DEVELOPING IMAGINATIVE SPACES FOR CREATIVITY IN LEARNING: A QUALITATIVE STUDY IN EDUCATOR'S NARRATIVES
Leerkamp, Cavan Ian
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This qualitative narrative inquiry explores how four educators look at past, present, and future experiences with creativity in constructing their own space for student creativity. The goal is to see how participants use experience and creativity in teaching. This study begins with self-narrative of the researcher. I explore both positive and negative experiences in a series of vignettes, from childhood stories as a student and adulthood stories of becoming a teacher. In wondering how my perceptions of my own creativity were shaped by and continue to be shaped in classroom interactions, led me to wanting to explore other teachers’ experiences around creativity. Three pre-service teachers were chosen, at a moment in time where they are each imagining their own classroom based on experiences as students and as student teachers. In looking at these three teachers and my own stories, the goal is to illuminate characteristics and idiosyncrasies within imaginative spaces found in the telling of our narratives as opposed to merely comparing four people’s stories. In the literature review I frame learning as multi-directional growth, linking the aspects of postmodernist and constructivist frameworks of knowledge where learning is seen as a continuous shifting and synthesis of information as opposed to an absorption of factual universal truths. Knowledge then is personal and culturally constructed from ones context and the ability to decipher and synthesize new information within that construction is invaluable. Imagination will be proposed, as a shared space for inviting students to experiential inquiry, where encouraging their own creative interpretation of their learning is the goal. My qualitative methodology is a mixture of narrative and art, stemming from dual interviews from each of the three participants. Art is used not as accessory to the research but as a way of thinking through the research. With Dewey’s (1997) continuity of experience in mind, the narratives are constructed along Clandinin and Connelly’s (2000) dimensions of looking backwards, forward, inward and outward. This allows for meaning making in stories by connecting them to the past and future and incorporating the emotions, motivations, situations, and people by which they occurred. Creativity can be as important to teaching as it is to learning.