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Creativity and Imagination in Education Framework

The following framework is based on the notion that creativity and imagination should be a domain in education globally. In order for educators and schools to embrace creativity and imagination in education, one must first understand what each concept en

Katerina Zuvelek

on 21 May 2010

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Transcript of Creativity and Imagination in Education Framework

Creativity and Imagination in Education Framework The following framework is based on the notion that creativity and imagination should be a domain in education globally. In order for educators and schools to embrace creativity and imagination in education, one must first understand what each concept entails, how they relate to one another and why it is significant for schools to adopt this framework in terms of the students, school and the broader society. Craft (2005) indicates that “the name we give an activity or process acts as a 'frame' for how we then put it into practice” (p. 23). For this reason, it is important to identify the meanings of the terms creativity, imagination and education so that it forms a basis for the framework being presented. Creativity is a state of mind which involves the person thinking and imagining about something and using this to TAKE ACTION. The action taken would be executed for a purpose and would encompass a sense of originality and value either to that person, to the community, or to history itself (Lucas, 2001; Craft, 2005). By Katerina Zuvelek It is more than just a part of “creative subjects” but is rooted in all subjects as a way of thinking (Dean, 2009). It is important for students to use creativity as a way of expression and making sense of content in a different way and for teachers to use as a path for tackling content in new ways that develop the child and makes for interesting lessons. Imagination on the other hand builds on and is distinguished by three areas: imaging, imagining and being imaginative (Craft, 2005). Imaging is the visualisation of something in one's mind. Imagining considers a person supposing something, and a question that we hear often being asked by educators in regards to this term begins with “imagine that you...”. assumes that the person is actually taking action and “generating a novel outcome” (Craft, 2005, p. 18). Being Imaginative It is of my belief that to 'imagine' we place 'images' in our heads, and 'being imaginative' involves utilising this process to produce something real and original. It can be seen how closely these concepts relate to one another and to creativity, however the main difference between being imaginative and being creative is that the first can be thought up without an initial purpose, whereas the latter requires reasoning in order to produce something. It is important to note that creativity involves a degree of uncertainty, so where it is seen as a problem-solving tool, it does not always solve but creates more problems. The end-product does not always reflect the initial imaginative process. can be defined as a Education reflection values ambitions community of the and of the wider Currently there is a shift in curriculum frameworks internationally as globalisation and the growth of Information Communication Technologies continues to revolutionise the economic world in which the students of today and the future will live and work (Yates & Collins, 2010). The need to expand our position within the global economy and generate students who are capable of functioning as citizens and workers in an ever-developing society calls for new priorities in education and a shift from traditional methods of teaching, and by doing so, challenging the way we teach (National Curriculum Board, 2009; NACCCE, 1999). Creativity itself contains processes and attributes that are sought after in the wider community. The NACCCE (1999) describes how a change in the economic climate (and therefore the community) has influenced a change in what employers are looking for:
“...We live in a fast moving world. While employers continue to demand high academic standards, they also now want more. They want people who can adapt, see connections, innovate, communicate and work with others. This is true in many areas of work. The new knowledge-based economies in particular will increasingly depend on these abilities. Many businesses are paying for courses to promote creative abilities, to teach the skills and attitudes that are now essential for economic success but which our education
system is not designed to promote...” (p. 14) The change in employment qualifications and suitable required skills within all areas of the workforce demands a change in the education curriculum. Creativity and imagination in education provides these skills in its the pursuit of developing in students the capacity to form original ideas, take action and be innovative within school and thereon throughout the rest of their lives. The following framework will provide a foundation for creativity and imagination in education, so that students will be equipped with the right skills and knowledge for future success. It will not be restricted to one domain of education but can and should be adopted as a basis for learning in all domain areas. With any framework, there is a need for assessment, as it provides teachers with the information they need in order to help students to progress, as well as enabling the teacher to plan further activities and work which will then facilitate the initial thing being assessed (Roberts, 2008). I believe that creativity and imagination should not be an assessment of learning as such, but must be an assessment for learning, reflected and evident in lessons across the curriculum. The following framework will touch on being able to identify creativity and note imagination of students in the work they do in a way which shows progress in their capabilities over time. Proforma evaluating teacher understanding, evaluation and application of CIE in the classroom and teaching practice: What do you think Creativity is? How is this different to Imagination? What are you doing to develop your students' creativity?
Where can you identify creativity and imagination in your teaching? Where do you think it 'fits'? Is there anything you would change in your classroom now to better accommodate creativity and imagination in your lessons? Are there any obstacles that you face in being able to teach creativity and imagination as a foundation for learning? Do you know how to teach creativity and imagination in your lessons? What are some ways that you can develop as a teacher in order to better educate your students in the domain of creativity and imagination? How are you creative and imaginative? Do you assess creativity and imagination in your lessons? Which lessons? How? What do you assess?
Do you think that teaching creativity and imagination is important? Why? Why not? Do you like teaching creativity and imagination in your classroom? Example Activities Related to Creativity and Imagination in Education

The following activities are based on the idea that they can be adapted to suit any grade level. The activities are based within an example unit, but can easily be used within other planned units in school.

Activity 1: Independent activity - My Dream Place

In order for me to gain a better understanding of just what would be assessed and how we might assess creativity, I would first choose an activity that specifically utilises the arts subjects in order for me to physically see the aspects of creativity that I would want to then use to assess. In my own mind I would like to take an initial sample of what my students can achieve on their own with minimal help from peers and the teacher in terms of creativity. I would like to see what students can create on their own. Say for example the school has taken on “Our Place” as a unit for the term, I would first briefly have a discussion with students about what the term 'place' means to them, what they think 'their place' may be, or what they would like 'their place' to be. I would invite students to share their ideas on some things they would like to have in and around their home, what they would change. I would then ask students to draw/paint/sketch/make a collage or computer image on their 'dream place'. This would be an activity based closer to the beginning of the year, so that I could gain insight on student ability in creativity from the very beginning and build on this, however, it is important that students are not left totally in the deep end, therefore some previous lessons which would help to construct this particular activity would involve experimenting with different materials and tools and also looking at innovative homes, perhaps by watching you-tube links, reading stories or researching information. This could even possibly link to science and sustainability in the home.
On one of my placements, I was given, at the end of my time at that school, a collection of paintings that were done by each individual child, which contained an image of themselves and myself. The most interesting thing that struck me was how different each and every picture was. I believe that when you have a collation of images about a similar subject, you can easily identify the basis for which creativity and imagination occur.
Roberts (2008) discusses a similar project completed with year 1 students, where children drew portraits of themselves. From the pictures drawn the teacher could pick out strengths and weaknesses within each student, how they create (meticulously, use of colour, shape), and specific attributes that related to creativity and imagination (detail, originality). Through discussion and reflection, further things were identified, whether or not the child enjoyed the activity, what they would have liked to change etc. In my activity a further concept that would differentiate the art created would be the influence culture has on their lives. Activity 2: Group activity Narrative Writing
Blair (2008) has developed some ways to insight creativity in writing, therefore the following activity has been adapted from one of her suggestions. Students are given the opportunity to work in pairs in creating a narrative on the supposition: 'you are not yourself today...'. A similar unit of work to what was previously mentioned can also be used in terms of putting oneself in another's shoes. Different places around the world consist of different people, whether it is based on cultures or occupations, gender, species or interests, one way in which we can have students thinking about the lives of other people is through a writing activity such as this. One way to extend this activity would be to allow students to write their narrative without providing information in terms of who they are, and organising it so that others must try and work it out using clues throughout the story. It is creative because it is open-ended and so students are required to design, improvise, experiment and explore ideas as well as reflect on what has already been learnt and what they learn after writing the narrative.

In both of the activities, time would be allowed for students to reflect on their own work. This can be done either verbally or written down. One way in being able to reflect is through questioning, and this would be developed in the Proforma evaluating student understanding of CIE, where students are asked to think about how creativity and imagination applies to their learning. They can use these activities as stimulus. Observation Proforma A guide for teachers to gain insight into student creativity Did you notice students being creative? How? What are the attitudes students have towards being creative and imaginative? Did they enjoy the task? Why? Why not? What were the differences in the students' pieces? What made them different? How did students create their ideas? What skills were students taking part in in order to achieve their goal? Are there any factors such as gender, cultural background etc. that have influenced what the student has created? Was there anything that surprised you? Where do you want students to go with their creative abilities? What do you want them to achieve? Analysis of Data: Dean (2009) states that “the basic method of assessing children is that of observation” (p. 255). As a teacher it is important to use observations as an assessment tool for learning. Observing the different approaches students have made within the context of the lesson will allow the teacher to see what the student can demonstrate, can view their development and progression over time within a particular area, and use this information for further instruction. It is important that teachers work collaboratively when analysing the data provided from observations made, as not only will you gain insight from a different perspective, but a common ground can be identified as to what the school (not just the individual teacher) wants to gain in their teaching and learning practices (Dean, 2009; Redmond, 2008). The Observation Proforma will allow teachers and schools to pinpoint exactly what they want their students to achieve in the area of creativity and imagination in education. For instance, in response to the question: What are the attitudes students have towards being creative and imaginative? Did they enjoy the task? Why? Why not? - the discussion that would follow would include the fact that students do enjoy being creative in their work, being independent learners, and taking risks. This can then be a part of general assessment of not only the students but of future lessons. The Observation Proforma can display the importance of creativity and imagination in developing the 'whole child' not just what is traditionally seen as important. Teachers will from the observations made, notice qualities such as organisation, interpretation, exploration, making meaning, reflecting, researching, analysing, criticising, improvising and valuing which are embodied within creativity and imagination (Jeanneret, 2009). Through the observation proforma, a basis or foundation for education in creativity and imagination can be developed within each school, depending on what has been agreed upon by educators. Student Questionnaire For the following, circle the number according to whether you strongly agree (1), agree (2), are unsure (3), disagree (4) or strongly disagree (5). You are creative

1 2 3 4 5 You are creative at home

1 2 3 4 5 You are imaginative

1 2 3 4 5 You are creative at school

1 2 3 4 5 Creativity is essential in the workforce

1 2 3 4 5 You have been creative today

1 2 3 4 5 You have been creative this week

1 2 3 4 5 You like creativity

1 2 3 4 5 Creativity only happens in art/drama/music

1 2 3 4 5 Being creative lets you show the teacher things that are sometimes otherwise hard
1 2 3 4 5 You want more creativity in the classroom

1 2 3 4 5 Student Proforma The following proforma should be done as a group activity with students, perhaps as a word wall where students can go back to and add to their understandings of creativity and imagination. The questions can be posed as one per group, or simply discussed between students as they respond to the questions. How do you like to learn? Independently? In silence? As a group? Outside? Other? What do you think creativity means? What do you think imagination means? What are you doing when you are being creative? Are you creative? Why/why not? Have you done anything creative? If so tell me of one time? Where do you think creativity fits in school? Can you find it anywhere else? What can you do to be more creative? What have you learnt through being creative?

What will be assessed?

The following framework has been developed using concepts drawn from the creativity wheel, the creative learning assessment framework, through the course of this assignment as well as particular readings which have considered the assessment of creativity and imagination in education (Redmond, 2008; Ellis & Lawrence, 2009; Ellis & Barrs, 2008; Craft, 2005; Lucas, 2001; QCDA, 2010). It is based on a combination of ideas evident when a person is being creative and imaginative. As mentioned previously, the three central parts of creativity include: purpose and imagination, value and originality. Purpose and imagination involves the student using their imagination to create something for a purpose (QCDA, 2010). Value relates to whether or not the creation is useful or 'innovative', whether its purpose is achieved (Robinson, 2001). Originality occurs when the creative process has developed something new, whether it is new to that person, the community or globally is dependant on the thing produced (Robinson, 2001). The creativity wheel is based mostly on these three elements in its assessment criteria (Redmond, 2008). However, there is more to creativity and imagination in terms of the classroom than the process itself. To be creative and imaginative, teachers must ensure that the environment is appropriate and students must respond creatively in that environment. Within the classroom, it is important to set up an environment where creativity and imagination can flourish. In order for students to be as creative as they can be, an environment must first be provided where students are given time and space to complete their work, maximising their engagement and motivation in a given lesson (Morris, 2006; Cleese, 2009). Secondly, an independent learning corner provides students with a place where they can complete unfinished tasks and/or reflect on their learning. Lastly, and most importantly in terms of creativity and imagination, and in order to create an environment which is inviting and abundant with creative and imaginative processes, a mood should be set where students can feel safe to take risks and make mistakes without thinking that this is wrong in any way, so that they feel they can contribute and be original without being afraid of whether their input is 'right' or 'wrong' (Morris, 2006; Robinson, 2001). This can be encouraged through the teacher where he/she supports their students and keeps a positive mind frame, as well as showing through their own work that mistakes can be opportunities for us to explore possible alternatives. Questions the teacher might ask in determining whether a student is being creative in a particular environment may include: Are students enjoying themselves? Are they engaged? Are they working independently? Do they work well with others? Do they listen and extend on what others bring to discussion? These are aspects that need to be considered when teaching creativity and imagination in education. The aspect of the environment, how students learn and how students interact with others is another assessment criteria which forms a part of the framework, and is found in the Creative Learning Assessment framework (CLA) (Ellis & Lawrence, 2009).
The assessment tool that has been created for this assignment is intended to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and more importantly, sectioned separately so that more ideas and definitions can be posted around it and so the sections are more clear to students. The assessment process:
The preceding activities and proformas suggest a way to initiate and examine creativity and imagination within the classroom, school, within the teacher and among students. However, the assessment of creativity and imagination would take the form of portfolio work. As mentioned previously, students need to be given time to revisit and finish work so that they can develop to their full potentials. One of the teachers I worked with during a placement years ago had organised with students a portfolio where they could choose a topic either as a group or independently present it in any way, shape or form. Whenever the students had spare time, they could go back to their portfolios and continue working on their own chosen assessment. The students were excited and engaged, and the teacher could, from this, identify a number of assessment elements, including student interests, how the student learnt, whether they enjoyed working in groups and skills and understandings they were developing. My assessment of student creativity would utilise this method of teaching. In each subject area, students choose (or where necessary provided by the teacher) a topic within that area and within the unit and research on their own or within a group in a child-centred manner using the framework of a portfolio for each domain. They can add pictures, photographs, reflective comments and materials to their work. Teachers work with students and groups to organise and extend their learning, and regularly check the work progressing in their books. This process would be used regularly in the classroom alongside traditional methods of teaching. The following assessment tool indicates the sections students will be trying to attend to in order to be creative. So long as these elements are present in their portfolios, development would be occurring. Feedback would be given verbally and in their portfolios, with suggestions as to how to develop the skills of creativity and imagination. My Assessment Tool Blair, D. (2008, June 15). Creative Classroom Writing: Fun Ways to Inspire Writing in Students. Retrieved April 29, 2010, from

Cleese, J. (2009). The Source of creativity. From http://www.freshcreation.com/entry/john_cleese_the_source_of_creativity/

Craft, A. (2005). Creativity in Schools: Tensions and Dilemmas. New York: Routledge.

Dean, J. (2009). Organising Learning in the Primary School Classroom (4th ed.). Oxon: Routledge.

Lucas, B. (2001). Creative Teaching, Teaching Creativity & Creative Learning. In A. Craft, B. Jeffrey & M. Leibling (Eds.), Creativity in Education (pp. 35-44). London: Continuum.

Morris, W. (2006). Creativity – Its Place in Education. Retrieved April 27, 2010, from http://www.jpb.com/creative/Creativity_in_Education.pdf

National Curriculum Board (2009, May). The Shape of the Australian Curriculum. Retrieved April, 8, 2010, from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/Shape_of_the_Australian_Curriculum.pdf

National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE). (1999). All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education. Retrieved from http://www.cypni.org.uk/downloads/alloutfutures.pdf

Redmond, C. (2008). The Creativity Wheel: Assessing Creative Development Teacher Resource. Retrieved from http://www.creative-partnerships.com/area-delivery-organisations/durham-sunderland/resources/the-creativity-wheel-resource-for-teachers,217,ART.html

Roberts, I. (2008). Art And Design: Teaching the Curriculum. In: Boys, R., Spink, E (Eds.), Primary Curriculum: Teaching the Foundation Subjects. London and New York: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Robinson, K. (2001). Out of our Minds: Learning to be Creative. England: Capstone Publishing Limited.

Tait, G. (2004). What is the relationship between social governance and schooling? In: Burnett, B., Meadmore, D., Tait, G (Eds.), New Questions for Contemporary Teachers : Taking a Socio-cultural Approach to Education (pp. 13-24). Frenchs Forest, N.S.W: Pearson Education Australia

Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA). (2010). National Curriculum. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://curriculum.qcda.gov.uk/

Yates, L., & Collins, C. (2010). The Absence of Knowledge in Australian Curriculum Reforms. European Journal of Education, 45 (1), 89-102. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3435.2009.01417.x

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