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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining small "c" creativity in the science classroom: Multiple case studies of five high school teachers
by Lasky, Dorothea Shawn, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2012, 216; 3530053
Abstract (Summary)

As the US continues to strive toward building capacity for a workforce in STEM fields (NSF, 2006), educational organizations and researchers have constructed frameworks that focus on increasing competencies in creativity in order to achieve this goal (ISTE, 2007; Karoly & Panis, 2004; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2007). Despite these recommendations, many teachers either do not believe in the relevance of nurturing creativity in their students (Kaufman & Sternberg, 2007) or accept the importance of it, but do not know how best to foster it in their classrooms (Kampylis et al., 2009). Researchers conclude that teachers need to revise their ideas about the kind of creativity they can expect from their students to reflect the idea of small 'c' versus large 'C' creativity. There is a dearth of literature that looks closely at teacher practice surrounding creativity in the US and gives teachers a set of practical suggestions they can follow easily. I examined five case studies of teachers as they participated in and implemented a large-scale, NSF-funded project premised on the idea that training teachers in 21 st century pedagogies, (for example, problem-based learning), helps teachers create classrooms that increase science competencies in students. I investigated how teachers' curricular choices affect the amount of student creativity produced in their classrooms. Analysis included determining CAT scores for student products and continua scores along the Small 'c' Creativity Framework. In the study, I present an understanding of how teachers' beliefs influence practice and how creativity is fostered in students through various styles of teacher practice. The data showed a relationship between teachers' CAT scores, framework scores, and school context. Thus, alongside CAT, the framework was determined to be a successful tool for understanding the degree to which teachers foster small 'c' creativity. Other themes emerged, which included teachers' allotment of time and small group collaboration, how science teachers valued creativity, the importance of transdisciplinarity, teachers' student knowledge, and school context. This study contributes to the growing body of literature surrounding teacher practice and creativity by revealing a clear and concrete set of practical recommendations based on the Small 'c' Creativity Framework.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Yoon, Susan A.
Commitee: Filreis, Al, Sawyer, R. Keith, Wortham, Stanton E. F.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Teaching, Learning, and Leadership
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 74/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Science education
Keywords: Art education, Case studies, Creativity, Science, Small c creativity
Publication Number: 3530053
ISBN: 978-1-267-67974-1
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