Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and practices for fostering creativity in science classrooms in the State of Kuwait
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Fostering students’ creativity in school subjects has recently become a central focus of educational researchers, educators, and educational policymakers around the world. In Kuwait, educational researchers and teacher educators have supported the need to foster students’ creativity via a national curriculum. Yet, the Ministry of Education has conducted few studies to explore practitioners’ perspectives on how to foster creativity through the current curriculum. The overall aims of this study were to explore science teachers’ pedagogical beliefs and practices in fostering creativity in science classrooms as well as to investigate the influences of sociocultural factors on teachers’ beliefs and practices in fostering creativity. The study also examined the consistency and inconsistency levels between teachers’ beliefs and practices. The study has a qualitative nature that stands on an interpretive worldview. The methodology uses eight case studies, each of which consisted of a male science teacher and one of his classes. Multiple methods were used, including semi-structured interviews (pre- and post-observational interviews), student focus groups, unstructured observations, participants’ drawings, and field notes. The analysis was based on thematic analysis model proposed by Braun and Clarke (2006). Thematic findings and case studies findings were drawn from the analysis of the data collected. In general, the thematic findings indicated that science teachers are able to define the meaning of creativity and its main aspects. Professed pedagogical beliefs enforce four teaching approaches to foster creativity in the science classroom: the teaching of thinking skills, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning, and practical investigation (experimentation). The teachers believe that these approaches could promote students’ creativity in science classroom when specific sociocultural factors facilitate the effectiveness of such approaches in terms of fostering creativity. Three interdependent categories represent these facilitating factors: (1) educational setting-related factors, (2) teacher-related factors, and (3) student-related factors. Differences and similarities appeared when these professed beliefs were compared to the applied classroom practices. The thematic analysis revealed several themes underlying the main categories. Extensive teacher-centred practices and modest student-centred practices were evident; more specifically, the observations revealed primarily teacher-centred approach inside the science classes. Meanwhile, student-centred approaches were modestly applied in comparison to teacher-centred activities. The teachers justified their practices in accordance with the sociocultural factors that mediate their beliefs and practices as well as the role of their goal orientation. The science teachers perceived the mediating factors as constraints that prevent them from applying their beliefs about fostering creativity in classroom practices. Multiple constraining factors emerged, and they were categorised into personal, external, and interpersonal constraints. Concerning the case study findings, consistencies and inconsistencies were identified using a cut-off point as an analytic technique to classify teachers’ beliefs and practices into traditional (non-creativity fostering), mixed, or progressive (creativity fostering). The case study findings identified four consistency and inconsistency levels characterizing teachers’ beliefs and practices: traditional (consistent level), mainly traditional (inconsistent level), mixed (consistent level), and mainly progressive (inconsistent level). Each level was represented by an exemplary case study. The exemplary case studies revealed that sociocultural contexts influence teacher’s belief-practice relationship with respect to fostering students’ creativity in science classroom. Further, the thematic and case study findings were discussed in relation to the existing body of knowledge, followed by an illustration of significant conclusions, including some implications, contributions, limitations, and future suggestions.
PhD in Education
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