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Document Type

Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

2017

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Dr. Kathryn McDermott

Subject Categories

Education

Abstract

Many schools, particularly high schools, struggle with creativity within their schools. Whether it is coming to terms in a contemporary manner with what creativity means in learning, or resourcing for implementation or inclusion of creativity, a lack of understanding and a wide array of perceptions persist amongst staff. Previous research on perceptions and perspectives of high school teachers toward creativity, particularly in mainstream subjects beyond the arts in high schools also remains lacking. The bulk of existing research has been primarily targeted at elementary and middle school levels, where strong sentiments for creativity’s place in schools and amongst youngsters is very positive, yet contrasts with more negative feelings for the traits and dispositions of creative children.

This study examines what the prevailing attitudes and perceptions are amongst high school teachers in non-arts subjects such as English, math, science and social studies. Garnering an understanding of creativity in learning, and what constitutes and defines creativity in learning from their subject point of view, and personal perceptions and usages of creative oriented dispositions were aims of the within this study. Limited data collection, such as curriculum materials, syllabi, and lesson plan samplings were collected by permission from the participants in order to supplement this study. This study was conducted within one large, central suburban to somewhat rural New England high school with slightly above average state test scores.

Research conducted aimed to understand from a phenomenological methodology with the interviews at the center. This approach was chosen in order to provide description and to avoid preconceptions in order to identify how this phenomenon, creativity is perceived and valued by core high school educators from their own perspectives. Transcription, several passes at deeper analysis for aggregation and organization using highlighting, post-its and mindmapping facilitated comparison and juxtaposition in order to identify themes and/or meanings.

Within discussion and summary several findings, including notions that many core subject instructors defer responsibilities for the inclusion of creative learning despite its inclusion school core values, as well as difficulties found within school conditions and lack of suitable training all follow in a report and concludes with a section on issues and implications with recommendations toward creative learning within the high school setting. This deferment prevails despite positive viewpoints of creative learning as a vital attribute to learning, and one that excites and motivates students as well as giving them alternatives to standard forms of learning. Teachers had positive stories and accounts of creativity as well, but also brought up many existing constraints and limitations that limit usage of creativity, such as standardization, time and exposure. Humanities teachers saw creative learning as more intertwined, and science and math as more of an additive skill or exercise.

Teachers would welcome aspects of creative learning as a professional learning component, and acknowledge the school districts as well as their own limitations in learning about creativity. Through relevant additional professional learning would derive broader viewpoints of the value of creativity, stimulating creative environments, and appropriate usage. Administrators, as teachers’ view, should share in their learning and conceptualizations of creative learning, particularly if they desire its proper usage within a school’s ‘core values’. Many gaps exist in creative learning at the high school level, such as best practices, and as mentioned, the deferment aspect, and approaches to preparing potential teachers for the challenges of creative learning. The positive viewpoints teachers hold in core subjects of creative learning seems to be the vital point to build upon all high school teachers conceptualizations and experiences of creative learning instead of assuming they are prepped and able to use it in the classroom.

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