Dr Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen PhD

Dr Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen PhD

Dr Bronwen Wade-LueewenOut of the shadows: Fostering creativity in pre-service teachers in creative arts programs


This is an interdisciplinary research project, drawing on theories in arts-based inquiry, psychology, early childhood and primary education. Significant reforms have occurred with the introduction of the first national Australian Curriculum, particularly in the key learning area of visual and creative arts education. Recent research shows contemporary 21st century pedagogical goals need to focus on developing critical and creative skills in primary school children however; limited research has been conducted in preparing pre-service teachers to foster creative thinking skills in children. Moreover, Australian government schools are limited in the resources they provide to support arts instruction (Barton & Baguley, 2013). However, recent global research shows that Arts education in the 21st century should be focusing on transforming knowledge, skills and building creative capacities for new global intercultural learning communities (Ewing, 2011). This doctoral thesis ‘Out of the Shadows’ is designed for arts educators to understand the current challenges in teacher education and suggests creative solutions for the future. This research examines pre-service teachers’ implicit beliefs and attitudes towards their own creative capabilities and develops new teacher strategies in arts- based inquiry to use in the classroom.

This is a thesis by publication constructed around six different publications and the bridging components are the introduction, literature review, methodology, interpretations and analysis of the findings. This research is the result of a four-year research project that focuses on the different perspectives and artistic experiences of pre-service teachers. This mixed-method study was conducted at a Sydney-based university with 350 third and fourth (final) year pre-service teachers studying in the primary degree program. This arts-based inquiry research expands the imagination and raises important questions about the diverse ways that critical and creative thinking can be defined and experienced in higher education. It investigates a deeper understanding of the inter-relationship between art, culture and creativity. The researcher argues that employing a socio-cultural approach and using a theoretical framework that includes five levels of creativity applied in teacher education will develop dispositions of creativity, such as flexibility, mindfulness, visualisation, avoidance of premature closure in decision-making and a willingness to risk take. Without these attitudes to life creativity is not likely to occur. This doctoral research is a thoughtful and rich investigation that has much to offer tertiary editors, teachers, principals and the wider community.

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