Teachers’ views of creativity

2013-06-30 15.20.26

Teachers’ views of creativity is my new research article exploring poetry writing pedagogy.

Here is the Abstract:

Discourses of creativity in education vary from the highly theoretical to more pragmatic views, based on observations of ‘what works’ in practice. This is especially true in the current global economic climate, where, in Anglophone countries, there is both a premium placed on creativity at the same time as there is a tendency towards high-stakes accountability. This has resulted in a discourse of ‘barriers’ to creativity (Sahlberg, 2011) in our schools. Unsurprisingly, teachers’ views of creativity are concomitantly variable (Kampylis, Berki, & Saariluoma, 2009). In this context it is interesting to study the views of teachers who teach subjects, such as poetry, with an established tradition of creative endeavour, but which are nevertheless marginalised (Ofsted, 2007; Locke, 2010). This paper reports on the beliefs, attitudes and values revealed by a large scale study of English teachers in England. The study adopted a mixed-methods approach, combining a randomised controlled trial (RCT) with lesson observations, teacher interviews and student interviews in the form of writing conversations. Underpinned by a socio-constructivist model of play as a vital precursor to creativity and mastery of language (Vygotsky, 1962) this paper finds that, while these teachers are enthusiastic about teaching poetry, their conceptualisations of creativity are not fully theorised. This is especially true of their views of about poetry as freedom from the constraints of ‘normal’ writing. This includes a stated reluctance towards evaluating the poetry written by pupils. We argue that these teachers are inculcating their pupils in a schooled version of creative language use, one which is divorced from the model of creativity as theorised by writers and creative writing practitioners alike.

You can find more of my research here


  1. Very Brillo — will send u that OUP article in which you feature so heavily. Much love & v much liking new poems Frosty x

    Peter Carpenter


      1. Definitely lack of subject knowledge. I was a primary teacher until recently. I love poetry and know a little about it…but have only recently discovered Mary Oliver’s Rules for the Dance, and Stephen Fry’s An Ode Less Travelled. I feel there’s a lack of knowledge of the nuts and bolts of poetry even among those who read lots. And most teachers don’t, sadly. Of course, it’s the sensibility, not the rules that matter in the end, but how do we put across something to children, that lies half hidden for us?


      2. Thanks so much for your insightful comment. I never got on with the Fry book. The sensibility is the thing to teach, I agree. It takes ages, but it can be done. It is a Fresh look and a fresh listen, as frost said. Thanks again for commenting here and good wishes, Anthony


      3. Pie Corbett is the great example to teachers at the moment – particularly primary teachers, who are, of course, the first to develop children’s use of voice in written language. For example, he is doing some work in teaching poetry writing through internet forums and here you can see examples where he pushes the children to develop both their sensibility and the language they use to express this. A great demonstration of the fresh look and listen and if teachers want to know how to do it they should learn from him, in my opinion.


      4. Pie Corbett does this very well, as you say. I do think the sensibility can be taught. But it is not a one-lesson, quick fix approach. It is a way of looking at and interpreting the world. Thanks again for commenting, and all good wishes,


  2. Yes – I totally agree about that – it’s to do with thinking and wondering and that has to be part of a whole school culture. Also, i found poetry which developed after rich immersion in a topic was the best. Sadly there is little time or space for this slow building of sensibility, and it cannot be easily quantified. I was very proud of some of the poetry my children produced though – and Pie Corbett was kind enough to recognise what i was doing.
    Thanks for raising these important issues, Anthony.


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