You are on page 1of 10

Creativity is viewed as a multidimensional concept within education and is at the

forefront of the challenges faced in teaching and learning. The National Curriculum
highlights the significance that creativity holds within the curriculum as pupils are
encouraged to appreciate ‘human creativity and achievement’ (DfE, 2013:6). As
stated by Craft (2003:114), it is essential that children can relate to their learning and
develop appropriate skills, such as innovation and resourcefulness to succeed in an
ever-changing, technological society. This provides a means for ensuring learning is
memorable and engaging for pupils and can be achieved through encouraging
children to think creatively. For this assignment, creative teaching is a focus to
implement within the classroom and can be facilitated through the guidance of a
medium-term plan.

The education system has changed significantly over time due to government
policies influencing an improvement of teaching and learning at the heart of a
creative curriculum. The Plowden Report encompasses a child centred approach: ‘at
the heart of the educational process lies the child’ (Plowden, 1967:9 cited by Shaw,
2011:7). Plowden further contributed towards a change in teaching approaches, by
emphasising a creative outlook of teaching focussing on group work, thematic
learning and learning through play (Shaw, 2011:8). However, previous research
carried out by Ofsted suggests that children cannot necessarily be taught how to be
creative but should engage within ‘teaching for creativity’ through ‘provision that
enabled pupils to be creative’ (2003:4). To ensure this is implemented within
practice, it is crucial that teachers can provide a gateway for pupils to access and
develop creative thinking, imparting knowledge and skills through effective teaching
approaches.

Creative thinking can be defined as a skill which allows an individual to express


original ideas using imagination and represent this through an outcome: ‘imaginative
activity fashioned so as to yield an outcome that is of value as well as original’
(NACCCE 1999:30). Alternatively, Vygotsky (2004) suggests that any experience
which establishes something new can be named a creative act through previous
experiences allowing pupils to adapt to new scenarios. This is reflected through the
theory of experiential learning, in which Kolb (1984) favours an integrated learning
process whereby learning occurs when children can experience, reflect,
conceptualise and therefore be assessed through learning which provides clear and
accessible links (cited by McLeod, 2017). The medium-term plan demonstrates the
planning of a learning journey which is both enjoyable and memorable. The visit to
the train station (Appendix 1) offers an authentic context based around a central
theme in which the pupils can explore imagination and be hooked through an
experience leading to investigation style activities.

One development within the argument is the view of creativity having a direct link to
the art specific subjects, in which people are now providing consideration towards
imagination and individuality being expressed across wider subject areas –
‘Creativity is most easily considered in terms of outcomes: e.g. dramatic
improvisations and artistic artefacts, but also innovative business ideas and scientific
breakthroughs’ (Howard-Jones, 2008:6). Maslow suggests this further through
stating that creativity is not for the few but the many and can be expressed in every-
day life scenarios (1970; cited by Craft 2003:114). This is reflected in the concept of
‘democratic creativity’ (NACCCE 1999:28) as the generalisation that all children can
be creative if they are given appropriate opportunities to demonstrate this. However,
Csikszentmihalyi (1991) suggests that creativity is dependent upon domain, field and
the person, highlighting that innate ability results is an easier route towards creativity
(cited by Henry 2001:4). ‘Big C’ creativity defines this, of an individual who can
produce remarkable creative outcomes. This is criticised by many, with Plucker and
Beghetto (2003) suggesting ‘Big C’ holds an overemphasis causing a lack of
attention towards developing ordinary creativity, and Kozbelt, Beghetto and Runco
(2014) further stating that this excludes the view of creative potential of all forms of
creative experience (cited by Merrotsy, 2013:474).

A main motive whilst developing the medium-term plan for a Year 5 class was to
ensure learning is accessible for all pupils, with an inclusive approach to make
learning relatable and memorable across the curriculum. Focussed on the historical
theme of World War Two, the children will engage in learning across a range of
subjects, relating and linking their learning together through a cross curricular
approach. The National Curriculum encourages the use of statutory guidance as
‘core knowledge’ for teachers to plan and deliver ‘exciting and stimulating lessons’
(DfE, 2013:6). A cross curricular approach allows ideas and concepts to be applied
across subject areas, relating knowledge and understanding towards physical life
experiences as a method of guiding a meaningful education (Hayes 2010:383).
Hayes argues that teaching an integrated curriculum can avoid ‘emphasising the
discreteness of subjects’ therefore establishing ‘artificial barriers’ which may result in
a lack of connection between subject knowledge. It is however identified by research
that some children may find it difficult to connect subject knowledge within
interdisciplinary learning, which ‘children may simply fail to recognise that something
they had already learned can be applied to a new situation’ (Sharp, 2004:5). This
emphasises the importance of teaching staff supporting and guiding the learners
through outlining clear links between subjects, providing an insight for children to
therefore refer to in their learning.

This style of teaching is favoured by constructivists: Dewey believes education


should not be considered separate to ordinary life and encourage people to develop
interest in subjects with relevant links to the the real world (cited by Bates 2015:39).
This theory can however be criticised in terms of focussing on learning ability and not
valuing the different ways in which pupils learn best, as a teacher should discover
each child’s learning interests and potential (Bates 2015:39). It is therefore essential
that teachers tap into children’s interests and establish the strengths of learners to
accommodate the learning process – learning styles research has evidenced that
any content can be mastered when taught through students’ strengths
(Denig,2004:106). This is reflected within the medium-term plan, in which there are a
range of activities providing all children with the opportunity to explore different
aspects of learning (practical, interactive and problem-solving activities). This
reinforces a key strength of cross curricular learning through prioritising a ‘love of
learning’ and ‘intellectual curiosity’ at the forefront of learning within the classroom
(Standard 4, DfE, 2011:11).

A cross curricular learning approach consists of various limitations. Research claims


integrated learning has a rigorous outlook on teaching all subjects, in which it is
difficult to ensure ample opportunities for children to develop sufficient skills in all
subject areas. This is due to a lack of clarity within subject areas with an
overemphasis on pupil choice allowing pupils to avoid areas they dislike (Hayes,
2010:384). Craft further suggests how the curriculum is strictly organised into
discrete subjects, where cross subject themes discourage creativity (2003:119). One
consideration that was made during the process of devising the medium-term plan
was that it can be difficult to make natural links with some curriculum subjects, such
as mathematics and drama. To ensure the medium-term plan was suitable,
appropriate subjects were selected around the World War Two theme to maintain a
child centred and intrinsically motivating learning topic. This is relevant towards the
Year 5 age range due to the increasing pressure that teachers and the children face
in terms of preparing for standardised testing in English and Maths SATs. Hayes
reinforces the ideology that formal assessments measure attainment levels and this
is a significant aspect of reviewing progress and cannot be ignored in a curriculum
review (2010:382). The pressure of standardised testing has resulted in 68% of
school leaders stating they believe that curriculum changes are negative towards the
mental wellbeing of children (Guardian, 2017). This has inspired the development of
a creative and enjoyable topic over a day which can take away the attention of
testing as a focus, with children still developing skills in English and Maths in an
exciting context.
As a consideration towards the development of the medium-term plan, we ensured
that interactive learning was at the forefront of the activities planned. This celebrates
curiosity of learners, avoiding rote learning as an approach which ‘fails to recognise
the independent and enquiring nature of people’ (Bates, 2015:24). This view has
inspired a hook experience within the medium-term plan, providing accessibility for
those children who may have never visited a train station before. This provides
further opportunity in the classroom to share additional experiences of the existing
knowledge gained by pupils and to make use of a peer support system.

Collaborative learning is incorporated within various activities as a focus to ensure


children learn from one another. Relating to the mathematics activities (Appendix 2
and 3) Bruner (1985) states that strategies of problem-solving can be improved
through cooperative learning methods, by which children are faced with multiple
views within a given situation (cited by Gokhale, 1995). This supports conceptual
understanding through a peer support system, with peers enabling scaffolding of
ideas and use Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (1978) to ensure all children
continue learning based on pupils’ strengths. One way of encouraging collaborative
learning is through operant conditioning as a method of behaviour management
(Skinner, 1938). An implication for placing theory into practice is to ensure positive
reinforcement is desirable to reflect a purpose for good behaviour and learning.
Particularly within the problem-solving activities in maths, rewards linked to the
pupils’ interests will be given to pupils who display effective team work. This
approach provides a means for moving away from formal modes of teaching, for
instance the apprenticeship of observation can be defined as a pupil viewing the
teacher as a member of an audience watching performances on stage (Lortie, 1975
cited by Borg, 2004:274). Collaborative learning therefore ensures the challenge for
teachers is reduced whereby pupils are taking responsibility for self-directed learning
and begin to consider the importance of assessing progression.

It is suggested that ICT has a significant impact within the classroom and contributes
particularly towards meeting the demands of an ever-changing curriculum –‘‘literacy’
is not fixed but is always changing’ (NUT, 2016:14). The National Curriculum
suggests Computing provides children with the opportunity to become digitally
literate to introduce communication technology to prepare children for a future in a
digital world (DfE, 2013:178). This has therefore been implemented within the trip
experience with the use of iPads. Using different modes of literacy provides children
with the ability to extend creativity when exposed to a variation of texts. O’Mara and
Laidlaw (2011) note that literate skills can be enhanced through digital platforms
requiring children to be more critical within decision making as opposed to print-
based practice (cited by Dezuanni et al, 2015:12).

To engage children and encourage curiosity, the children will take responsibility for
their own learning and participate within the Mantel of the Expert (MoE) approach.
From personal teaching experience, ensuring teaching is context bound allows
pupils to engage imagination within learning and encourages an improvement in
behaviour. This approach ‘places the child at the centre of the learning’ (Aitken,
2013:35) by which the children take the viewpoint of an imagined group of people
with a set of expertise, encountering real life problems and challenges making
learning relevant and purposeful (Abbott, 2013:3). In relation to enquiry within the
mathematics activities (Appendix 2 and 3), this allows the pupils to take ownership
and pride of their learning, increasing confidence through enjoyment of being an
expert alongside taking the focus away from traditional classroom practice. Abbott
also identifies a key advantage of this approach by engaging all genders within the
learning by valuing their interests and making learning interactive and meaningful
(2013:8). MoE is further implemented to enhance the creative nature of thematic
learning, which the children will take the role of evacuees on a trip to the local train
station encouraging children to ‘get inspired and make you want to know more’ within
a ‘wow event’ (Ofsted, 2010:9). This ensures all children can relate to an enjoyable
experience of taking control within learning. A challenge the pupils may face is
struggling to imagine and empathise towards children in the war, with society today
being very different. This is overcome as thematic learning provides learning and
experiences within an authentic context and the children can relate their learning
with guidance from the teacher to link to the comparison and similarities of World
War Two and today.

Empathy is a key skill to develop within the thematic medium-term plan and is
considered an essential element of all activities to support the deeper understanding
of the children. Research highlights the importance of enhancing emotional
intelligence as the basis of attributes within almost every job (Chermiss, 2000:10
cited by Mayer et al. 2004:197). The importance of implementing this within the
classroom is further reinforced by the English resource (Appendix 5) which
stimulates emotional thinking as an aid for imaginative responses related to thoughts
and feelings experienced within the war. This also promotes the use of ICT within the
classroom as a useful tool to provide contextual information and the opportunity to
develop critical literacy. Beck highlights the importance of making children aware of
social factors beyond the classroom as a central aspect of encouraging children to
be critical of the perspectives of life during the war (2005:392).

Problem solving is a focus for creative learning within the medium-term plan and
is facilitated through an open thinking environment where the children can explore
different ways of solving real problems. Ofsted highlight that effective mathematics
teaching ensures problem solving is integral through practical activities within a
cross-curricular approach to learning (2010:9). The National Curriculum encourages
children to solve problems through a step by step method of finding various solutions
through perseverance (DfE, 2013:99). This is reinforced in the mathematical activity
which focuses on building pupil confidence in a classroom climate which promotes
learning from mistakes. This can be demonstrated in a classroom which values
mistakes and ways in which learning barriers have been overcome. It is important
however that these mistakes are shown in a positive light, reflecting how progression
has been made and approaches enforced to support other children with their
learning. As opposed to a fixed mindset focussing on emphasising mistakes as a
failure (Dweck, et al 2014:5), generative thinking ensures children value all aspects
of learning and develop various possibilities when facing challenges (Politis and
Houtz, 2015:1). Possibility thinking is also a model of questioning which promotes
children adopting ‘what if’ and ‘as if’ thinking to engage curiosity and exploratory
learning within tasks that do not have a clear outcome (Jeffrey and Craft, 2003:4).

A consideration towards the development of the medium-term plan is to provide


children with the skill set to develop as lifelong learners, in which not all children will
benefit from rote learning– further highlighted by Rose: ‘primary children must not
only learn what to study, they must also learn how to study…’ (2006:9). This
reinforces the importance of ensuring children can explore learning for themselves.
Through Bruner’s idea of ‘discovery learning’ the teacher’s role as the facilitator of
information is replaced as a guider to allow children to develop skills of problem
solving and inquiry (cited by Bates 2015:54). A creative teaching approach that
provides the opportunity for children to take control of their own learning is building
learning power within the classroom. Claxton (2008) values dispositions at the
forefront of learning in the classroom, with the aim of helping students to become
better learners through encouraging curiosity, imagination and risk taking when
faced with challenges within and outside of school (cited by Daniels et al:177).
Referring to the learning powered mind framework (BLP, 2010), resourcefulness in
questioning and reciprocity in collaboration and empathy (Appendix 5), are a focus in
various tasks within the medium-term plan. Improving self-esteem and confidence
within learning is at the forefront of the teaching activities. It is noted that learning
power supports teachers in devising activities that increase confidence of pupils and
their ability to be risk takers and overcome challenge and ambiguity (BLP, 2010).
This provides the children with a skill set to become critical thinkers, to be resilient
when solving problems and targeting self-directed learning. This is essential to be
implemented within all lessons, however particularly aimed towards mathematics
through promoting growth mindset to increase self-esteem and confidence of
accepting failure and learning from mistakes. The teacher can further secure the
progress of the children in a relaxed classroom climate which encourages an
exploration of ideas and motivates learning without fear of failure.

Questioning is a key aspect of the medium-term plan, with the motive of challenging
potential and encouraging deeper thinking within enquiry learning activities. Desailly
suggests that not only does a teacher require a secure ability in questioning to
stretch and challenge pupils of all abilities, but also needs to establish a classroom
climate that encourages enquiry and curiosity in questioning (2012:97). This is
heavily reinforced within the medium-term plan, based upon the framework of
Bloom’s taxonomy. Wragg and Brown (2001) highlight that only 10% of teacher
questioning promotes deeper thinking, and 80% to 90% of questions are in the
knowledge category with the aim to check the understanding of information (cited by
Desailly, 2012:98). Tailored towards historical enquiry (Appendix 4) and English
based activities (Appendix 5), the children will be asked challenge questions to
stimulate deeper thinking and provide opportunities for formative assessment to
ensure appropriate support and challenge is provided for pupils to reach their full
potential. Desailly further implies that questioning can be non-verbal and verbal, this
is reinforced within the History activity (Appendix 4) as the children will be exploring
artefacts they may have never seen before and enables the children to ask
questions themselves reflecting how creativity underpins the resource (2012:97).
This provides a stimulus for the children to learn through being curious and enquiring
about a person living in the war to ensure children can relate learning within a real-
life context. However, availability of historical artefacts (Appendix 4) and school
funding to provide accessibility of this is a possible implication which may limit
concrete-based activities. If this is the case, the class could still access artefacts
through visiting historical museums and photograph evidence to be reflected upon in
the classroom.

Questioning is also a useful learning tool to encourage learning through talk.


Alexander highlights that dialogic teaching is an interactive teaching approach which
highlights the power of talk to stimulate and extend children’s thinking, supporting the
extent of learning and understanding (2008:61). Reflecting upon experience within
practice, this approach provides an opportunity for children to value their own prior
learning as a starting point and apply this when extending learning further. This is
demonstrated within the medium-term plan as children are encouraged to talk as a
form of reasoning to ensure understanding and purposefulness is reinforced. A
challenge which some children may face in terms of learning through talk is learning
barriers which may limit children to participate, for instance language barriers.
Encouraging talk in both mother tongue language and in English can be a method of
moving forward from this issue, as it is suggested that implementing a classroom
climate of respect and celebration of bilingualism can have a positive impact on the
mental ability of a learner through solving problems and being a creative learner
(Drummond, 2014). This reinforces a holistic classroom environment that ensures all
pupils can benefit from a creative teaching approach which provides both enjoyment
and appropriate support to secure progression.

To conclude, creative teaching is crucial within the current education system, as a


focus to engage and intrinsically motivate children in learning and promote
ownership and pride within learning. This has effectively influenced the medium-term
plan, which not only focusses on depicting creative teaching, but also seeks to
develop cognitive and practical skills to equip children for being resilient people in
wider life contexts.

References

1) Abbott, L (2013) Mantle of the Expert- an attempt at understanding the misunderstood [pdf] Available
at: http://moodle.bcu.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/1248815/mod_resource/content/1/Mantle%20of%20the%20Expert-
%20An%20attempt%20at%20understanding%20the%20misunderstood.pdf Accessed on: 19.02.18

2) Alexander, R. (2008), Towards Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking classroom talk, Dialogos UK Ltd

3) Barnes, J (2015), Cross Curricular Learning 3-14, SAGE, London

4) Bates, B. (2015), Learning theories simplified . and how to apply them to teaching, SAGE, Los Angeles.

5) Beck, A.S. (2005), A Place for Critical Literacy, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 48, no. 5, pp.
392-400. Available at: http://educationalleader.com/subtopicintro/read/scholastic/scholastic_343_1.pdf Accessed:
10/3/18

6) Borg, M. (2004), The apprenticeship of observation. ELT journal, 58(3), pp.274-276. Available
at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.465.7579&rep=rep1&type=pdf Accessed: 10/3/18

7) British Council (2014), How can UK schools support young children learning English, Available
at: https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-uk-schools-support-young-learners-english Accessed:
10/3/18

8) Building Learning Power (2010), What’s different about a Learning Powered school? Available
at: https://www.buildinglearningpower.com/about/whats-different-about-a-learning-powered-school/ Accessed on:
5/3/18

9) Cooper. H (2011) Professional studies in Primary Education, Chapter 1: History of Education (Shaw.
S), SAGE, London
10) Craft, A. (2003): The Limits To Creativity In Education: Dilemmas For The Educator, British Journal of
Educational Studies, 51:2, 113-12

11) Daniels. H, Lauder. H & Porter. J (2009) Educational theories, cultures, and learning; a critical
perspective, Ringgold, Inc, Portland.

12) Denig. J, (2004), Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles: Two Complementary Dimension, Teachers
College Record Volume 106, Number 1, January 2004, pp. 96–111

13) Denis Hayes (2010): The seductive charms of a cross-curricular approach, Education 3-13:
International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 38:4, 381-387 Available
at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004270903519238 Accessed: 14/2/18

14) Department for Education (2011), Teachers’ Standards, [PDF] Available


at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/665520/Teachers__Standards.
pdf Accessed: 27/2/18

15) Department for Education (2013), The national curriculum in England Key stages 1 and 2 framework
document, [PDF] available
at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/425601/PRIMARY_national_cur
riculum.pdf Accessed: 21/2/18

16) Desailly. J (2012), Creativity in the Primary Classroom, SAGE, London

17) Dooley. K and Dezuanni. M (2015), Ipads for the early years: Developing literacy and creativity, Routledge,
London

18) Fraser. D, Aitken. V & Whyte .B (2013), Connecting Curriculum, Linking Learning, New Zealand Council for
Educational Research, Wellington, New Zealand

19) Gokhale, A (1995) Journal of Technology Education: Collaborative Learning enhances critical
thinking. Volume 7, Number 1 Fall 1995

20) Henry, J. & Open University Business School 2001, Creative management, 2nd edn, Sage in association
with the Open University Business School, London.

21) Howard-Jones, P. & ESCalate 2008, Fostering creative thinking: co-constructed insights from neuroscience
and education, Higher Education Academy, University of Bristol, Bristol.
22) Jeffrey. B & Craft. A (2003) Creative Learning and Possibility Thinking, Draft Paper for BERA
Conference, [PDF] Available
at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anna_Craft/publication/42792429_Creative_Learning_and_Possibility_T
hinking/links/0deec53988464c4d99000000/Creative-Learning-and-Possibility-Thinking.pdf Accessed: 6/3/18

23) Jones, R. & Wyse, D. 2013, Creativity in the primary curriculum, 2nd edn, Routledge, Abingdon.

24) L.S. Vygotsky (2004), Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, vol. 42, no. 1, January–February
2004, pp. 7–97 [PDF] Available
at: http://moodle.bcu.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/1508722/mod_resource/content/1/Vygotsky__Imagination%20and%20
Creativity%20in%20Childhood.pdf Accessed: 21/2/18

25) Mayer. J, Salovey. P and Caruso. D (2004), Emotional intelligence: Theory, Findings and Implications,
Psychology Inquiry, Volume 15, No.3, 197-215

26) McLeod. S (2017), Kolb – Learning Styles, Available at: https://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-


kolb.html Accessed: 7/3/18

27) Merrotsy. P (2013), A Note on Big-C Creativity and Little-C Creativity, Creativity Research Journal, 25 (4),
474-476, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

28) National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE, 1999), All Our Futures:
Creativity, Culture and Education, [PDF] Available at: http://sirkenrobinson.com/pdf/allourfutures.pdf Accessed:
14/2/18

29) National Union of Teachers (2016), Reading for Pleasure Policy Statement, Available
at:https://www.teachers.org.uk/reading-for-pleasure/nut-reading-pleasure-policy-statementAccessed: 15/2/18

30) Ofsted (2003), Expecting the unexpected: Developing creativity in primary and secondary schools,
[PDF] Available at: http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/4766/1/Expecting_the_unexpected_(PDF_format).pdf Accessed: 22/2/18

31) Ofsted (2010), Learning: creative approaches that raise standards, [PDF] Available
at: www.creativitycultureeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/learning-creative-approaches-that-raise-standards-
250.pdf Accessed: 2/3/18

32) Politis, J. & Houtz, J.C. (2015), Effects of Positive Mood on Generative and Evaluative Thinking in
Creative Problem Solving, SAGE Open, vol. 5, no. 2.
33) Rose. J (2006), Independent review of the teaching of early reading Final Report, DfES Publications,
Nottingham

34) Sharp. C (2004), Developing young children’s creativity: what can we learn from research?, National
Foundation for Educational Research, Topic: Vol 32, [PDF] Accessed: 21/2/18

35) The Guardian (2017), More primary school children suffering stress from Sats, survey finds, Available
at: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/may/01/sats-primary-school-children-suffering-stress-exam-
timeAccessed: 5/3/18