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Fostering Creativity in the Classroom: Effects of Teachers' Epistemological Beliefs, Motivation, and Goal Orientation

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Abstract

The relationships of teachers' epistemological beliefs, motivation, and goal orientation to their instructional practices that foster student creativity were examined. Teachers' perceived instructional practices that facilitate the development of multiple perspectives in problem solving, transfer, task commitment, creative skill use, and collaboration were measured as indicators of their effort to foster creative thinking in students. Participants were 178 elementary-school teachers of third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders. Teachers' learning goal orientation was the most significant teacher attribute that demonstrated significant impacts on all five creativity-fostering instructional practices. Teachers with sophisticated beliefs about knowledge and with high intrinsic motivation for creative work also reported supporting student creativity through some of their instructional practices. However, teachers' motivation for challenging work, beliefs about learning, or performance goals did not significantly predict most of the creativity-fostering instructional practices. Educational implications of the current findings are offered.
Journal of Creative Behavior
1Volume __ Number ___ _______ Quarter 2009
EUNSOOK HONG
STEPHANIE A. HARTZELL
MARY T. GREENE
Fostering Creativity in the Classroom:
Effects of Teachers’ Epistemological beliefs,
Motivation, and Goal Orientation
ABSTRACT
The relationships of teachers’ epistemological beliefs, motivation, and goal
orientation to their instructional practices that foster student creativity were
examined. Teachers’ perceived instructional practices that facilitate the develop-
ment of multiple perspectives in problem solving, transfer, task commitment,
creative skill use, and collaboration were measured as indicators of their effort
to foster creative thinking in students. Participants were 178 elementary-school
teachers of third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders. Teachers’ learning goal orientation
was the most significant teacher attribute that demonstrated significant impacts
on all five creativity-fostering instructional practices. Teachers with sophisticated
beliefs about knowledge and with high intrinsic motivation for creative work
also reported supporting student creativity through some of their instructional
practices. However, teachers’ motivation for challenging work, beliefs about
learning, or performance goals did not significantly predict most of the creativity-
fostering instructional practices. Educational implications of the current findings
were offered.
INTRODUCTION
In the creativity-fostering classroom, teachers generate and maintain a climate
in which creative thinkers are respected, students tolerate new ideas, conformity
is not imposed, and diversity in ideas is encouraged and appreciated (Cropley,
2006). Teachers can improve creative thinking in students by providing choices,
rewarding different ideas and products, encouraging sensible risks, and empha-
sizing students’ strengths and interests (de Souza Fleith, 2000; Kaufman &
Sternberg, 2007). With increasing diversity in the classroom, teachers can utilize
the positive aspects of cultural diversity that can benefit all students and make
efforts to promote creative problem solving and idea generation among students
(Leung, Maddux, Galinsky, & Chiu, 2008). Furthermore, when teachers construct
real and critical events, model their own creativity for students, and use space
creatively, creative learning is likely to occur (Jeffrey, 2006; Rejskind, 2000).
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Teacher Attributes and Instruction for Creativity
Unfortunately, the majority of teachers prefer a classroom full of intellectual,
high-achieving students to those who are highly creative and unconventional
(Davis & Rimm, 1994). Some teachers see creative children as a source of inter-
ference or sometime incorrectly identify them as having impulsive/hyperactive
or disruptive behavior (Brandau et al., 2007; Scott, 1999). With these observa-
tions, it is not too surprising to read Schacter, Thum, and Zifkin’s (2006) report
that the majority of elementary-school teachers do not implement strategies that
foster creativity in students.
Stein and Poole (1997) challenge teachers to question their teaching practices
and views concerning student learning. Along with other recommendations by
creativity scholars introduced above, Stein and Poole recommend that teachers
create classroom environments to meet individual students’ interests and needs,
design curriculum to ensure open-ended activities, and utilize real-life contexts
for assessing and reporting learning outcomes. These strategies help students
not only become more versed in creative thinking, but also situate them in an
environment that fosters creativity.
Although there are suggestions as to what instructional strategies may improve
creativity in students, there is a paucity of studies investigating teacher character-
istics which impact their creativity-fostering instructional practices. Teacher char-
acteristics studied in the past that are considered effective include enthusiasm,
a sense of humor, empathy, accepting and caring, openness, or dedication to
students, which place high value on interpersonal relationships (McGreevy, 1990;
Whitlock & DuCette, 1989). However, cognitive-motivational constructs that have
been studied in recent years in education and psychology have not been exam-
ined regarding their relationships to creativity-fostering instructional practices.
The current research focused on teachers’ epistemological beliefs, intrinsic moti-
vation, and goal orientation as these constructs have been widely studied to
examine their effects on student learning (Amabile, 1996; Dweck & Leggett, 1988).
Due to the paucity of research on relationships between teacher characteristics
and creativity-fostering instructional practices, we first review instructional
approaches related to creative thinking, followed by teachers’ beliefs and attributes.
INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES FOR FOSTERING CREATIVE THINKING
Of the instructional strategies that facilitate the development of creative
thinking and the formation of creative habits discussed in the literature (e.g., Daiute
& Dalton, 1993; Renzulli, Smith, White, Callahan, Hartman, & Westberg, 2002),
we directed our focus on multiple perspectives in problem solving, transfer of
knowledge to different situations, task commitment, creative skill use, and
collaboration.
Multiple perspectives in problem solving. Creative thinkers generate not only
novel ideas but multiple, divergent ideas (Guilford, 1967). Runco (2003) defines
being creative as a type of problem solving that involves the construction of new
meaning. Creative thinkers across a wide age range demonstrate abilities in real-
life problem-solving in various domains (e.g., social leadership, mathematics,
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sales, and management) as indicated by their ability to produce original and
divergent solutions to problems posed to them (Hong & Milgram, 2008). As shown
in meta-analytic studies (Ma, 2006), training to improve creative thinking has
shown positive effects in increasing creative problem-solving skills (Chen, Himsel,
Kasof, Greenberger, & Dmitrieva, 2006), although effect sizes varied for domain-
general, domain-specific, or task-specific problems (Baer & Kaufman, 2005).
Transfer of knowledge and strategies. Transfer indicates the ability to take
knowledge or strategies gained in one situation and apply it to a different situa-
tion. With the flexible or divergent use of knowledge, skills, and strategies, stu-
dents are able to transfer their learning to different situations. Gifted students
often demonstrate higher ability to transfer strategies to novel tasks as compared
to average students (Carr, Alexander, & Schwanenflugel, 1996). Strategy transfer
can be trained to all levels of students including gifted and average students, as
well as those with learning difficulties (Ferretti & Butterfield, 1992).
Task commitment. Renzulli (2002) defines task commitment as the capacity
for high levels of interest, hard work and determination, self-confidence and
the drive to achieve, the ability to identify significant problems, and setting high
standards for one’s work. Task commitment is an essential attribute of children
for their achievement (Lee-Corbin & Denicolo, 1998). Task commitment is also
an important characteristic of resilient people, along with the desire to learn,
reflectiveness, maturity, and self-understanding (Bland, Sowa, & Callahan, 1994).
Feldhusen (1995) contends that students need to commit themselves to develop-
ing their creativity and talent and that providing challenging tasks is an effective
way to encourage commitment.
Creative skill use. To help students realize creative-thinking ability, students
must be given opportunities to use it. Giftedness, as determined by test scores
and good grades, is only weakly associated with adult creative contributions
(Siegler & Kotovsky, 1986; Sternberg, 1987). Challenging activities that creative
children engage in are often done to satisfy their own curiosity and interests, rather
than to achieve high grades or satisfy their teachers and parents (Hong, Milgram,
& Whiston, 1993). Longitudinal studies provide evidence of the predictive validity
of challenging activities, as indicated by strong correlations between creative
activities in various domains and career choice and accomplishment in corre-
sponding domains (Milgram & Hong, 1999). Encouraging children to participate
in activities in school and out of school in a domain of their interest increases
opportunities for them to use creative thinking and skills. Teachers can help stu-
dents improve creativity by providing challenging and interesting tasks in the
classroom that require creative skill use.
Collaboration. Collaboration is often viewed as a catalyst in the creative pro-
cess. The open exchange of ideas can serve to enhance learning for all members
of the group (Webb & Palincsar, 1996). Daiute and Dalton (1993) explain how
peer collaboration may be effective at increasing awareness of students’ inert
knowledge. Brainstorming as a form of collaborative work among group mem-
bers has been used widely as a component in creative training (e.g., Parnes, 1988;
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Teacher Attributes and Instruction for Creativity
Treffinger, Isaksen, & Dorval, 2003). These collaborative activities provide indi-
vidual students with opportunities to increase creative abilities and skills. How-
ever, effects of brainstorming in creative production are not consistent. Group
cohesiveness, for example, is important factor affecting the effectiveness of brain-
storming. Group members work hard and produce more ideas in the highly cohe-
sive group as compared to the less cohesive group (Yip, Chow, Cheng, Cheuk, &
McBride-Chang, 2007). Moreover, classroom environments that require collabo-
ration have received warning flags for their negative influence on high achievers
partly due to the lack of group cohesiveness. Lack of academic challenge can
lead to boredom among students and such negative experiences can further lead
them to frustration, isolation, or depression (Baker, Bridger, & Evans, 1998; Clasen
& Clasen, 1995).
TEACHER CHARACTERISTICS
Numerous psychological constructs have been studied to determine their
relationships with students’ academic achievement and behaviors. Self-regulated
learning, motivation, epistemological beliefs, and goal orientation are among those
that have demonstrated their effects on student learning (Amabile, 1996; Brophy,
2005). In this study, we addressed teachers’ epistemological beliefs, intrinsic
motivation, and goal orientations to determine whether these characteristics have
any relationships to their instruction practices for facilitating the development of
creative thinking in students. Due to the lack of studies with teachers on these
constructs, we reviewed literature on students as well as teachers.
Epistemological beliefs. Epistemological beliefs — beliefs about the nature of
knowledge and knowing — influence learning and achievement (e.g., Hofter &
Pintrich, 1997). Individuals with naïve beliefs tend to oversimplify information and
perform more poorly than those with sophisticated beliefs (Kardash & Howell,
2000). Classroom interactions between teachers and students influence the
development of epistemological beliefs (Posner, Strike, Hewson, and Gerzog.
1982). By providing a proper learning environment and by encouraging students
to explicitly reflect on their epistemological beliefs, teachers can promote changes
in students’ epistemological beliefs (Brownlee, Purdie, & Boulton-Lewis, 2001).
Shommer (1990, 1994) proposed a multidimensional conceptualization of
epistemological beliefs, with five dimensions in her earlier work (Schommer, 1994)
and four dimensions in the later work (Schommer, Calvert, Gariglietti, & Bajaj,
1997). The four dimensions include beliefs in simple knowledge (knowledge
is characterized as isolated pieces versus knowledge is complex), beliefs in
certain knowledge (knowledge is absolute versus knowledge is uncertain),
beliefs in quick learning (learning is quick or not at all versus knowledge is
constructed through learning processes), and beliefs in fixed ability (ability to
learn is innate versus ability is malleable) (Schommer & Walker, 1995). Individu-
als’ epistemological beliefs vary along a continuum of naïve to sophisticated
beliefs in these dimensions.
However, the dimensions advanced by Schommer have been challenged. Hofer
and Pintrich (1997) distinguished the nature of learning (beliefs in fixed ability
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and quick learning) from the nature of knowledge (beliefs in certain knowledge
and simple knowledge) and other findings also have challenged Shommer’s
dimensions (Qian & Alvermann, 1995). With these theoretical and empirical back-
grounds, we examined two higher order components of teachers’ epistemologi-
cal beliefs — the nature of knowledge and the nature of learning — to determine
how they are related to teachers’ creativity-fostering instructional practices. To
our knowledge, studies of the relationship between epistemological beliefs and
creativity have not been conducted.
Intrinsic motivation. Intrinsically motivated individuals are curious, interested,
and enjoy the tasks in which they are engaged. By contrast, extrinsically moti-
vated individuals engage in tasks with the goal of seeking rewards (Wigfied &
Guthrie, 1997). A recent study (Vansteenkiste, Timmermans, Lens, Soenens, &
Van den Broek, 2008) report the advantage of intrinsic motivation over extrinsic
motivation in learning, suggesting that teachers can promote intrinsic goals, even
when students hold a strong extrinsic goal orientation. Creatively talented people
are intrinsically motivated. They exhibit high interest and enjoyment in what they
choose to do (Amabile, 1996; Winner, 1996). Although effects of intrinsic motiva-
tion on creativity have been discussed, intrinsic motivation distinguished in its
manifestation in challenging versus creative work has not been investigated. In
this study, we examined two types of intrinsic motivation in their relationship to
teachers’ instructions fostering creativity: (a) motivation as manifested by enjoy-
ing or favoring challenging work and (b) motivation as manifested by enjoying
or favoring creative work.
Goal orientation. Goals provide a framework within which a person interprets
and responds to events and results in a unique pattern of cognition, behavior, and
affect (Dweck & Leggett, 1988). Two types of goal orientations have been dis-
cussed widely — learning/mastery goal orientation and performance goal orien-
tations. Goal orientation is also described in terms of approach (e.g., a person is
motivated by the desire to approach success) or avoidance (i.e., a person is
motivated by the desire to avoid failure) (Elliot & McGregor, 2001). Students with
learning goals define success as mastering or learning something new, thus
facilitating the development of competence and task mastery, whereas students
with performance goals demonstrate their competence relative to others (Midgley
& Urdan, 1995).
Learning and performance goals are positively and negatively related to intrin-
sic motivation, respectively (Colquitt & Simmering, 1998; ValldeWalle &
Cummings, 1997). Building on these findings, Farr, Sin, and Tesluk (2003) sug-
gest that during creative process, individuals with learning goal orientations are
likely more active participants in creative thinking such as idea generation. Teach-
ers who promote learning goals have a tendency to structure classroom environ-
ments that require student involvement, encourage student interaction, emphasize
effort, and describe learning as an active process (Patrick, Anderman, Ryan,
Edelin, & Midgley, 2001). Teachers who focus on performance goals tend to con-
centrate their efforts on formal assessments, grades, and the relative performance
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Teacher Attributes and Instruction for Creativity
of their students (Patrick et al., 2001). Understanding teachers’ goal orientation
is important because classroom processes and task/goal structures that teach-
ers establish affect students’ reasoning and thinking (Ames & Archer, 1988; Nolen,
1988).
RESEARCH QUESTIONS
We examined the relationships of teachers’ epistemological beliefs (beliefs about
knowledge versus about learning), intrinsic motivation (challenging work versus
creative work), and goal orientation (learning versus performance goals) to their
instructional practices that facilitate the development of creative thinking in stu-
dents. Five facilitating instructional practices examined in the study were mul-
tiple perspectives in problem solving, transfer, task commitment, creative skill
use, and collaboration. Based on the theoretical and empirical work, we predicted
that teachers with higher epistemological sophistication, motivation for creative
work, and learning goal orientation would self-rate higher on the measures of
creativity-fostering instructional approaches.
METHOD
Participants
Participants were 178 elementary-school teachers of third-, fourth-, and
fifth-graders from a large metropolitan school district. The elementary teachers
consisted of 142 (80%) female and 34 (19%) male teachers (2 unspecified). The
majority of teachers were Caucasian-American (150; 84%). Ages of teachers
varied widely from 21-25 (11; 6%), 26-30 (25; 14%), 31-35 (33; 19%), 36-40
(29; 16%), 41-45 (22; 12%), and 46 and higher (56; 32%), with 2 cases (1%) of
unspecified age. Participants’ teaching experience (defined as the number of years
teaching) ranged from less than one year to 37 years, with a median of 9 years.
Fifty-one teachers (29%) had up to 5 years of teaching experience, 52 (29%) 6
to 10 years, 20 (11%) 11-15 years, 21 (12%) 16-20 years, 8 (5%) 21 to 25 years, 16
(9%) 26-30 years, and 7 (4%) 31 to 37 years (3 unspecified). Seven participants
were removed from data analyses due to incomplete responses (e.g., skipping
an item or a page), thus not yielding scores for all variables required in the
current study. Inspection of these cases indicated that the missing items/pages
were random.
Measures
Instructional Practices Questionnaire I (IPQ-I, Hong, Hartzell, & Nadelson,
2005, 2006). The IPQ-I measured teachers’ perceived instructional practices that
facilitate the development of creative thinking in students. The questionnaire
has 30 items measuring 5 constructs (6 items per construct). The questionnaire
begins with a general stem (“Students in my class are given opportunities
to”) followed by items. Examples of items are: “solve problems that have
more than one answer” (Multiple perspectives in problem solving); “apply their
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knowledge and skills in different or unfamiliar situations” (Transfer); “do their
best to complete tasks” (Task commitment); “demonstrate brainstorming skills”
(Creative skill use); and “work in groups” (Collaboration). Exploratory factor
analysis (EFA) for each subscale produced one-factor structure with 46%, 40%,
34%, 43%, and 50% explained variance, respectively. Participants responded to
each item by rating their perception of students’ opportunities to receive these
instructions on the following 4-point scale: (1) Almost never, (2) Sometimes,
(3) Often, and (4) Almost always, indicating a continuum of increasing levels of
intensity. Internal consistency estimates (coefficient alpha) of subscale scores
ranged from .75 to .85 (Mdn = .80).
Epistemological Beliefs in Teaching and Learning (EBTL; Hong & Nadelson,
2005, 2006). The EBTL questionnaire was developed based on Schommer (1990)
and Wood and Kardash (2002), by modifying items to measure classroom teach-
ers’ beliefs about student learning. Following recent empirical and theoretical works
on epistemological beliefs, two subscale scores were computed: beliefs about
the nature of knowledge (9 items) and beliefs about the nature of learning
(10 items). Empirical factors were not as well defined (i.e., a complex structure
emerged). However, one-factor structure in each subscale was acceptable with
21% and 37% explained variances, respectively.
Examples of the items on beliefs about the nature of knowledge are: “When
I teach, I prefer to make things as simple as possible” and “It’s a waste of time
for students to work on problems that have no possibility of coming out with a
clear-cut answer.” Sample items for beliefs about the nature of learning are: “If
students don’t understand material right away, repeating the same material usu-
ally doesn’t help” and “Smart students don’t have to study very hard to get good
grades.” Participants responded to each item by rating themselves on a four-point
Likert scale of agreement: (1) Strongly disagree, (2) Disagree, (3) Agree, and
(4) Strongly agree. Internal consistency estimates of scores was .65 and .85 for
nature of knowledge and nature of learning, respectively.
Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ): Intrinsic Motivation (Hong, 2001,
2004). The intrinsic motivation subscale in the SAQ was used to measure partici-
pants’ motivational inclination in two areas — enjoying or favoring “challenging”
work and enjoying or favoring “creative” work. The items about challenge were
modified from the Work Preference Inventory by Amabile, Hill, Hennessey, and
Tighe (1994). The items about enjoying work that required creativity were devel-
oped by the first author. The subscale consisted of 8 items; 4 items regarded the
former (e.g., “I enjoy working on complex tasks”) and 4 items regarded the latter
(e.g., “I prefer the kind of work for which I can use my imagination or creative
thinking”). Two-factor structure emerged from EFA (66% explained variance),
although two creative items loaded on both factors. One item involved solving
open-ended problems that have many different answers and the other involved
coming up with new solutions. Inherently, most work involving creativity are chal-
lenging, although challenging works may or may not require creative thinking.
Thus, these two items remained as “creative” items.
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Teacher Attributes and Instruction for Creativity
Participants responded to each item by indicating how they generally think or
feel on the following 4-point scale: (1) Almost never, (2) Sometimes, (3) Often,
and (4) Almost always. Internal consistency estimates of the scores for motiva-
tion for challenging and creative work were .84 and .76, respectively.
Instructional Practices Questionnaire II (IPQ-II, Hong, Nadelson, & Hartzell,
2005, 2006). The IPQ-II measured teachers’ goal orientations as they are
manifested in their perceived instructional practices in processing and structur-
ing tasks and instructional materials for their students. This questionnaire con-
sisted of 24 items measuring two subscale constructs, 12 items each for learning
and performance goals, respectively. The EFA extracted two non-overlapping
factors (41% of variance explained). The questionnaire began with a general
stem (“In my class…”) followed by items. Examples of these items are: “I select
challenging instructional materials for my classes” (learning goal orientation)
and “I focus on students’ test performance because good test scores indicate
that I taught well” (performance goal orientation). Participants responded
to each item by rating their classroom practices on the following scale: (1) Not
at all true, (2) Seldom true, (3) Somewhat true, and (4) Very true. Internal
consistency estimates of scores on learning and performance goals were .87 and
.87, respectively.
Procedure
Data collection. In an effort to distribute questionnaires to third-, fourth-, and
fifth-grade teachers evenly, volunteers were sought at regional meetings of
resource room teachers of gifted students. Packets of survey instruments were
distributed to teachers attending the meetings who volunteered to distribute them
at the school sites they served. These packets contained consent forms and seven
questionnaire packets; two packets for two teachers of each grade and one packet
for the resource room teacher who volunteered to distribute the packets. With the
permission of the school administrators, volunteers were sought in each grade.
The completed questionnaires were then returned to the researchers through the
school district’s inter-school mail delivery system.
Data analysis. Simultaneous multiple regression analyses were performed to
examine the research questions. Intercorrelations among predictors ranged from
.02 to .66 in absolute value, with a median correlation of .22. Subscale correla-
tions were .53 for epistemological beliefs, .66 for intrinsic motivation, and .26 for
goal orientation. With the current scale (all continuous) for predictors and crite-
rion, correlation patterns, and sample size, simultaneous regression analysis was
a proper choice for significance testing. Assumptions for regression analysis were
tested. Skewness and kurtosis on each variable ranged from .07 to .92, with an
exception of one variable with 1.13. Although there were univariate outliers (one
with a z score larger than 3 and a few between 2 and 3), influence analyses
indicated that none of the univariate outliers were influential. Thus, all cases were
included for analyses. Linearity, homoscedasticity, and multicollinearity (toler-
ance value and variance inflation factor) assumptions were largely met.
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Before attempting to adjust for differences in teaching experience among
participants, preliminary analyses of correlations between years of teaching and
the dependent measures were conducted. None of the correlation coefficients
were larger than .30, thus inclusion of years of teaching would not increase
the precision of the study (Pedhazur, 1997). Following the estimation of internal
consistency for each construct, five regression models were tested for each
dependent measure of instructional approaches with six teacher characteristics
as independent variables.
RESULTS
Mean scores and correlations between the variables are presented in Table 1.
A preliminary inspection of the mean scores indicated that epistemological
beliefs about both the nature of knowledge and learning were below mean, sug-
gesting that teachers in general have more sophisticated than naïve epistemo-
logical beliefs. Mean scores of instructional practices ranged from 3.04 to 3.19 (of
a maximum score of 4), indicating that on average, elementary teachers per-
ceived themselves as highly involved in the instructional practices examined in
the study.
Correlations among predictors (teacher characteristics) ranged from .02 to
.67 (median .22, in absolute values). Correlations between dependent variables
(instructional practices) and predictors ranged from .001 to .63 (median .27,
in absolute values). Teachers’ performance goal orientation demonstrated low
and nonsignificant correlations with all dependent variables, ps > .05, rs ranging
from .001 to .08, whereas learning goal orientation had high correlations, rs
ranging from .34 to .63, followed by motivations for creative work, rs ranging
from .33 to .50.
Whether teachers’ beliefs and attributes predict perceived use of instructional
approaches that foster creativity in students was examined next. We present the
findings for each instructional approach.
Multiple Perspectives
Variance of multiple perspectives in problem solving accounted for by the six
teacher characteristics (R2 = 34%) indicated that the effect size is large (Cohen,
1992) and statistically significant, F(6, 164) = 15.40, p < .0005. Teachers’ intrin-
sic motivation as manifested in their self-reported enjoyment of creative work
(ß = .40, p = .001) and learning goal orientation as manifested in their self-
reported classroom process and task structure (ß = .33, p = .001) were the two
strongest teacher characteristics that predicted perceived instructional practice
fostering multiple perspective in problem solving. Teachers’ beliefs about the
nature of knowledge had a negative effect (ß = –.18, p = .03), indicating that
teachers who scored high (indicating naïve beliefs) on the nature of knowledge
(knowledge is simple or certain) scored lower on perceived instructional practice
fostering multiple perspectives. Other predictors were not significant in their rela-
tionship with the instructional approach for multiple perspectives (see Table 2).
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TABLE 1. Means and Standard Deviations and Bivariate Correlations Between Six Predictors and Six Dependent
Measures.
Variables MSD1234567891011
1. EB knowledge 1.98 .32 __
2. EB learning 1.75 .42 .53 __
3. Motivation challenge 3.01 .59 –.21 –.20 __
4. Motivation creativity 2.42 .55 –.19 –.22 .67 __
5. Learning goal 3.37 .38 –.15 a –.27 .32 .46 __
6. Performance goal 2.42 .57 .38 .03a.09 a –.02 a .26 __
7. Multiple perspectives 3.06 .49 –.26 –.18 .28 .50 .47 –.03 a __
8. Transfer 3.15 .45 –.25 –.25 .28 .45 .61 .00 a .77 __
9. Task commitment 3.10 .45 –.19 –.19 .29 .41 .63 .08 a .63 .65 __
10. Creative skill use 3.19 .47 –.25 –.24 .28 .48 .57 .04 a .81 .77 .70 __
11. Collaboration 3.04 .53 –.24 –.23 .37 .33 .34 .03 a .62 .57 .58 .65 __
Note. EB knowledge = Epistemological beliefs in nature of knowledge; EB learning = Epistemological beliefs in nature
of learning; Motivation challenge = Intrinsic motivation – enjoying challenging work; Motivation creativity = Intrinsic
motivation — enjoying creative work; Learning goal = Learning goal orientation reflected in teachers’ instructional
approach in classroom; Performance goal = performance goal orientation; Multiple perspectives = Multiple perspec-
tives in problem solving.
a Not significant at the .05 significance level. The rest of the correlation coefficients are significant at .05.
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TABLE 2. Simultaneous Multiple Regression Predicting Teachers’ Instructional Approach to Facilitate Creative
Thinking.
Multiple Task Creative
perspectives Transfer commitment skill use Collaboration
Variables bbp bb p bbp bb p bbp
EB knowledge –.28 –.18 .03 –.15 –.11 .16 –.13 –.09 .25 –.23 –.16 .05 –.20 –.12 .18
EB learning .07 .06 .45 –.02 –.02 .77 .04 .04 .59 –.00 –.00 .97 –.08 –.06 .49
Motivation
challenge –.10 –.12 .18 –.05 –.07 .41 .01 .02 .84 –.09 –1.11 .20 .21 .23 .02
Motivation
creativity .36 .40 .001
a
.19 .24 .006 .10 .12 .15 .28 .33 .001
a
.05 .05 .61
Learning goal .43 .33 .001
a
.62 .53 .001
a
.67 .57 .001
a
.53 .43 .001
a
.29 .21 .01
Performance
goal –.04 –.04 .58 –.07 –.09 .18 –.04 –.04 .54 –.00 –.01 .95 –.01 –.01 .92
R
2
adj,
R
2
, F .34 .36 15.40 .42 .44 21.50 .40 .42 19.82 .39 .41 19.11 .19 .22 7.50
Note. The degrees of freedom for F statistic were 6 and 164; all ps < .0005 for F statistics. EB knowledge = Epistemo-
logical beliefs in nature of knowledge; EB learning = Epistemological beliefs in nature of learning; Motivation challenge
= Intrinsic motivation – enjoying challenging work; Motivation creativity = Intrinsic motivation – enjoying creative work;
Learning goal = Learning goal orientation reflected in teachers’ instructional approach in classroom; Performance goal
= performance goal orientation.
a p < .001.
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Transfer
Forty-two percent of variance in teachers’ instructional practice that foster
transfer of knowledge and strategies in students was attributed to six teacher
characteristics, indicating practical as well as statistical significance, F(6, 164) =
21.50, p < .0005. As in the analysis of multiple perspectives, teachers’ intrinsic
motivation for creative work (ß = .24, p = .006) and their learning goal orientation
(ß = .53, p < .001) predicted strongly reported instructional practices fostering
knowledge and strategy transfer. No other predictors demonstrated a significant
relationship with the instruction for transfer (see Table 2).
Commitment
Forty percent of variance in teachers’ instructional practice that promote stu-
dents’ commitment to task was accounted for by all predictors, indicating both
practical and statistical significance, F(6, 164) = 19.82, p < .0005. However, only
one teacher attribute, learning goal orientation, predicted task commitment
significantly (ß = .57, p < .001) (see Table 2).
Creative Skill Use
Six teacher characteristics together accounted for 39% of variance in teachers’
instructional practice that foster creative skill use in students, F(6, 164) = 19.11, p
< .0005. Teachers’ beliefs about the nature of knowledge (ß = -.16, p = .05), moti-
vation for creative work (ß = .33, p < .001), and learning goal orientation (ß = .43,
p < .001) predicted significantly perceived instructional practices fostering cre-
ative skill use (see Table 2). Teachers with more sophisticated beliefs about knowl-
edge, higher motivation for creative work, and more learning-goal orientation in
their class structure reported encouraging students to use creative skills more so
than their peers with lower scores in these attributes.
Collaboration
Lastly, 19% of variance in teachers’ instructional practices that promote
collaboration among students was predicted by all six teacher characteristics,
F(6, 164) = 7.50, p < .0005. Teachers’ learning goal orientation (ß = .21, p = .01)
as well as motivation for challenging work (ß = .23, p = .02) predicted signifi-
cantly perceived instructional practices that facilitate peer collaboration. Unlike
other findings, motivation for creative work was not statistically significant,
p > .60 (see Table 2).
DISCUSSION
Teacher characteristics, collectively, accounted for a statistically significant
as well as practically significant proportion of variances in each of the five in-
structional practices examined in the study with elementary teachers. However,
some individual teacher attributes were more strongly predictive of instructional
practices than were others, and some did not significantly predict teachers’
instructional practices. We present the findings by drawing attention to each
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teacher characteristics, starting with the strongest attribute that demonstrated its
effects on elementary teachers’ creativity-fostering instructional practices.
Learning Goal Orientation
Of the six teacher characteristics, teachers’ goal orientation toward learning,
as reflected in their self-report of course and task structure in their classes, con-
sistently predicted all five creativity-fostering instructional approaches. Effect sizes
were consistently medium to large, with standardized regression coefficients rang-
ing from .33 to .57 (mdn = .42), except for one instructional practice involving
collaboration (.21). Teachers with higher learning-goal scores reported that they
provide instruction that fosters multiple perspectives in problem solving, transfer
of learned materials to new or different situations, commitment to tasks, use of
creative skills, and collaboration among students. Overall, teachers’ own learn-
ing goals, as compared to other attributes, was the most significant predictor of
their instructional practices that foster creative thinking in students.
Previous findings indicate that individuals with learning goal orientations likely
involve themselves more actively in learning (Midgley & Urdan, 1995), creative
thinking (Farr et al., 2003) and creative activities (Hoang, 2008). The contention
is further supported by the current study.
Motivation for Creative Work
Teachers who enjoy work that requires creativity tend to provide instruction
that increases creative thinking in students. However, this effect was present only
on three of the five instructional approaches — multiple perspectives in problem
solving, transfer of learned knowledge to new situations, and use of creative skill
— all with medium to large effect sizes (.24 to .40). In general, the findings are not
surprising in that multiple perspectives, transfer, and creative skill use require
creative/divergent thinking since they involve processing or producing more than
one way of solving problems or involve more than one learning situation. Teach-
ers enjoying creative work might have easily or naturally used their personal
creative tendencies to provide these types of instructional activities in their
classrooms.
On the other hand, instruction that encourages collaboration among students
may or may not require a creative tendency in teachers. Collaborative activities
have been viewed as important to elicit creative thinking (Webb & Palincsar, 1996).
Brainstorming is one of the examples that show a strong relationship between
group collaboration and creative outcome (Treffinger et al., 2003). However, col-
laborative activities in classrooms have also shown their negative effects, espe-
cially in high ability students, when such activities were not used prudently (Baker
et al., 1998). The current finding indicates that elementary teachers who are
motivated in creative work do not necessarily promote collaboration among
students, a relationship that warrants further understanding.
The finding that instructional practices for facilitating task-commitment were
not predicted by the creative tendency in teachers was surprising. Other studies
(e.g., Feldhusen, 1995) have indicated the strong presence of task commitment
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Teacher Attributes and Instruction for Creativity
in creative individuals. Perhaps in classroom environment, task commitment is
viewed by teachers as diligence or thoroughness that may not rise up the level of
commitment required for creative process and production. This finding warrants
further investigation.
Beliefs about the Nature of Knowledge
Teachers who have more sophisticated personal beliefs about knowledge tended
to self-report as applying instructional approaches that support using multiple
perspectives in problem solving and creative skills in the classroom. That is, teach-
ers who perceive their instruction as enhancing student learning by more than
merely imparting factual and simplistic knowledge are more likely to involve stu-
dents in using or increasing creative ability and skills. However, the effect sizes
were small, indicating elementary teachers’ beliefs about the nature of knowl-
edge and creativity-inducing instruction are not strongly related to an extent that
matter practically. Additional studies may clarify the small practical significance
found in the current study.
Beliefs about the Nature of Learning, Motivation for
Challenging Work, and Performance Goal Orientation
Interestingly, the rest of the six teacher characteristics — beliefs about the
nature of learning, motivation toward challenging work, and performance goal
orientation — demonstrated minimum or no effects on teachers’ reported instruc-
tional effort to foster creative thinking in students. Although teacher’s motivation
for challenging work is a desirable attribute in student achievement, as far as its
relationship to creativity-fostering instruction was concerned, only one instruc-
tional practice was strongly related to this attribute — helping students to be
collaborative in the classroom. By contrast, teachers’ motivation for creative work
was not related to instruction promoting collaboration. One would deem that
intrinsically motivated individuals would enjoy working on both challenging and
creative work (Amabile, 1996), as work that requires creativity is challenging and
challenging work may require a certain level creativity to perform well. However,
in the current study with elementary teachers in the context of classroom teach-
ing, the two types of work that induce intrinsic motivation were distinguished in
their relationship to creativity-fostering instruction.
Lastly, teachers’ performance goal orientation did not predict any one of the
creativity-fostering instructional approaches. Performance goal orientation has
been found to have low or negative impact on student learning and achievement
(Midgley & Urdan, 1995). The current findings indicate that this pattern applies
also to teachers in regard to their creativity-fostering instructional practices.
Limitations and Future Research
Teachers’ instructional practices are influenced by many factors. We focused
on examining six teacher characteristics. Future studies might include other vari-
ables (e.g., types of teacher-education training) that may explain teachers’ in-
structional practices. How teacher educators can help preservice and in-service
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teachers develop desirable teacher attributes that impact classroom instruction
is an important area for future research. In this study, teachers’ instructional prac-
tices were measured by self-report. Teachers’ actual engagements in classroom
instruction may be different from their self-reported behaviors. Measures of
students’ creativity would enrich future research investigating the relationship
between teacher characteristics and outcomes of creativity-fostering instruction.
Although a few studies suggest that self-reports can be valid indicators of educa-
tional constructs (O’Neil, Sugrue, & Baker, 1995/1996), readers are reminded to
exercise caution in interpreting the findings.
CONCLUSIONS AND EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS
The findings of the effects of epistemological beliefs, intrinsic motivation, and
goal orientation on teachers’ perceived instructional practices examined in this
study partly replicated previous findings about the relationship between these
constructs and student learning. Elementary teachers with sophisticated beliefs
about the nature of knowledge were related to some of instructional practices
that facilitate the development of creative thinking in students. Not surprisingly,
teachers with intrinsic motivation for creative work reported practicing creativity-
fostering instruction. The most significant teacher attribute, however, was goal
orientation toward learning/mastery, which had significant impacts on all instruc-
tional practices examined in the study that foster creative thinking in students.
Teacher characteristics are one of the important factors that affect the devel-
opment of potential in all students, along with students’ own cognitive ability,
personal attributes, and other environmental factors (Hong & Milgram, 2008).
The current study indicates that teachers’ own personal beliefs and attributes do
have influences on how they structure their classroom instruction. It is imperative
that instructional approaches of classroom teachers be examined in order to
improve their instructional practices (Hong, Greene, & Higgins, 2006). However,
it is also important, if not more important, to understand teachers’ beliefs and
attributes as they have strong influences on their own instructional practices.
Examining the relationship between teachers’ instructional practices and student
creativity may not be sufficient when the influential source (teacher characteris-
tics) that shapes instructional practices is unexamined. Fundamentally, it is
what teachers bring to their instructional preparation — their beliefs and attributes
— that have a primary impact on their instructional practices (Borko & Putnam,
1996).
The good news of this research is that these teacher characteristics (teachers’
sophistication in beliefs about the nature of knowledge, intrinsic motivation re-
lated to creative work, and learning goal orientation), widely researched and con-
sidered beneficial for student learning and achievement, are also beneficial for
increasing student creativity. Preservice and in-service teachers should be pro-
vided with how-to-teachch methodology courses, but also with opportunities to
examine and challenge their beliefs and attributes as they have a major impact
on forming and implementing instructional strategies, which in turn may improve
chances for students to realize their creative potential.
Hong - Fostering Creativity.P65 2/9/2009, 5:47 PM15
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Teacher Attributes and Instruction for Creativity
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Eunsook Hong, Stephanie A. Hartzell, and Mary T. Greene, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Address correspondence concerning this paper to: Eunsook Hong, Department of Educational Psychology,
University of Nevada, Box 453003, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3003, eunsook.hong@unlv.edu.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT:
We would like to acknowledge the cooperation of the Clark County School District; without its assistance
this research could not have been conducted.
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The generation of original and innovative ideas is a challenge for any professional. There are several studies that demonstrate how the capacity to explore creativity is reduced until reaching educational levels where it is hardly experienced, and for this reason it is necessary to introduce it in the classroom to complement their academic training before their incorporation into the labour market. The use of new technologies implies in turn an abandonment of manual or craft skills, losing in this area a very relevant possibility of creative development. Most of the methods that are usually used to generate ideas are related to oral and written conceptualization, but manual ideation is practically not contemplated. This study proposes a methodology for generating ideas based on traditional ideation from the physical creation of models as part of the creative process. This methodology has been used with satisfactory results in 38 courses at the Industrial Organisation School (Spain), with 382 people between 18 and 30 years of age participating in the study, demonstrating that the development of creative skills obtained through this new approach can have a very significant impact on students' later career development.
... According to Chan and Yuen (2015), the concepts of creativity differ and vary between subcultures. To Hong et al. (2009), a study among Korean teachers revealed that they encouraged their students to be creative, as such students frequently had a high inherent wish for creative activity, and hold sophisticated attitudes about knowledge attainment. Teachers who held erroneous ideas about creativity experienced difficulties with creative learners (Aljughaiman & Mowrer-Reynolds, 2005). ...
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The study was about the creative nurturing behaviors of in-service teachers in Ghana. Using the descriptive cross-sectional survey design, a sample of 768 (out of 1,321) in-service teachers were surveyed using online Google forms. The data for the study were collected with an adapted version of the Sharma and Sharma (2018) creativity nurturing behavior scale (15-items; α=.79). The data were descriptively and inferentially analyzed. Overall, the study found that majority of respondents exhibited low levels of creativity nurturing behaviors. Specifically, most of the respondents had moderate levels of creative curiosity and creative motivation, but some respondents had low levels of creative abstractions and critical thinking. Again, the study revealed that male and female respondents did not differ in their creative nurturing behaviors. Finally, differences were not established in creativity nurturing behaviors of in-service teachers based on the experience. In-service teachers were found to have insufficient knowledge on creative teaching. Therefore, it was recommended that in-service teachers need to be retrained in the core competent areas of the new standard-based curriculum.
... Etkili eğitim ve öğretimin sağlanması için, diğer bir dizi yeterlilikte olduğu gibi; yaratıcılık ve tasarım açısından da yüksek yeterliliğe sahip öğretmenlere ihtiyaç bulunmaktadır (Atabek, 2020a(Atabek, , 2020b. Öğretmenlerin yaratıcılıkla ilgili inançlarının onların öğretim uygulamaları ile doğrudan ilişkileri olduğu göz önüne alındığında (Hong, Hartzell ve Greene, 2009) öğretmenlerin ve öğretmen adaylarının yaratıcılık ve tasarıma yönelik özyeterlilik inançları da etkili öğretmenlik açısından önemlidir. Dolayısıyla müzik eğitiminde gerçekleştirilen hangi davranışların yaratıcılık ve tasarım özyeterlilikleri ile ilişkili olduğunun ortaya çıkarılması; yaratıcılık ve tasarım açısından yüksek yeterliliğe sahip öğretmenlerin yetiştirilmesi için içgörü kazanılmasına katkı sağlayacaktır. ...
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This study examined the relationship between creative teaching and elementary students' achievement gains. Forty-eight upper elementary school teachers' classroom instruction was observed and evaluated over the course of 8 different lessons throughout the year. For each teacher, during each lesson, both a creative teaching frequency score and a quality score were derived. These scores were then used as predictor variables in a structural equation model to determine the magnitude of the relationship between creative teaching and classroom achievement gains in reading, language, and mathematics. Our results demonstrated that (a) the majority of teachers do not implement any teaching strategies that foster student creativity; (b) teachers who elicit student creativity turn out students that make substantial achievement gains; and (c) classrooms with high proportions of minority and low-performing students receive significantly less creative teaching.
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