Date of Award

12-2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Andrea Beach

Abstract

This study investigated the effect of formal instruction in the use of creative thinking skills on preservice teachers' capacities for increased creative activity. It emerged from Vygotsky's theory of the creative imagination. Emphasizing the impact of formal schooling on the growth of creative activity, he implied that individuals who are continually adding to accumulation of knowledge develop an abundant imagination from which creativity flows.

This quantitative study used a quasi-experimental design and attempted to test Vygotsky's assumptions within a sample population of 113 preservice teachers. Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking served as the pre- and post-tests that measured the creative capacities of the participants who were assigned to one of three sample groups. Group 1 (n1 = 30) received three one-hour sessions of training in the use of creative thinking skills; Group 2 (n2 = 42) received three one-hour sessions of training in general thinking strategies; and Group 3 (n 3 = 41) served as the control. Pre- and post-study questionnaires were used to measure participants' attitudes toward creative activity.

The study showed Group 1 to have a 12.45 point spread between pre- and post tests, while Groups 2 and 3 had 1.32 and 1.29 point spreads on the creativity index scale developed for the Torrance tests. The results showed that Group 1 had a significant difference among the three groups when the raw score differences between pre- and post-test raw scores were compared to the national percentiles established from the norming sample.

The study's results provided strong support for Vygotsky's claim that formal instruction increases learners' creative capabilities. Through specific instruction, preservice teachers increased their ability to engage in creative activity. Their attitudes toward creativity-related experiences and their own preparedness to teach students about creative thinking were affected by their participation in the study. They viewed the creative process as being more complex than they did initially. The study's results confirmed the need for replication in similar contexts and over longer periods of time.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access

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