Including Creativity in Primary School Teaching and Learning Programmes: Teachers’ Pedagogical Practice and the Influence of School Leadership
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This research study investigated teachers’ practices of ‘creativity’ in primary school education and the leadership that enables these practices. A qualitative methodology was adopted and semi-structured interviews were employed to explore participants’ personal experiences and their perceptions of developing students’ ‘creativity’ in today’s schools. The major findings for the study were derived from the focussed exploration of the following factors – participants’ definitions of creativity, their perceptions of the benefits of creativity, and the ways in which teachers facilitate creativity development through their pedagogical practices. Data was also gathered concerning the positive influence of school leaders upon teachers’ development of their students’ creativity. The data were analysed qualitatively to identify important themes. A key theme emerging from the data findings was that all participants emphatically viewed creativity development as of great benefit for students – a belief that fully aligns with the creativity literature. The benefits described by participants were also revealed to be motivational and guiding factors for teachers’ pedagogical practice and a driving force for school leadership behaviour. However, despite participants’ genuine commitment to creativity recognition and development, several challenges were highlighted that could potentially hinder students’ creativity. These themes were also present in the literature; for example creativity was not clearly defined, it entailed an element of risk, and participants had received little or no creativity training and professional development. Furthermore, it was evident that not only were participants juggling the development of students’ creativity with the performative pressures of standardised assessments in literacy and mathematics, they also lacked confidence in utilising or developing students’ creativity within these core subjects.