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International educators’ perspectives on the purpose of science education and the relationship between school science and creativity

Hetherington, L; Chappell, K; Ruck Keene, H; Wren, H; Cukurova, M; Hathaway, C; Sotiriou, S; (2020) International educators’ perspectives on the purpose of science education and the relationship between school science and creativity. Research in Science & Technological Education , 38 (1) pp. 19-41. 10.1080/02635143.2019.1575803. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Creativity is often viewed as a fundamental educational capability. Science can play a role in nurturing creativity. Research suggests that creative pedagogy, including interdisciplinary teaching , can engage students with science. Previous studies into teachers’ attitudes to science and creativity have been largely situated within national educational contexts. PURPOSE: This study explores educators’ perspectives on the relationship between Science and Creativity across national contexts drawn from Europe and beyond. SAMPLE AND METHODS: A convenience sample of 270 educators, recruited by project partners and via online media, and broadly defined to include teachers, trainee teachers, informal educators and teacher educators, responded to an online survey designed to explore perceptions of the relationship between science and creativity. Exploratory factor analysis of Likert question responses was used to develop a combined attitude scale, with results compared across nationalities and phases of education. Open question responses were analysed thematically to allow nuanced interpretation of the descriptive statistical findings. RESULTS: The findings show broad agreement internationally that science is a creative endeavour, with a small number of educators disagreeing about the relationship between science and creativity in the context of school science. Those who disagreed were usually secondary science teachers, from England, Malta or outside Europe (primarily from the United States). The role of scientific knowledge within creativity in science education was found to be contentious. CONCLUSIONS: That educators broadly see science as creative is unsurprising, but initial exploration of educators’ perspectives internationally reveals some differences, particularly amongst educators working in formal education, relating to the role of knowledge with respect to creativity in science. With current interest in STEAM education, further investigation to understand potential mediating factors of national educational contexts on teachers’ perspectives with respect to the role of disciplinary knowledge(s) in creativity and their interaction in interdisciplinary teaching and learning, is recommended.

Type: Article
Title: International educators’ perspectives on the purpose of science education and the relationship between school science and creativity
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/02635143.2019.1575803
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/02635143.2019.1575803
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Creativity, science education, scientific inquiry, scientific knowledge
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Culture, Communication and Media
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10070303
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