Source: Journal of Teacher Education
Teacher education is a leading issue in education research, and creativity has been targeted as an important goal in teacher education. This study investigated little-c creativity in first-year preservice teacher candidates, as manifested in their yearlong fieldwork. It was designed as a qualitative empirical study. Three major themes related to the candidates’ creativity and the components that fostered it were revealed. The first was the process the candidates underwent to construct and implement their initiatives; the second was related to the process that the candidates underwent as they transitioned from feelings of chaos to creativity; and the third was the candidates’ interpersonal relationships. We conclude that preservice teacher education should provide unique experiences that foster creativity.
REGEV is a Hebrew acronym for Rosh Gadol Bahoraa [Big Head for Teaching], referring to the Hebrew idiom of a “bigheaded” person as an enterprising self-starter and is a special fast-track teacher education program established by the Israeli Ministry of Education. The aim of this program is the recruitment of highly qualified candidates in the hope that they will enable colleges to educate excellent teachers. The national REGEV program educates excelling candidates at different teacher colleges around the country, in an accelerated 3-year bachelor of education (BEd) program in a specialized discipline or dual disciplines (e.g., English and special education), concurrent with teaching certification. This study was conducted at one such institution and was headed by the first author.
At this college, the education program provides practical fieldwork during the first year that is unconventional in terms of its multidisciplinary and initiative-based configuration. This fieldwork is multidisciplinary in that, unusually for teacher candidates, it enables them to teach different subjects or grade levels that do not necessarily match their chosen specialization. The fieldwork also includes an innovation and execution component—comprising an implicit “performance pedagogy” culture—where candidates must design and implement a novel initiative for their pupils in an afterschool “clubs” setting and not in the formal classroom setting.
The challenge for teacher education is the didactic nature of higher education, in which teacher candidates often experience limited instances of creativity as learning and teaching priorities. This study underscores the benefits of bringing little-c creativity to pedagogy in teacher education—in line with the OECD’s broad goals for 21st century educational policy. With the aim of preparing creative teachers capable of leading future change within the educational system, the REGEV program can promote candidates’ creative growth before they become inculcated into a particular discipline’s thinking and then constrained by its norms and boundaries. The current findings on the importance of an implicit multidisciplinary and initiative-based program as a trigger of creativity highlight the need for future creativity-promoting professional development programs to include elements that advance teacher candidates’ creativity.