Creative Contexts for Learning: An Area of Professional Development for Trainee Teachers

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In this paper we report on an arts-infused model of teaching in a postgraduate diploma programme for trainee secondary (high) school teachers in Scotland.
Since the academic session 2001- 2002, those training to be subject specialist teachers in secondary (high) schools at the University of Strathclyde have, as a compulsory part of their course, the option to study an ‘Area of Professional Development’ (APD). This class offers the student teacher the opportunity to build on existing skills or develop new interests. Options in the APD programme range from Education for Citizenship to Learning in the Outdoors.
The authors developed a class that focuses on using creative contexts as a starting point for learning and teaching activity for young people aged 12 – 18. Central aims of the class include working in groups, problem solving and setting the learning experience ‘in context'. In designing the class the writers drew on previous experience of arts-infused delivery with trainee social workers (1998-2000). The challenge for secondary teachers is to develop creative contexts for learning within their own subject area: contexts that will deliver key subject content and foster development of ‘core skills’. (www.sqa.org.uk)
In designing the class, the authors anticipated the new statutory framework for schools (A Curriculum for Excellence, 2004) and the four capacities set out by the Scottish Government: Successful learners; Confident individuals; Responsible citizens; Effective contributors www.curriculumforexcellencescotland.gov.uk) They wanted to explore the function of intelligence in problem solving (Gardner 1999) and develop ‘ creativity fostering teachers’ as defined by Cropley (2001). The paper will present examples of student responses together with summary evaluation data.


Keywords: Art, Arts- Infused, Creativity, Drama, Learning Contexts, Reflection, Teaching, Evaluation
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Creative Contexts for Learning


Julie Kathleen Austin

Lecturer, Department of Sport, Culture and the Arts, University of Strathclyde
GLASGOW, Scotland, UK

Julie works at Strathclyde University which she joined in 1992 as Lecturer in Drama, teaching on the BA Community Arts Degree and initial teacher education courses. She became Course Director for the BA Community Arts (Hons) Degree which she carried out for nine years. She is a member of the Higher Education Academy; International Society for Education through Art (InSEA); General Teaching Council (Scotland) and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) She is also Company Secretary & Director Tron Theatre Ltd and Tron Catering Ltd (1998- present); Chair & Director Diva Productions Ltd (1995-present ) and Chair & Director Visible Fictions Theatre Company Ltd (1993- present) Currently, Julie is collaborating with the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services(IRISS) in creating learning objects for training social work and health professionals.

Glen Coutts

Reader, Art and Design Education, Department of Sport, Culture and the Arts, University of Strathclyde
GLASGOW, Scotland, UK

Glen is Reader in Art and Design Education at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and is currently President of the National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)

Liz Mitchell

Lecturer in Drama, The Department of Sport, Culture and the Arts
Faculty of Education, Strathclyde University

Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Liz Mitchell, MSc. is responsible for PGDE (S) Drama within the Faculty of Education and also teaches Drama to postgraduate and undergraduate students who are studying to teach in the primary sector. Her key research interest is drama education. She has presented her work at national and international drama education conferences and has been published in 'The International Drama Research Journal'. She has just completed a chapter on ‘Secondary Drama’, which will be published by the Edinburgh University Press in 2008 titled, ‘Scottish Education’, Third Edition, under the editorship of Professor Tom Bryce, University of Strathclyde, and Professor Walter Humes, University of Paisley .

Ref: L08P0645