Research corner

`Nurturing Creativity in Education' by Collard, P and Looney, J

European Journal of Education 493: 348-64, June 2014 (Wiley)

Curricula are too crowded and allow few opportunities for students to work in a creative or interdisciplinary fashion, according to a new academic paper.

The research, from Paul Collard and Janet Looney, calls on policymakers and teachers alike to make "courageous decisions" about what to cut and what to keep from current curricula.

And the reason that these decisions are needed? The authors say that creativity is "core to progress in knowledge societies".

However, they say, what creativity is and how it can be integrated into education needs to be more clearly defined, along with advice on "how to balance structured lessons and opportunities for open exploration".

Several research experiments are highlighted, including a project in a Pakistan school where teachers and a ceramicist worked together in order to improve engagement in reading among nine-year-old boys. The pupils were encouraged to create their own superheroes out of clay and then work together to create a story from scratch that involved all their creations.

The paper also looks at what schools can do to encourage creative learning. Collard and Looney suggest that schools need to support teachers in taking risks, ensuring that they have the necessary feedback and support to improve practice and encourage active collaboration with school leaders and creative professionals.

Sarah Cunnane

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