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Development of Creativity at Different School Age D. Penkauskienė, R

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1 Development of Creativity at Different School Age D. Penkauskienė, R
Development of Creativity at Different School Age D. Penkauskienė, R. Jarienė Modern Didactics center 8 October, 2013 8 October, 2013

2 CONTEXT-1 During 2011 – 2012 Modern Didactics Centre researchers conducted multifaceted research on nurturing creativity in the Lithuanian language and literature classroom, with a focus on grades 4, 8, and 11. 8 October, 2013

3 CONTEXT-2 Research goals:
To identify the elements that create a classroom environment likely to enhance creative thinking; To analyze curriculum of educational materials; To observe teaching and learning process; To interview teachers; To do students’ survey; To analyze creative tasks; To prepare executive summary of all research and recommendations. 8 October, 2013

4 Research conducted in 2011–2012
Study on school environment conducive to creative thinking; Analysis of curriculum and teaching materials; Classroom observations; Interviews with teachers; Student questionnaire; Analysis of creative work produced in response to creative prompts. 8 October, 2013

5 Goals and Stages of Classroom Observations
The Goal: To find out current situation how creativity is developed in the Lithuanian language and literature classroom in grades 4, 8, and 11. Stages: Preparation of teachers Preparation for classroom observation Classroom observation Teacher and researcher reflection 8 October, 2013

6 The Scope of Classroom Observation
67 lessons in 34 classes 30 lessons 4th Grade 20 lessons 8th Grade 17 lessons 11th Grade 8 October, 2013

7 Focus of Classroom Observations
The learning environment Lesson planning Teaching and learning activities Assessment 8 October, 2013

8 The Learning Environment
Teachers were observed as to whether they did one or more of the following: Create a classroom environment in which tolerance, trust, and respect were predominant; Encourage students to express their opinion, support student ideas; accept differing opinions in the classroom; Encourage students to take risks, even when students did not have a clear or firm opinion or do not understand something; Encourage and support students with learning disabilities or those who do not risk offering their opinion; Encourage students to make use of a variety of learning opportunities and available learning materials; Make the effort to illustrate the learning process by displaying student work in the classroom. 8 October, 2013

9 Lesson Planning Observations were made as to whether:
Methods and strategies to encourage creativity were planned; Opportunities to work individually, in pairs, or in groups were planned; When planning activities, the students’ needs and abilities were taken into account; Certain elements of “surprise” were worked into the planning. 8 October, 2013

10 Teaching and Learning Activities (1)
It was observed whether and how: Students were actively drawn into the learning process; whether there was a desire to learn in the classroom Students independent thinking, self directed learning were promoted Teachers modeled creative thinking and behavior The learning process was adapted to student needs; The applied methods held the students’ attention, curiosity, and Whether they initiated imaginations and inspired students to look for divergent possibilities and inspired them to work independently to achieve learning goals; Open ended answers were presented, which encourage higher level thinking; 8 October, 2013

11 Teaching and Learning Activity (2)
Enough time was allocated to think answers through, as well as the opportunity to express ideas; Students were encouraged to formulate questions that necessitate higher level thinking; Student ideas were actively listened to and students were encouraged to listen actively as well; Reading and writing were used as a means of exploring and explaining ideas; Educational tools, besides the class textbook, were used and whether these materials were favorable to students and encouraged them to use their interpretation skills; to extend beyond the classroom walls and that inspires students to research and search for new problem solving solutions. 8 October, 2013

12 Assessment during the Lesson
It was observed whether: Teachers, together with their students, set clear criteria, which is based on the learning process and on learning results; Authentic strategies for evaluation were in place that are constructive and clear; Some manner of feedback was given for knowledge, understanding, skills, as well as provisions; Students were encouraged to evaluate their own work and to evaluate each others’ work; The learning process was adjusted based on the results of long-term observation and student success and progress. 8 October, 2013 8 October, 2013

13 The Learning Environment. Findings
The greater number of teachers observed created a safe learning environment in which there was mutual trust, respect, and tolerance. Students should be given more opportunities to take “risks” in the classroom by expressing their ideas, by expressing doubt, by working with unclear and undeveloped ideas. Teachers often use additional teaching materials and sources; however, the students themselves are rarely encouraged to use them. On the elementary school level teachers take the care to “publish” student work. On the middle and upper school levels student work is rarely visibly displayed. 8 October, 2013

14 Lesson Planning. Findings
When planning lessons, teachers plan using strategies that nurture creativity: open questions, imagination, discussions, creative activities. The effort is made to organize classroom work in such a manner that students have the opportunity to work individually, in pairs, in groups, or with the entire class. Elements of “surprise,” are used as an additional source; however, they are rarely planned. Instead they seem to occur spontaneously. 8 October, 2013

15 Teaching and Learning. Findings (1)
Students are encouraged to participate. They are assigned questions to answer and participate in individual and group activities. “Brain storming” is often used at the beginning of a lesson. Often lessons begin with students being asked to present the results of assigned activities. Sometimes students are asked to clarify what they already know and what they would like to find out. On rare occasions lessons begin with the viewing of film clips, photographs or by listening to a recording. For the greater part of a lesson, teachers use a common method: “The teacher asks questions and the students answer them.” This process is used to check for retention of information and comprehension. 8 October, 2013

16 Teaching and Learning. Findings (2)
There is a lack of evaluative questions and authentic readers responses (especially in the upper level classes). Most teachers observed actively learning process and consult students as they work. During class time active group work is not used advantageously. The results of group work are either not discussed or evaluated or superficially acknowledged. In the lessons observed, there was little time allocated towards writing and reading. Discussions that require metacognition are not initiated and problem-solving techniques are not discussed. Teachers do not model themselves creative thinking enough. 8 October, 2013

17 Assesment during the Lesson Findings
Teachers observe the learning process and take advantage of opportunities for one-on-one conferencing. If the criteria were more clear and if this activity were allocated more time, one-on-on conferencing and peer evaluation would be more effective. Very few instances were observed in which attempts were made to evaluate the learning process. 8 October, 2013

18 Observation Results. 4th Grade. (1)
Teachers create relationships with the students that are based on trust, respect, and tolerance. Students express their ideas freely and are not afraid of failure. There are many examples of student work in the learning areas and materials are plentiful. When planning lessons, teachers make an effort to include an element of “surprise.” During class time students are encouraged to express their opinion, to imagine, to become involved, to create. 8 October, 2013

19 Conclusions on Classroom Observations. 4th Grade. (2)
The teacher carefully observes the lesson, gets a sense of the atmosphere of the class, reacts to it, and offers a critique of the learning process. Sometimes classroom activities seem to have no basis and lessons are not thought through. Students are not encouraged to ask questions. Teachers attempt to implement authentic strategies for the evaluation of student work, but they lack clear criteria, an informed approach, and commentary. 8 October, 2013

20 Conclusions on Classroom Observations According to Criteria. 8th Grade.
The atmosphere in the classroom is open, tolerant and respectful. When planning lessons, teachers make an effort to implement the curriculum attractively and search for means of making the curriculum interesting to students. Teachers make use of other resources in addition to textbooks. Teachers assign many open-ended questions; however, they do not expand upon student responses during classroom discussions. While observing classes, researchers observed that time and again teachers seemed to be rushing through the material. Not enough attention is paid to evaluation, reflection, and examining whether goals have been attained. 8 October, 2013

21 Conclusions on Classroom Observations 11th Grade.
The atmosphere in the classroom is tolerant and respectful. Most classroom observed did not have student work on display. Teachers try to organize class discussions around open-ended questions, but the students seem reluctant to participate. Students are not given the opportunity to take risks with their answers because often it is obvious that the teacher expects a certain “correct” answer in advance. Students do not formulate their own questions. In the lessons observed there was very little opportunity for students to write. Teacher responses to student work that necessitates evaluation is often either not clear enough or is superficial. 8 October, 2013

22 Interviews with Lithuanian Language Teachers. Goals.
To ascertain teacher attitudes towards: concept of creativity; nurturing creativity; the conditions and opportunities for creative growth in Lithuanian language classes. 8 October, 2013

23 Interview Questions (1)
What is your understanding of creativity? How do you personally perceive the practice of developing creativity? In your opinion, why is it important to nurture creativity? What type of environment, in your opinion, encourages/discourages creativity? Why? How do you evaluate your school environment? Why? In your opinion, what opportunities do you have to nurture student creativity in the Lithuanian language classroom? 8 October, 2013

24 Interview Questions (2)
In your opinion, what are the difficulties that prevent students from developing creativity and applying it in the Lithuanian language classroom? What changes would you suggest at national, school and classroom levels in order to improve the quality of creativity development in the Lithuanian language classroom? What are your most successful examples of nurturing creativity in your classes? Please explain. Personally, if you could, what would you change or do differently? Why? What information about creativity, creative thinking and its nurturance would be relevant to you? What form of acquiring that type of information would be most helpful to you? 8 October, 2013

25 Scope of the Project and the Presentation of Results
30 teachers out of 5 schools that participated in the project All interviews were recorded and transcribed Answers were grouped into categories and subcategories, which were illustrated by the direct guotes. Every quote was identified by a code number assigned to the teacher interviewed Quantitative responses were not taken into account 8 October, 2013

26 Understanding Creativity and How it is Developed (1)
Understanding creativity: originality, non-traditional thinking; self-expression, process and end results. Sometimes we perceive creativity in very narrow terms. Sometimes I feel pressured that at a Lithuanian language teacher I ought to teach children how to become poets and writers. However, I find that creativity and creative thinking reveals itself in small details. (1) We teachers tend to associate creativity with art, crafts, and handicrafts. Once we begin teaching children how to read, how to express their thoughts, how to speak eloquently, we start to understand that creativity can be expressed through these processes as well. (9) Creativity is life itself. (28) 8 October, 2013

27 Understanding Creativity and How It Is Developed (2)
Developing Creativity: encouraging self-expression, developing creative thinking skills, attractivness of learning process, integral aspects of curriculum; optimality of creative activities. Creativity in the workplace means first of all the desire to find something creative in each child or at least to give them something, encourage them, or make suggestions so that they would be at least a little more creative. (19) In literature it is important to not be afraid of delving deep into a creative work, to not be afraid of thinking, expressing your opinion, doubting, searching, asking questions, and through all that to never be completely sure of yourself. It is important to know how to ask questions and to want to ask questions and get involved. (29) 8 October, 2013

28 Understanding Creativity and How it is Developed (3)
I don’t want to overburden the children with too many extra creative activities. I believe that would only alienate them from studying, from learning concepts and then all we would have left would be playing games. I don’t think they will achieve much if all they do is play games. However, that seems to be the tendency these days. (16) The fostering of creativity ought not to cross certain boundaries. If one class is dedicated to creative endeavors, and then the next class, and then the third, then I think that is too much creative expression. Then the student would not have enough time to complete all the recommended exercises—that is if we are seeking quality, completed work. (18) 8 October, 2013

29 The Importance of Creativity
Career opportunity, quality of life, adaptation to environment, effective problem solving. These days young people can’t do much without using their creativity. Creativity ought to serve them well because blind knowledge these days does not have much value. They must learn to adapt the material they’ve learned, to interpret it, to create something. Otherwise, I have no idea how they will make it in this world. (29) The world is changing: it is diverse, fascinating, complicated. It is not easy to find your place in that world. It will be easier for a creative person. (24) In every situation in life, wherever you may work, if you work creatively, you will enjoy your work. Then your life will be entirely different. Our lives will be different. (24) 8 October, 2013

30 A Classroom Environment that Fosters Creativity (1)
The Creative classroom environment: encourages and motivates; supports students, trusts students; gives space for students to express their opinions; encourages respect for divergent opinions; tolerance for failures, celebrates student achievement. The most important thing is to encourage students to roll up their sleeves and work and to concentrate. (21) […] they accept one another, one another’s mistakes, way of dressing, manner of thinking—that is the biggest plus. (26) 8 October, 2013

31 A Classroom Environment that Fosters Creativity (2)
The relationship between the teacher and the students: Sincerity and a feeling of working together as a group The relationship between the teacher and the student must be based on goodwill. If the relationship is cold, or, if you dislike the student, the student will feel that and will not open up in your class. It is important to be warm. (7) There must be a sense of joy while spending time together in the classroom. And, the students and the teachers must seek a goal together. When they show their failed attempts, the entire class laughs, but they experience the joy of togetherness, of creativity. Only later can the actual result be achieved. (27) 8 October, 2013

32 A School Environment Conducive to Creativity
The relationship with colleagues: working together, sharing experiences, help, support. The relationship with administration: conditions for professional development; praise and recognition; collegiality. 8 October, 2013

33 The Role of the Teacher The personal example set by the teacher
It is important to get the attention of the students through personal example and to show what it is possible to achieve. (11) The teacher’s positive attitude towards creativity Everything depends upon the teacher and how important it is to him or her to nurture creativity in the classroom. (8) 8 October, 2013 8 October, 2013

34 The Physical Classroom Environment and How it Supports Creativity
The school environment: aesthetics; the presentation of student creative work. The classroom environment: how learning materials are presented; the presentation of student work; availability of learning materials; the functionality of the classroom environment. 8 October, 2013

35 Environments Outside of School that Support Creativity
Cultural surroundings: libraries, city-wide events, trips, excursions, meetings with creative individuals, television. Family environment. 8 October, 2013

36 Opportunities to Foster Creativity in the Lithuanian Language Classroom
Goals of developing creativity: subject goals, the development of creative thinking, vocabulary expansion, encouraging self-expression; Forms of expression: verbal, written; Innovations of the development process: active learning methods, integration with other subject areas. 8 October, 2013

37 What Hinders Fostering Creativity in the Lithuanian Language Classroom?
The curriculum: an orientation towards results, curriculums that are too broad; dry or inadequate learning materials; too much of a focus on grammar. Organizing the creative process: Not enough culture of discussion The affects of a poor environment: the influence of the Internet; poor socio-economical situation at home. Student problems: Not enough student motivation to learn; students are overburdened with too much work; problematic developmental ages. Problems experienced by the teacher. I don’t know if I want to teach any more. I am tired. The pace is too big. The responsibility weighs on me. Correcting student work drives me crazy. Then there is the uncertainty of never knowing what lies ahead. (13) 8 October, 2013

38 On the national level: curriculums, textbooks, exams
Raising the Quality of Creativity Development in the Lithuanian Language Classroom (1) On the national level: curriculums, textbooks, exams The curriculums are too broad. The school year is not long enough for us to teach everything covered in the curriculum. (28) The textbooks and the curriculums are too far removed from student needs and abilities. The students ask: “Why do I need to know that?” (16) I get the sense that we are still working according to a twentieth century model because acquiring information is the main focus of our curriculum. (4) I get the impression that the exams are not designed to check our students’ knowledge and abilities, but rather to catch them on the things they do not know. (4) 8 October, 2013

39 Raising the Quality of Creativity Development in the Lithuanian Language Classroom (2)
On the school level: schools strategies to orient towards development of creativity; to spread information; to lower class sizes; to provide necessary teaching/learning of materials. On the classroom level: to develop professional competences of the teachers, to raise motivation. 8 October, 2013

40 Personal Changes To present creative works
We should organize more exhibitions of student work in the classrooms. Perhaps we could quote fragments from student writing in order to show off their best writing. We could do just so that other students would notice the good things they have done. (19) To look for more effective means of motivating students To form attitudes To search for non-traditional formats for developing creativity along with new methodologies To encourage self-confidence To find ways of working together with colleagues to share experiences 8 October, 2013

41 Methodological publications
The Need to Develop Information about How Creativity is Developed and Effective Means of Acquisition Sharing expertise with colleagues (meetings, discussion groups, observing lessons) Methodological publications It would be good to have books, and descriptions of lessons, and scripts for performances that we could all share. (4) It would be great to be able to receive materials that have been tested and used effectively, so that I could use them in my classroom immediately. (16) Seminars It always feels good to go somewhere new and come back with fresh ideas. Maybe I wouldn’t be able to use everything, but at least it would get my mind going and make me reflect on my own work. (24) 8 October, 2013

42 Examples of Creativity Development
Type of activity: drawing, graphic arts, drama, performance; projects that integrate creative activity. Criteria for success: quirks of the creative process, results, emotion experienced, acquired experience (rarely expressed): We were working on an essay with the ninth graders. All the students were complaining that the activity was a waste of time, saying that they wouldn’t be able to write anything and that they don’t know anything. Then a student named Marius said to me, “Let’s see if you would be able to write an essay.” “Okay,” I said, “I will write an essay along with you. You will write and I will write and we will all write together.” He really provoked me, but I realized that it was a very good thing that he did. (20) I was somewhat afraid, but the children weren’t. I am careful, but there is no limit to the children’s initiative. It’s impossible to measure the breadth of their creative abilities. Their beautiful stories took my breath away. Why are we still so afraid and why do we tend to put pillows under the children’s heads just so that it would be easier for them? I think we need to make their lessons more difficult because they are capable of rising to the challenge of even the most difficult situations. (2) 8 October, 2013

43 CREATIVE EXERCISES Tasks, Goals, Objects
Goals – to learn about student creative thinking by giving them written exercises. The object of the creative exercises was creative thinking as expressed through writing in the 4th, 8th, and 11th grades. 8 October, 2013

44 BREADTH OF THE STUDY 513 student works were studied:
190 fourth grade works 175 eighth grade works 148 eleventh grade works 8 October, 2013

45 CREATIVE EXERCISES 4TH grade – students were given the beginning of a story and were asked to develop the story and to finish it. The plot of the story challenged students to balance realism with imaginative writing. 8th grade – two realistic life situations were presented to students. The students had to chose one and write their reaction in diary form. 11th grade – students were given the beginning of a story. Students were asked to complete the story, writing an internal monologue from the main character’s point of view. 8 October, 2013

46 8 October, 2013

47 EVALUATION CRITERIA Novelty Problem solving and resolution
Elaboration and detail Synthesis 8 October, 2013

1 category – the completed work is excellent as evidenced by how it stands out from other work in terms of originality, novelty, innovation. 2 category - the completed work formally satisfies all criteria, however, lacks novelty, originality, innovation. 3 category – the completed work is satisfactory, yet did not fulfill one of the evaluation criteria. 4 category - the work is unintelligible to the reader or not completed. 8 October, 2013

49 CONCLUSIONS Less and less creativity is evidenced as students move on to higher grade levels. The main characteristic of creativity – originality, ingenuity, novelty was found in only 20% of the student work (1st category) 12% of the work did not satisfy any of the criteria for creativity (category 4) The larger majority of student work belonged to the 2nd and 3rd categories Students work could have been better if they were not encumbered by cliché Majority of the work had the potential to be considered for the 1st and 2nd categories if those students were given more time and attention, as well as practice writing and the encouragement to express their ideas during class time. 8 October, 2013

50 Summation -1 Nurturing and developing creativity is the most important priority of education. This notion has been expressed publically many times in many documents; however, our research has shown that not enough is done to foster and develop creativity in the classroom. Although the initiative to introduce creativity development is supported by school administrations, individual school politics lack a systematic approach. 8 October, 2013

51 Summation -2 Although teachers recognize the importance of developing creativity and are delighted by creative work, nurturing creativity in the classroom is not considered on the same level of importance as more concrete curriculum based learning. Teachers lack the training to create a classroom culture that fosters creativity. A question: If nurturing of creative personalities is sincere attempt and if it is based on a united, solid need expressed by the educational system? 8 October, 2013

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