Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture: A systematic review of the recent research literature

Several pedagogical approaches have been identified in the literature to promote students' creativity in the classroom. These generally involve the following elements: valuing, encouraging and fostering students' creative capacities, offering them opportunities to be creative, and establishing an environment in which creativity can flourish. The successful implementation of creativity in education is largely dependent on teachers' own beliefs about creativity. In a systematic literature review, Bereczki and Karpati (2018) sought to identify, describe, appraise and synthesize the most rigorously available recent empirical evidence base on teachers' beliefs about creativity.

Teachers generally endorsed a democratic view of creativity by maintaining that everybody can be creative, although levels of agreement differed substantially across teacher groups. Several studies showed that though several teachers acknowledged the potential of every child to be creative, many of them were still convinced that creativity was an inborn trait and considered only a few students to be creative. The malleability of creativity was the focus of eleven studies. Across most of these studies, teachers strongly supported the idea that creativity can be enhanced. Teachers’ views about the domain-specificity of creativity were explored in five studies. Across these studies, teachers generally supported the view that creativity can manifest in every domain of knowledge and can be applied to any discipline. Studies examining teachers' beliefs about the characteristics of creative students revealed that though teachers held several views aligned with creativity research in certain dimensions, they also often overlooked important creative characteristics, or had inconsistent and inadequate views about student creativity. Furthermore, the specific aspects emphasized, overlooked or misunderstood by teachers varied considerably across the samples.

Quantitative surveys also highlighted that though teachers were aware of a number of strategies to promote students' creativity, several aspects of teaching for creativity were overlooked, while others were overemphasized. Also, teachers often identified non-creativity fostering activities and conditions as creativity-fostering ones or vice versa. For example, more than half of the sample of primary US teachers in one of the studies supported open-ended assignments in promoting creativity, but also overemphasized the role of art, music and drama activities in teaching for creativity.

Overall, the findings suggest that teachers hold several beliefs that enable and numerous that hinder creativity development in schools. The review also highlighted recurrent incongruence between teachers' positive or adequate beliefs and their enacted classroom practices. Finally, several contextual, student- and teacher-related factors were identified as influencing teachers' beliefs about creativity. Overall, teachers’ beliefs were found to be heavily context-dependent. Implications for policy, practice and research are discussed.

Source: Bereczki, E. O., & Kárpáti, A. (2017). Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture: A systematic review of the recent research literature. Educational Research Review.

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