Exploring the promotion of creative thinking among secondary school students in India
In India, research on creativity has focused on the construction of tests of creativity and correlational studies of creativity with self-concept, intelligence, personality etc.,. There have been no studies considering the effects of schooling on creativity, teachers' perceptions of creativity or how they could to promote it. This research focused on teachers' views of creativity and their classroom practices, and on students' performance on Tests of Creative Thinking by Baqer Mehdi, their attitude towards curriculum subjects, their occupational choices and their experiences at school. The sample for the survey included 373 students and 88 teachers drawn from nine Government schools in Andhra Pradesh, India. All the instruments were developed by the researcher and data was collected by means of questionnaires for students and teachers, an scale for assessing teachers encouragement of pupils in the classroom, interviews with teachers and a check-list for head teachers regarding out-of- school activities. To analyse the data, various quantitative and qualitative techniques were applied. The findings showed that teachers valued creativity, had established criteria for its definition and for identifying creative children. They believed that the development of creativity depended on good teacher-pupil relationships, encouraging experimentation and building self-confidence among the students. Obstacles to the development of creativity included inadequate resources, lack of instructional materials, lack of funds, passive unmotivated students with a tendency to rote learning, pressure to complete the syllabus, preparing students for examinations and teachers' teaching load. They felt that the curriculum was overloaded, inflexible and not suitable to cater for the needs of the wide range of learners. They preferred a child centred curriculum based on activities. The findings from the student data contributed to the development of a model linking parental factors, the medium of instruction and teacher encouragement. Path analysis showed that out-of- school activities, mother's education, teacher encouragement and mother's income had causal relationships with students' creative thinking. On the basis of the findings practical recommendations have been made for the promotion of creativity among school students.