Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 59 ( 2012 ) 467 – 474
1877-0428 © 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011
UKM Teaching and Learning Congress 2011
Creativity in Science Education
Adzliana Mohd Daud, Jizah Omar, Punia Turiman & Kamisah Osman*
Faculty of Education, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
Creativity is an important aspect of human development. The trend towards globalization with technological developments
requires energy product that is productive and innovative people in all walks of life. Acculturation creativity is needed in the
early development of the mind of an individual. Educational institution is the most important place to nourish the creative talents
and abilities of students and also as an important medium in the generation of creative minds of the students. Science curriculum
is taught in educational institutions is seen as a subject that can help to improve the quality of creative thinking among students.
Among the challenges faced in the cultivation of creative thinking skills in learning and teaching is the knowledge of teachers
about the teaching of creativity, not to emphasize the application of creativity by teachers, students who are shy and do not want
to show their creativity. Therefore, this paper will describe the basic concept of what is meant by creativity, creative teaching,
learning strategy fostering creativity in science, and the role of the science curriculum in the formation of creative minds.
Furthermore, this paper will clarify some of the proposals that are expected to bring about change towards fostering an
atmosphere of creativity in teaching and learning. Among the proposals to be emphasized is the need for science teachers to
master in particular ICT technology, conducting Project Based Learning with students, and enhance the science curriculum to
stimulate the creativity of students and teachers on teaching creative paradigm.
© 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching and Learning
Keywords: Creativity; educational institutions; learning and teaching science
The present challenging world of learning in global economic climate is more concerned with innovation and
creativity. Creativity is no longer something that is unique or distinctive. It has now become a necessary and
fundamental to the achievement of a person, organization or country. Creativity is not only subject to the invention
only but covers all acts and thoughts. In effect, creativity should exist with critical thinking to drive it towards a
more productive and accountable.
As the country is moving towards developed nation status, the present generation should be prepared with all
forms of knowledge and skills. In line with developments in technology and globalization are increasingly
challenging environment, Malaysians need to have a highly innovative, progressive and a contributor to scientific
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +6-019-288 -4814; fax: +6-03-8925-4816
E-mail address: email@example.com
Available online at www.sciencedirect.com
© 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer reviewed under responsibility of the UKM Teaching and
Learning Congress 2011
468 Adzliana Mohd Daud et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 59 ( 2012 ) 467 – 474
and technological civilization of the future. To achieve this, we need to form a citizen of critical, creative and
capable of competent practice of science and technology culture in this 21
Malaysia at present does not only require excellent academic credentials and a noble character, but must also
master the thinking skills in order to meet the needs of developed countries. Revision of school curriculum to
promote thinking skills in students, especially at the primary and secondary (Economic Planning Unit 2001) should
be scheduled so that this country can compete with other countries in this millennium. Accordingly, in line with
globalization, education in Malaysia has also experienced a reform to achieve Vision 2020 in order to produce
individuals who can compete in the international arena. According to Lee, (2002) globalization refers to all the
processes in which all the world's population were merged into one global society. He further said that by opening
its economy to global market, Malaysia has attracted so much foreign investment to come and invest. This requires
the development of education and training workforce that can compete in the international economic stage. To be
competitive at the international level of our workforce must not only have high skills and knowledge, but they also
must have high creativity so that they can solve the growing problems. As a measure to channel creativity of the
teacher, the class of learning has been seen as one of the most appropriate medium in the context of promoting
creativity and developing individual personality and social students (Cropley, 2009; Runco, 2004) This is further
strengthened by Maria Fatima Morais and Ivete Azevedo (2010) which states that in the context of the school, the
teacher is not only a source of information to students, but also act as a role model for students. Therefore, to realize
that the curriculum into an opportunity to develop creativity (Park et al., 2006), teachers should use the opportunity
to practice creative teaching practices in the classroom. Thus, it could enhance creative thinking among students.
Creative thinking skills are the ability of individuals to use the mind to generate new ideas, new possibilities, and
new inventions based on originality in its production. It may be given in the form of real or abstract ideas. This can
be seen in the following examples, such as creating new ideas, create analogies and metaphors. Normee (2001)
stated that creative thinking to bring purpose of the use of basic thinking operations to expand or create new ideas.
Creative thinking is thinking that the idea of publishing inconsistent with the critical thinking in evaluating ideas.
Published ideas are new and sometimes contrary to logic. However, creative thinking must be based on the
manipulation of his experience and existing knowledge. Through the experience and knowledge he possessed, a
person will strive to find a variety of input ideas in multiple perspectives and dimensions to create a new idea or
product better than ever in making decisions and solving problems. This situation is explained by Rikards (1990) as
"Creativity involves escaping from stuckness and opening up possibilities”. Yager (2005) says that the program of
scientific knowledge see the program as something that should be considered important in the formation of a
creative mind. According to him, these are some of the human abilities important in this domain: visualizing-
producing mental images, combining objects and ideas in new ways, producing alternate or unusual uses for objects,
solving problems and puzzles, suggesting viable explanations for objects and events in nature, designing tests to
verify explanations of visualizations, designing devices and machines, producing unusual ideas, communicating
information to others for which evidence has been produced and illustrated. Being creative is a fundamental aspect
of human nature (Craft, 2003). Creativity is a process that can be developed and enhanced. Every person has the
potential therefore, the potential should be enhanced by giving individuals the opportunity and the chance to
activities that enhance creativity.
Creativity according to Islamic scholars such as Yousif: 1999, Samih Mahmoud and Ali Mohammad Jubran
Saleh: 2010 is the awareness, implementation or diversification of ideas. In addition, Yousif (1999) also emphasized
proper implementation creativity in all aspects of life. Therefore, individuals should ensure that the design work and
the results are not contrary to Islamic principles. At the same time, one must have a sense of responsibility to uphold
the Islamic community to the next level, able to face future challenges with creative and successful. Thus, Al-
Mazeidy (1993) states a new dimension in the definition of creativity is "the ability to create designs that can benefit
to humanity that is based on Shariah and Islamic principles." (p 306). This shows the creation of new products must
be able to comply with the guidelines prescribed in Islam.
2. Model of Creative Thinking
Creative thinking process for an individual place in the mind is something very complex. However, there are
three phases to think creatively on how this activity happens in the mind of a person. The figure below shows how
the model structured creativity.
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Living Together Improvement
Figure 1. Model of creativity planned
Creativity model shows planned creative process involves a critical and objective analysis, imaginative idea and
publish a critical evaluation. Overall, the process involves a balance between creativity, imagination and analysis.
Compared with the old approach, creative ideas result from subconscious thoughts that are usually beyond the
control of a person. Therefore, based on this model, how, methods, and approaches to publishing creative ideas are
in control of a person thinking. This process requires the implementation of actions and ideas. It emphasizes the
strength of the imagination for the publication of new things and new ideas, but we must also make it a reality of
3. Cultivating Creativity in Science Learning
Curriculum more challenging world of today in line with developments in the globalization of society demands
higher educated and have high creativity. Through science education, many scientists can be trained in line with the
nation's progress towards the direction of science and technology. Science subjects are seen as one of the important
subjects in the development of creativity (Curriculum Development Centre 2001), Curriculum Development
Council, 2002). As early as the 1980's, Mc Comark and Yager (1989) has proposed a taxonomy of science education
which includes the domain of imagination and invention. Based on these taxonomies, Gilbert (1992) suggests six
questions in the learning design. Question forms are integration, imagination, brainstorming, organizing, making
analogies and metaphors and conceptualize.
Aksoy (2005) found that science instruction, which is based on scientific method process in creative thinking, has
increased the creative thinking level of the students, has improved their academic success level and has advanced
their attitudes to the lesson of science knowledge. Scientists were able to categorize creative problems that are not
recognized by others (Meador, 2003) However, not all students who will become scientists, but science curriculum
such as science process skills taught in school is very important as described by Meador (2003) to encourage
creative thinking and thus develop their potential and opportunities involved in the profession of science. The
470 Adzliana Mohd Daud et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 59 ( 2012 ) 467 – 474
concept of learning and knowledge is always a basic element in most areas of conventional science curriculum of
Asian countries (Cheng 2011). If the elements of creative learning into the curriculum, it is important to start from
the design of the curriculum in terms of subject content knowledge, and to see all the possibilities of creative
learning activities in relation to content knowledge. Sternberg (2003) suggest "in the teaching of creative students to
process information, we encourage them to create, find, explore and imagine (p.333).
There are five types of nurturing creative learning activities in science which are the discovery, understanding,
presentation, application and transformation of scientific knowledge. To get creativity through discovery activities,
teachers can ask students to do independent research activities, or involve in divergent thinking training of students
in science process skills. Students are encouraged to develop science is an interesting and diverse range of scientific
observation, to do classification, ask questions of scientific research, forming hypotheses, planning trial and methods
of measurement, using equipment or appliances, and make conclusions from empirical data (Cheng, 2011). In this
regard, Piaget (1976) stated that "to understand is to create". Therefore, to understand knowledge in a creative way,
teachers can encourage students to seek new alternative examples, analogies, descriptions, and explanation of a
scientific theory or concept in the subject. Furthermore, teachers can encourage students to construct existing
concepts to students through exposure to ideas that conflict, engaging them in debate, they have confidence in the
evidence of the opponent (Driver, 1994).
According to Cheng (2011), creativity can also be generated through scientific knowledge in various forms of
expression. For example, knowledge, concepts and principles can be presented in the form of role playing, drama,
music, pictures, poems and stories. To foster a creative knowledge, students were given a situation, where they are
given the opportunity to find new ways to explain the phenomena of science, to make predictions, to solve
problems, to state or imply that what is not known. In addition, the transformation of science knowledge, students
are given the opportunity to propose changes based on their knowledge. Students are encouraged to ask questions
and criticize any discipline of science and knowledge in the textbook, as an alternative to develop methods and new
ways to integrate them with creativity in science learning. The five types of creative learning activities in science is
similar as suggested by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (2005) in Cheng (2011). For example,
scientific discoveries involving the question and challenge the understanding of knowledge involves a look at the
relationship. Further, the fifth type of design also includes several suggested teaching strategies in the model of
Williams (1969). For example, the presentation of knowledge involves the use of analogy, creative writing and
visualization skills. Overall, the methods mentioned can shape students' creativity through science
In addition, Cheng (2004) has presented a comprehensive strategy statement to create a creative learning in
physics. Hu and Adey (2002) also suggested a model which includes the questioning of scientific creativity,
divergent thinking and thinking some other elements in the scientific imagination, inquiry and innovation. Cheng
(2006) had also proposed a comprehensive model in the physics curriculum. Not only that, Kind and Kind (2007)
also found a different approach to creative learning in the context of science education. This includes an open
inquiry, creative problem solving, creative writing, metaphor and an analogy.
4. Challenges and Issues
The findings of a study conducted by Siti Hajar (2008) which aims to measure the level of creativity of students
in the science program at the Faculty of Education, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia found that a low level of
creativity of students in the science program at the Faculty of Education, which is the potential to affect the process
of teacher delivery of knowledge in the classroom later. Therefore, efforts should be made to relevant prospective
science teachers to enhance creativity in order to encourage creative learning environment in the classroom so as to
produce science students who can develop their creative and entrepreneurial knowledge. In addition, another related
study was carried out by Noradilah creativity (2009) was conducted to survey the practice of science students'
creativity and innovation in implementing the Final Year Project (FYP)). Findings showed that there are practice of
creativity and innovation during the implementation of FYP, but less control of creativity and innovation when
implementing the FYP. There are four factors that contribute to creativity and innovation among students, as
individuals, positive attitude, encouragement and personal. Individual factors are the main factors contributing to the
creativity and innovation. The researchers suggested that students, lecturers and the university should intensify
efforts to produce students who creative and innovative when implementing the FYP.
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Sternberg & Lubart (1996) also argued that the school is to impart the creativity in students a low tolerance for
failure. This makes students afraid to take risks. The failure may cause the student to perform repairs or may feel
embarrassed because seen as an idiot. This causes them to always take the safe route and do something challenging
themselves. For example, when they managed to enter the Institute of Higher Education, they will tend to choose
easy subjects rather than subjects that challenging them. This fact is likely to be crippled because of their creativity
to become a truly creative individual to take risks that are commensurate with their actual ability (Sternberg &
Lubart, 1996). Another important element that can have a negative impact on students' creativity is the peer group.
Torrance (1963) through the research revealed that creativity scores for the students to be consistently lower after
the fourth year. He also found that the cause of the drop in the level of creativity was because pressures to conform
to their peer group increases. In addition, Amabile (1996) a researcher in the field of social psychology mentioned
that the peer group was the main obstacle that caused the student refused to take risks and express their creative
Mary (2000) in his study on secondary school teachers in the district of Sandakan, Sabah through survey
instruments have the knowledge and mastery of the teacher to determine the types of thinking skills is moderate to
weak level of mastery in the domain of creative thinking skills and lack of application of learning and teaching.
Meanwhile, Fasko, 2001; Runco, 2003 in his study found that teachers have negative attitudes and less tolerant of
the characteristics associated with creativity, although they appreciate the creative practice itself.
Further, some research studies (Davies et al., 2004; Panagiotis Kampylis et al., 2009) found that teachers have a
narrow view on creativity and less emphasis on creative teaching practices. The findings of Cheng (2011) on the
teachers in Hong Kong found that the science curriculum in Hong Kong is too dense for some students which can
not apply creativity in the classroom, just focus on subject content. Thus, the perception of its students on creativity
taught by teachers dropped due to lack of time during the learning that can be used with creativity and innovation.
There is a paradox in design education however. While most education is conservative in nature, quite rightly
slow to change teaching methods and practices, design education as a subject explicitly teaches the value of doing
things differently, fostering and demanding creativity and innovation from students. Design education, however, is
resistant to applying those values to it. Design courses are still mainly discipline-based—in graphics, products,
textiles, etc.—with a focus on learning practical and technical skills. Any radical deviation from this, especially one
that moves towards more general understandings of design, are paradoxically viewed as a debasement of design
values, not of providing increased value (Floyd, 2012).
According to Renzulli and Reis (1992) stated that teachers can be a model of creative behavior by sharing their
personal creative production with students. Toh (2003) also proposed a more centralized approach to teaching
students. This recommendation is made based on the assumption that the environment that is free, flexible and open
needed to stimulate creativity. Student-centered teaching approach will stimulate enjoyment, participation in
classroom activities, self-concept and student talents (Toh, 2003). According to Cropley (1997) is in this student-
centered teaching is to evaluate and promote teachers ' and students' behavior, such as diligence, perseverance,
curiosity, love challenges, like to take high risks and determination. Therefore, to realize that the curriculum into an
opportunity to develop creativity, teachers should use the opportunity to practice creative teaching practices in the
classroom. Creative teaching practice is an important element to achieve the objectives of educational institutions in
the development of creative students (Cheng, 2011; Biljana Stojanova, 2010; Chien and Hui, 2010). Besides, the
action research study conducted by Gomes (2005) which included observations of the students in the classrooms,
one using the creativity-focused curriculum and other science using the existing curriculum That indicated the
enhanced science curriculum played a role in enhancing the creativity of the children in the creativity-focused
group. The result of "Thinking creatively in action and movement" test showed a significant increase is in scores for
the children in the group focused creativity.
Recognizing that creativity will be destroyed when a person is in fear, therefore as a teacher we need to be more
sensitive in this regard by creating a more friendly environment for our students more creative and able to carry out
teaching and learning more interesting and effective. According to Maria and Kamisah (2010), students who were
exposed to varieties of activities that can enhance creativity and were given freedom to explore in their learning
process had increased in their creativity. Among other recommendations that can foster creative thinking in science
472 Adzliana Mohd Daud et al. / Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 59 ( 2012 ) 467 – 474
learning is integrating science learning with ICT. In this regard, science teachers must master the skills to teach the
21st century by using ICT, such as web-based learning skills, including blogs, multimedia and interactive media.
Through this technology, teachers can produce scientific questions on the topic of study articles. As an alternative to
improve the quality of teaching, teachers can ask questions that encourage students think through these virtual
activities. Students are given the opportunity to argue, comment, answer questions, and make inquiries through a
virtual forum that failed to live by the teachers through blogs, websites and so on. This virtual activity is actually
capable of creating a positive mind in order to use their minds.
According to Cachia et al. (2007), blog applications is the major component of creativity because of the blogging
activity, students can express the creativity and innovative use of technology. This activity is also expected to help
develop students' character a shame to communicate to the more daring and views expressed through the medium of
ICT. The embedded creativity through a fully integrated web 2.0 learning environment and design studio embodies
the social nature of creativity by allowing the sharing expertise through discussion about the embedded web project
(Floyd, 2012). Thus, it can fulfill the aspirations of the younger Malaysia a more creative and innovative in his
thinking and efficient use of new technology and be able to access and manage information in an age of information
explosion nowadays. This effort is capable of promoting the use of ICT in teaching in line with government efforts
to increase use among teachers thus make it available for students.
Further, project-based teaching is known as "Project Based Learning (PBL) can also be applied to foster
creativity in science learning. Project-based teaching is a teaching method that emphasizes research in the form of
student projects as a means of acquiring knowledge. This method emphasizes learning and practice of self-
exploration by students. According to Poh (2003), the project is defined as a task, the construction or proper
investigation which will lead to a specific aim. It can be implemented to encourage students to use science process
skills in solving a particular task group. This will form the creative thinking and generate interest from a number of
students using science process skills and develop a product or product quality and innovative work. This is
consistent with the findings by Randler and Hulde (2007) who found that students who were taught by means of
participation in the activity showed greater interest in their learning. If the interest arises, the easier it is born out of
the box creative thinking of students. In fact, the attitude of cooperation and interpersonal skills also can be applied.
Challenges of the 21st century demands that the state had provided generations with high creativity to compete
globally. Thus, science education should provide the basic site to drive creativity in that direction. Teachers as key
agents need to use a creative approach to learning before they can produce students who are at once creative
thinking in a creative act. Student-centered learning, a cooperative and effective use of Web 2.0 is seen to encourage
creative thinking and innovative students. However, the main obstacle lies in the teachers in their willingness to
change the paradigm in line with national development needs. In the development of competitive industries,
investments in higher education and skills of highly qualified will have a significant impact on the market and
Creativity is a complex mental activity, but very important to human life. To have the skills to think creatively,
one must know the basic methods of creative thought that he truly understood and thus one can obtain interesting
results. It is a discipline to be mastered through learning and life experiences. One can strengthen personal and
creative personality who already owned. Creative teaching strategies can help students generate new ideas and
explore areas in greater depth. In addition, with the appropriate techniques in developing creative ideas, students can
develop the existing talent and always thinking about how best to develop the talents and abilities. Creative thinking
is an important aspect in generating new knowledge that is holistic and covers all aspects of development. Thus
nurturing creativity is important in learning to ensure quality human capital.
We would like to thank UKM for providing the research grant (UKM-PTS-062-2009).
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