Exploring Diversity in the Classroom: Variations in Children's Approaches to Creativity

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Drawing on existing socio-cultural theorising and research, the study presented here looked at children’s creative thinking in different subject domains, such as creative writing, creative design or mathematical creativity. The methodology involved observations and recordings of ongoing classroom-based activities for the duration of 2 terms, focusing on paired work, small group work and whole class discussions. Year 4 (8 year old) children in two New Zealand primary schools and their teachers participated in the study. Through the analysis of paired dialogues and group discussions, the study explored ways in which children conceptualise creative thinking, engage themselves in creative work in different domains, and how they reflect on their own creative efforts. It also examined children’s approach to sharing and collaboration in creative contexts. The study revealed variations in children’s conceptualisation of creativity, and in children’s understanding of the role of the social context in creative work. It also showed the diversity and richness of cognitive processes associated with creativity, as reflected in the dialogues capturing shared activities. By capturing the richness and diversity of children’s experiences of and reflections on creativity, this study aims to help practitioners to design powerful learning contexts to foster young children’s creative thinking. It promotes the creation of a unique community of practice where individual learning paths are encouraged, appreciated and carefully woven together.


Keywords: Creative Thinking, Socio-Cultural Theorising, Social Aspects of Learning
Stream: Learning, Education, Training
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Eva Klara Vass

Lecturer, Department of Educational Studies and Professional Practice
College of Education, University of Otago

Dunedin, New Zealand

I have expertise in classroom based observational research. Drawing on socio-cultural theorising, my main interests are i) creativity and education (especially the cultural and social aspects of creativity) and ii) new technology and learning (especially computer-based collaborative learning). My methodological expertise is in the study of teaching and learning processes through the analysis of social interaction. My educational background is diverse: my first degree is in TEFL (Hungary), followed by an MPhil in English and Applied Linguistics (Cambridge, UK), and a PhD in Psychology (the Open University, UK). I have been working as a lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand, since 2005. I teach educational psychology papers at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Ref: D08P0133