identity as teachers and with their pedagogy, practice and philosophy. It offers an insight into the trainees’ beliefs about and perceptions of moving towards creativity in their teaching, and the barriers and supports to such practice they encounter, both within the training course and in the partner schools. Reviewing a range of approaches to teaching and learning and considering the trainees’ beliefs and perceptions, the study suggests that agency is central to creativity, and that approaches which support the agency both of trainee teachers and of pupils are most likely to result in greater creativity in the classroom. The study regards creativity as a situated and highly contextual quality, and discusses practical approaches to teaching and learning, gathered under the term Creative Practice, which may be most likely to occasion greater creativity in the classroom. It offers suggestions for teacher educators as to how to better support trainee teachers in moving towards Creative Practice.
EdD in Education