The creativity cascade
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The Creativity Cascade. Dr Ashley Compton Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln.

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The Creativity Cascade

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The Creativity Cascade

Dr Ashley Compton

Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln

Were trying to get our students into a certain frame of mind. That they question, that theres no one right answer; that we can respond in a number of ways. If we can get them to be thinking like that then the likelihood is that theyre going to go into school and be creative and work with the structures that they have to work within in a creative way.

(Beth, tutor interview)

Outline of research


To understand the meanings of the word creativity for tutors and students on this programme

To explore the current practice and perceptions of creativity in summative assessment, from the viewpoints of both tutors and students

To explore the current practice and perceptions of creativity in school placement

  • Practitioner research an undergraduate primary education with QTS programme

  • Paradigm: Interpretivist, social constructivist

  • Methodology: Illuminative evaluation

Outline of research

  • Semi-structured interviews with all permanent tutors (n=9)

  • Virtual focus group with students

  • Semi-structured interviews with students (n=6)

  • Unstructured interview with expert student (n=1)

  • Questionnaires with Y2 (n=32) and Y1 (n=55)

  • Document analysis

    • All assignment briefs and marking grids

    • All SP booklets and RPD

    • Sample of assignment feedback

    • Sample of SP lesson observation feedback

What is Creativity?

I think its an extremely hard thing to say what it means. And I think that even when you say what it means there could be examples where youd say, I didnt mean it like that.

(Fiona, tutor interview)

making something new and valuable to society as a whole, working at the pinnacle of the field in skills, knowledge, understanding and vision

Layer 4

using skills, knowledge and imagination to make something new and valuable to the peer group / local community; challenging and engaging an audience; original thinking; innovating

Layer 3

making connections; relating; showing insight; synthesising; developing own style; independent thinking; solving problems; transforming; exercising judgement / evaluating; challenging; taking risks

Layer 2

noticing; taking an interest; observing; exploring; questioning; investigating; researching; expressing thoughts and feelings; imagining; making choices; creating; making

Layer 1

Creativity Pyramid

Shared Definition of Creativity

Tutors and Students

Factors promoting Creativity

Opportunities for creativity in assessment


Investigations / Research



Choice and interpretation

Engaging audience

Exams NOT seen as creative

Prominent Creativity terms in Assignments

In briefs, marking grids and tutor feedback:

  • Making connections

  • Selection / choice

  • Evaluation (less common in feedback)

  • Presentation / Engaging an audience

    Feedback also included comments related to creative teaching.

SP and AfL

The thing that placement gives is more of a chance to restart or learn from experience and build very quickly. Where what the assignment does is make you wait for a month after hand in and then get feedback that may or may not be relevant to you. Life may have moved on to a degree and youre never going to do that assignment ever again. Whereas school practice, tomorrows another day, if today was a disaster we can try something different and just keep moving on, moving on, and the feedbacks pretty much instantaneous.

(Ian, tutor interview)

Creative Teaching / Teaching for Creativity

Once you know what youve got to teach you can always put your creative spin on it and how the children are going to learn in a creative way or how you can be creative to allow them to learn.

(Keith, Y2, December interview)

Its what teachings all about. Its designing opportunities that are creative, that allow children to be creative, that allow you to be creative.

(Emily, tutor interview)

Types of Teacher and Pupil Creativity

Factors Promoting Creativity on SP

Pupil engagement

Pupil ownership

High quality outcomes


Recommendations: Shared definition

  • Tutors explaining what they mean by creativity

    • In assessment

    • On school placement

  • Students encouraged to develop and apply own definitions

Recommendations: Increased constructive alignment

Biggs, J. and Tang, C. (2007) Teaching for Quality Learning at University, 3rd edition, Maidenhead: Open University Press.

Recommendations: Greater use of AfL

  • More student engagement with marking criteria

  • Students helping to formulate marking grids?

  • More peer and self-assessment

  • Developing formative assessments which involve children / public presentation

  • Returning formative feedback before the mark

Recommendations: Assignment Exemplars & Teacher Mentors

Balancing support / encouraging individuality

Creativity Cascade

having the opportunity to be creative on this course has enabled me to be creative as a teacher because Ive had those experiences myself.

if youve been able to give your creativity you know how to provide opportunities for the children to be creative. So thats also how Ive been able to do what Ive been able to do on placement. From having those opportunities myself on this course.

(Julia, Y3, interview)

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