Academic journal article Victorian Journal of Music Education

Scaffolding Creativity in Arts Education

Academic journal article Victorian Journal of Music Education

Scaffolding Creativity in Arts Education

Article excerpt

Introduction

A visual arts educator and a music educator designed, facilitated and evaluated a one semester Integrated Arts course for third year student teachers with in a Bachelor of Education program at an Australian university on a close collaborative basis. Central to this is the ongoing process of reviewing the course content and pedagogical strategies to ensure effective promotion of student teachers' engagement with arts-based creativity activity and the concepts of autonomous and collaborative learning alongside the notion of life-long learning. The qualitative, interpretive approach used, particularly to identify the influences on students' engagement in the course, is based on careful observations of, and dialogue with students throughout their developmental activity and their final presentations. Allied to this, insights gained through systematic field notes of students' unsolicited comments about their learning experiences, the mandatory end of semester student course evaluations, and collected samples of students' project work are incorporated in the implementation of the subsequent semester course. Above all, these processes align with Eisner's (1998) perspective that researchers should continually fine-tune their approaches and adjust to any unpredictable circumstances. The article reports on the place of creativity, scaffolding and collaborative learning that constitute the underpinnings of the course.

Background

The Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE, 2001) proposed a New Learning Framework as an alternative to the traditional teaching paradigm. This underlines the increasingly diverse nature of the student population and the wide-ranging competences required for successful functioning within an ever-changing society. In particular, it encompasses notions of autonomous, collaborative and life-long learning, and creativity as essential elements of New Learning, which is described thus: "It will be about creating a type of person, with kinds of dispositions and orientations to the world, rather than simply commanding a body of knowledge. These persons will be able to navigate change and diversity, learn-as-they-go, solve problems, collaborate and be flexible and creative" (ACDE, 2001, p. 2). Implicit here is the view that education is no longer positioned within a discrete time in students' lives because the rapidly changing pace of information communication technology, work place roles and opportunities requires them to develop the wider key skills for managing their own learning and performance and working with others (ACDE, 2001).

The National Education and Arts Statement proposed by the Cultural Ministers Council (CMC) and the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA, 2005), and adopted by Australian Government, adds impetus the role of arts education in promoting creativity, and underlines the implications for education faculties: "Creativity in education is a necessity, nurturing imagination and curiosity--two vital elements that can drive learning for us all (p. 3). Similar notions are reinforced in the context of the Australian curriculum, particularly the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) (VCAA, 2005), which encourages development of creative skills and an integrated approach to curriculum.

Clearly creativity discourse is not a new phenomenon, as the importance of valuing the concepts of width, diversity and individual autonomy in fostering students' creative attributes has long been acknowledged (e.g., Abbs, 1989; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 1989; Dewey, 1934; Wallas, 1926). Yet the current emphasis on creativity illustrates that it is necessary more than ever to provide student teachers with concrete experiences for understanding the potential of arts curriculum to be at the forefront of fostering important skills to promote creative thinking and practice. Similarly, as Craft (2006) notes, that an ethical framework that encourages multiple perspectives and a sense of wisdom must apply. …

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