Thesis (Ph.D)

Developing creativity within primary science teaching: What does it look like and how can classroom interactions augment the process?


This study contributes to the understanding of what it is that primary school teachers do (or could do) when engaging with their pupils to nurture creativity in science lessons. The research consists of a series of observations (i.e. three related cases), post-observational interviews with teachers concerning their practice and a survey of over 100 practising primary teachers. Lesson observations were examined through various analytical tools, which informed the generation of graphical representations to illustrate the teacher’s practices. The interview and survey data were analysed using frameworks developed from Ann Oliver’s ten ways to make science teaching creative and Dylan Wiliam’s five key formative assessment strategies. Interview data was also examined inductively to explore how far self-reports of creativity reflected observed practices. The deductive findings from the survey and interview data suggested teachers believed that they taught science through the child’s everyday experiences. This reportedly provided children with opportunities to independently observe scientific phenomena from alternate perspectives. However, the findings from the observations, and the inductive examination of the interviews illuminated how the teacher’s encouragement of agency-in-learning supported development of creativity. A wide range of pedagogic approaches adopted by teachers were shown to elicit emergent creativity-in-learning. To reify the nature of creative and critical explorations through the teacher-child verbal exchanges, dialogue was analysed by adopting a more comprehensive analytical framework, developed from Mercer’s three types of talk and Alexander’s lesser-known five patterns of teacher talk. The results of these analyses were reflectively scrutinised to explore how formative assessment strategies could support the development of creativity. Ultimately, it is anticipated that the findings from this study could inform the ways that researchers and practitioners consider and reflect upon the nature of creative teaching, the ways that it differs from creativity-in-learning and the influence(s) that formative assessment might bring to bear.

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Frodsham, Sarah


Supervisors: McGregor, Deb; Wilson, Helen

Oxford Brookes departments

School of Education
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Year: 2017

© Frodsham, Sarah
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