Creativity in initial teacher education: a case study in geography

Traut, Hester Jacoba (2017-03)

Thesis (DEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2017

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : The purpose of this study was to explore, analyse, interpret and describe how the perceptions of a selected group of twelve geography Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) students at a South African university developed in the year of their initial teacher education (ITE) programme. The following central research question guided the study: How can the development of geography student teachers’ use of creativity act as a mediator between their acquired content knowledge and their related applied pedagogical practice? This study mainly focused on developmental theories of creativity which advocate that there are qualitatively different levels of creativity and that creativity can and should be developed in the context of ITE. Simultaneously, the importance of preparing student teachers to become subject specialists was highlighted. These two focuses underlay the argument for creativity to be purposefully used to act as mediator between (student teachers’) acquired content knowledge and their related applied pedagogical practice to provide for heightened pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). If this could be achieved, student teachers will ultimately have a positive influence on the quality of basic education in South Africa that in turn will provide for better prepared HE students. Apart from enhanced PCK as an outcome, the individual student teacher (and learner) will benefit from acquiring creative skills to equip them to cope with future demands of the 21st Century. This study followed a case study methodology and the qualitative data was generated by using questionnaires at the beginning of the study period, lesson observations during the course of the study, and in-depth individual interviews at the end of the study period. The data was analysed by means of content and thematic analysis. Although the research findings do not pose to be generalised to a larger population, it may provide new insights that can inform initial teacher education in higher education institutions in South Africa. The analysis and interpretation of this study’s data revealed a synthesis with the literature in the field and iterated the changing landscape in which university students and school-going learners find themselves. The fast-paced world we live in today places demands on individuals to become more creative in their thinking to be able to cope with changing environments, changing knowledge, more choices, more information, more novelty, and greater levels of complexity. Therefore, ITE in the 21st Century has to keep track with the apparent transition from the Information Age to the Conceptual Age. Information alone is no longer enough. Individuals (student teachers and their subsequent learners) have to be empowered to lead change and to survive inevitable change. While academic knowledge and skills may be inadequate to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world, creativity may provide skills in coping with different environments, and therefore creativity becomes increasingly important in dealing with complex issues. The results of this research indicated that student teachers’ creativity can and should be developed as part of the PGCE (ITE) programme for improved pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in the context of the respondents of this study. The twelve respondents of this study were in agreement that creativity should be included in ITE programmes because they had realised the importance and practical advantages of incorporating creativity in PCK to enhance teaching and learning. This means that creativity does indeed provide the spark that is needed between content knowledge and pedagogical practice to transform subject knowledge for enhanced and deeper learning (or PCK) that may lead to the ultimate creation of new knowledge.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Hierdie studie verken, analiseer en interpreteer hoe die persepsies van ’n geselekteerde groep van twaalf geografie Nagraadse Sertifikaat in Onderwys studente aan een Suid-Afrikaanse universiteit ontwikkel het gedurende die afloop van hul aanvanklike onderwyseropleiding. Die volgende oorkoepelende navorsingsvraag het die studie gelei: Hoe kan die ontwikkeling van onderwysstudente in geografie se gebruik van kreatiwiteit dien as bemiddelaar tussen hul verworwe vakkennis en verwante toegepaste pedagogiese praktyk? Die studie het hoofsaaklik gekonsentreer op ontwikkelingsteorieë van kreatiwitet wat verduidelik dat daar kwalitatief verskillende vlakke van kreatiwiteit bestaan en dat kreatiwiteit dus ontwikkel kan en moet word in die konteks van aanvanklike onderwyseropleiding. Terselfdertyd word dit benadruk dat dit belangrikrik is om onderwysstudente se vakkennis te ontwikkel sodat hulle vakspesialiste kan word. Bogenoemde twee aspekte vorm die basis van die argument dat kreatiwiteit doelgerig ingespan word as bemiddelaar tussen onderwysstudente se verworwe vakkennis en verwante toegepaste pedagogiese praktyk, sodat verhoogde pedagogiese vakkennis ontwikkel word. Indien dit bereik kan word, sal onderwysstudente uiteindelik die kwaliteit van basiese onderwys in Suid-Afrika positief kan beïnvloed, wat op sy beurt daartoe kan lei dat studente wat universiteite betree, beter voorbereid is. Benewens verhoogde pedagogiese vakkennis as ‘n resultaat, sal die bemeestering van kreatiewe vaardighede individuele onderwysstudente (en leerders) bevoordeel en toerus om die uitdagings van die 21ste eeu aan te pak. Deur ’n gevallestudie-ontwerp te gebruik, is verskillende dataversamelingsmetodes kenmerkend van hierdie interpretatiewe benadering ondersoek. Sodoende is kwalitatiewe data deur middel van vraelyste aan die begin van die studie, observasie gedurende die studie en semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude aan die einde van die studie, gegenereer. Die data is ontleed deur gebruik te maak van inhouds- en tematiese analise. Die bevindinge van hierdie studie – alhoewel konteks-spesifiek en nie oordraagbaar na groter kontekste nie – lewer ʼn bydrae tot die moontlike vorming van nuwe insigte in terme van aanvanklike onderwyseropleiding in hoër onderwysinstellings in Suid-Afrika. Die ontleding en interpretasie van die studie se bevindings dui op ‘n sinergie met die literatuur in die veld en benadruk die veranderende landskap waarin universiteitstudente en skoolgaande leerders hul bevind. Die vinnige tempo van die wêreld waarbinne ons vandag leef, plaas mense onder druk om meer kreatief te dink om sodoende die veranderende omgewing, ontwikkelende kennis, meer keuses, meer inligting, meer vernuwing en verhoogde kompleksiteit, te kan hanteer. Daarom moet aanvanklike onderwyseropleiding in die 21ste eeu tred hou met die oënskynlike oorgang van die Kennis- na die Konseptuele Eeu. Inligting alleen is nie meer genoeg nie. Individue (onderwysstudente en hul toekomstige leerders) moet bemagtig word om verandering te kan lei en om te kan oorleef binne onafwendbare verandering. Terwyl akademiese kennis en vaardighede onvoldoende mag wees om die uitdagings van ‘n snelveranderende wêreld te hanteer, mag kreatiwiteit die nodige vaardighede voorsien om verskillende omgewings te kan hanteer – kreawiteit word dus toenemend belangrik om met komplekse kwessies te kan omgaan. Die bevindinge van die studie het aangedui dat onderwysstudente se kreatiwiteit kan en behoort ontwikkel te word binne die Nagraadse Sertifikaat in Onderwysprogam, ten einde verhoogde vlakke van pedagogiese vakkennis te bereik binne die konteks van die respondente van hierdie studie. Die twaalf respondente van hierdie studie het saamgestem dat kreatiwiteit deel moet vorm van aanvanklike onderwyseropleidingsprogramme omdat hulle die belangrikheid en praktiese voordele van die inkorporering van kreatiwiteit in pedagogiese vakkennis om onderrig en leer the bevorder, besef het. Dit beteken dat kreatiwiteit inderdaad die nodige vonk verskaf tussen vakkennis en pedagogiese praktyk om sodoende vakkennis te kan omskep sodat verhoogde en dieper leer kan plaasvind, wat uiteindelik kan lei tot die skep van nuwe kennis.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100989
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