The purpose and value of creativity in primary mathematics education
Within this essay I am going to discuss the complex notion of creativity, in specific relation to creative teaching within the subject of mathematics. I will define the issues of interpreting creativity and the debates surrounding these issues. Secondly I am going to look at theories of creativity and the different views which have been argued. In relation to pedagogy, I will examine if the amount of assessment that teachers are now required to do restricts how creative they can be within their delivery of the curriculum. Furthermore, I will analyse the difficulties of creative pedagogy and the implementation of creative learning across the curriculum, focusing on mathematics. Creative learning can be highly beneficial for children's learning and development, I will highlight the reasons for this and look at key theories relating to the debate. Lastly, I will look at policies and reviews which suggest that creative teaching approaches should be used across the curriculum.
Within education there are complex issues relating to creativity. Creativity is defined by different people in many different ways. Duffy (1998 cited in Brock, Dodds, Jarvis and Olusoga, 2009) defines creativity as a means of forming new connections in a way that is meaningful to the individual. In this way creativity can be very useful for learning, due to the fact that it can help individuals create new distinctions within their learning and gain a firmer understanding of what they are being taught. Similarly Kohl (2008) suggested that creative activities are about exploring exciting and advanced ideas in the hope of discovering something new. Through experimentation learners may stumble across knowledge that was previously unknown to them, which gives them the opportunity to expand on their understanding. By providing children with creative opportunities practitioners are giving them a chance to expand their knowledge through self-directed learning, in a way that is of interest to them as an individual.
Freud (1900 cited in Woolfolk, Hughes and Walkup, 2008) took a psychoanalytical approach to creativity. He believed that creativity is present in all individuals within their unconscious mind and that it is brought about due to a wish to fulfil that individuals desires. Freud argued that all individuals have a creative potential, they just do not always display the use of it. Within children he identified creativity as ideation, a process of creating new ideas. When engaging in certain activities children will be creative in order to gain more enjoyment from what they are doing. Maslow (1943), however took a humanistic approach to the idea of creativity. He suggested that the drive to learn is intrinsic as individuals strive to reach self-actualisation. Maslow's hierarchy of needs depicts levels of needs which individuals can meet, starting with very basic needs and moving up to more complex needs which individuals have to strive for in order to achieve. He argued that in order for an individual to reach self-actualisation at the top of the pyramid they needed to extend their thoughts and actions through problem solving, creativity and morality.
There are a number of issues surrounding creativity as it can be interpreted differently when put into different contexts. The core areas of learning within education are now heavily assessment based and there is a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy, which is having a negative effect on creative pedagogy (Eaude, 2011). Within the teaching of core subjects there is very little time allocated to creative activities, instead the pedagogical focus is more on the acquisition of knowledge and facts (Jones and Wyse, 2004). It could be argued that if teachers look beyond this structured approach to learning there is plenty of scope for fostering creativity in children's learning within all areas of the curriculum. In the area of...
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