Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Primary School EFL Teachers' Attitudes towards Creativity and Their Perceptions of Practice

Academic journal article English Language Teaching

Primary School EFL Teachers' Attitudes towards Creativity and Their Perceptions of Practice

Article excerpt

Abstract

Teachers perform an important job by encouraging creativity in their lessons and among their pupils. Thus, the present study aims to examine primary school EFL teachers' attitudes towards creative thinking and their perceptions of what goes on in the classroom. Participants were 434 female primary school EFL teachers, chosen randomly, teaching all grade levels from six educational zones in Kuwait, namely Al-Asema, Hawalli. Al-Farwaniyah, Mubarak Al-Kabeer, Al-Ahmadi and Al-Jahra for the year 2014-2015. The study used a descriptive survey research design using Likert's five-point scale distributed into three categories: demographic information, teachers' attitudes towards creative thinking and teachers' perceptions of their practice. To triangulate the data, a focus group interview was employed along with an analysis of samples of exam papers. Independent variables measured were age, nationality, degree, major, educational zone, teaching experience and in-service training. Results showed teachers' attitudes and perceptions were high. Significant differences were shown for age, major, educational zone, teaching experience and in-service training. Implications as well as recommendations for future research were discussed.

Keywords: teachers' attitudes, teachers' perceptions, creative thinking, EFL teachers' attitudes

1. Introduction

The role that creativity plays in education has been discussed extensively (Craft, 2006; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Glaveanu, 2011; Humes, 2011; Rinkevich, 2011; Beghelto & Kaufman, 2013). Some believe it is more suitable for primary school children than for older students. Indeed, there seems to be a consensus that creativity is more applicable to primary school children (Duffy, 2003; Turner, 2009; Smears, Cronin, & Walsh, 2011). Some claim that children's spontaneous creativity diminishes with age (Grainger, Barnes, & Scoffham, 2004). In England, for example, creativity is included as an aim in the curriculum particularly in primary education (Craft, 2001). Claxton, Pannells, and Rhoads (2005) explored how divergent thinking and divergent feeling (factors supporting creativity) developed in 25 pupils in grades 4, 6, and 9. Results showed that divergent thinking does not significantly increase into adolescence, but divergent feelings such as motivation and personality do. This suggests that creativity in general and creative thinking in particular needs to be developed from the early stages of life (Craft, 2000; Duffy, 2003; Turner, 2009).

Many definitions were given for creativity (National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, 1999; Craft, 2001; Mason, 2003; Mumford, 2003; Creative Partnership, 2007; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010). However, the literature review reveals that there is no consensus as to a definition for creativity. For example, some researchers believe that to call something creative, it has to be new and of great value (Dacey & Lennon, 2000; Mason, 2003; Glaveanu, 2011). This definition applies to talented people and is relevant to neither education nor all pupils. Others talked about everyday creativity as the implementation of knowledge in an unusual way to reach an objective (Craft, 2001). 'Everyday creativity' implies the use of natural skills of ordinary people to find solutions to everyday situations in an unusual way, endure difficulties, and think of other ways to handle daily routines (Ivcevic 2007; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010). This definition is more relevant to education and to this study understanding that learners come with different abilities, and all of them are creative in their own ways. With this broad definition, creativity applies to all domains of knowledge (Grainger & Barnes, 2006)-not only arts, science, and music-and to all pupils.

Understood this way, creativity is a skill needed in order to be efficient in a modernized world. In a society in which communication technologies such as the internet and mobile phones are widely used, creative thinking becomes the path to development and prosperity (Craft, 2001; Schacter, Thum, & Zifkin, 2006). …

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