Creative Contexts for Learning: An Area of Professional Development for Trainee Teachers
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
Julie Kathleen Austin
Lecturer, Department of Sport, Culture and the Arts, University of Strathclyde
Reader, Art and Design Education, Department of Sport, Culture and the Arts, University of Strathclyde
Lecturer in Drama, The Department of Sport, Culture and the Arts