Fostering student creativity has become an added responsibility of classroom teachers. Teachers therefore need to be aware of possible ways to foster student creativity. Student creativity can be enhanced through social modelling, reinforcement, and classroom ecology. It is argued that teachers’ own teaching behaviors play a critical role in fostering student creativity and the CFTIndex serves both as an instructional and measurement tool of creativity fostering in the classroom context.
Advancement of research depends on the availability of relevant measurement instrument. The Creativity Fostering Teacher Behavior Scale (CFTIndex) was designed to meet the need of researchers working in this specific area of creativity. Since it first appearance in 2000, it has been used extensively over the world and translated into several languages. This article summarized the studies and discusses its further development.
Developing creativity in early childhood studies students
The study aimed to identify first year BA (Hons) Early Childhood Studies students’ perceptions of and confidence in, their own creativity, in an East Midlands university in the United Kingdom and to inform the teaching of a first year Play and Creativity module at the same institution. The Play and Creativity Module makes use of the ‘democratic’ definition of creativity (NACCCE, 1999) and Jeffrey and Wood’s (2003) concept of ‘teaching for creativity’ by encouraging students to engage in practical activities to develop skills and confidence in their own capabilities. Though there is plenty of research which explores these ideas within the field of early childhood there is less research which focuses on best practice in Higher Education. The study identified a clear improvement in students’ confidence in their own creativity and their confidence to implement the activities experienced in the module sessions within their own practice. Students developed a deeper understanding of the concept of ‘little’ c’ creativity’ (Craft, 2002) and the ‘democratic‘ definition of creativity (NACCCE, 1999) and recognised the importance of providing a wide range of opportunities and resources for children to develop creativity. The practical activities within the module also supported students’ professional skills such as team working, listening to others and the importance of collaboration and reflection on practice. In addition, the practical and procedural elements of practice ‘how to do with children’ was identified as being an area which was illuminated by completing the module and contributed to professional practice.
Development of the Critical Thinking Toolkit (CriTT): A measure of student attitudes and beliefs about critical thinking
A psychometric scale of beliefs and attitudes about critical thinking is presented (the CriTT).
The CriTT can be used to evaluate student perceptions and attitudes about critical thinking.
The CriTT can be used to identify students in need of support to develop their critical thinking.
The CriTT correlates with Argumentation and predicts grade point average at University.
Critical thinking is an important focus in higher education and is essential for good academic achievement. We report the development of a tool to measure critical thinking for three purposes:
(i) to evaluate student perceptions and attitudes about critical thinking, (ii) to identify students in need of support to develop their critical thinking, and (iii) to predict academic performance. Seventy-seven items were generated from focus groups, interviews and the critical thinking literature. Data were collected from 133 psychology students. Factor Analysis revealed three latent factors based on a reduced set of 27 items. These factors were characterised as: Confidence in Critical Thinking; Valuing Critical Thinking; and Misconceptions. Reliability analysis demonstrated that the sub-scales were reliable. Convergent validity with measures of grade point average and argumentation skill was shown, with significant correlations between subscales and validation measures. Most notably, in multiple regression analysis, the three sub-scales from the new questionnaire substantially increased the variance in grade point average accounted for by measures of reflective thinking and argumentation. To sum, the resultant scale offers a measure that is simple to administer, can be used as a diagnostic tool to identify students who need support in developing their critical thinking skills, and can also predict academic performance.