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Toward a Theory for Supporting Creativity in Schools

Sun, April 11, 9:30 to 10:30am EDT (9:30 to 10:30am EDT), SIG Sessions, SIG-Research on Giftedness, Creativity and Talent Poster Sessions


Secondary school experiences of creativity encouragement and discouragement were explored with a constructivist grounded theory methodology. 369 students communicated their significant creativity experiences through an online questionnaire; 14 students participated in in-depth, iterative interviews. The students in my study experienced encouragement of their creativity with three key conditions: freedom, meaningful challenge, and teacher belief. The parallel opposite conditions—constraint, lack of meaningful challenge, and lack of teacher belief—discouraged creativity in this context. This grounded theory not only enriches understanding of the conditions required to support youth in their creativity in education contexts, but also contributes understanding of the nature and influence of creativity discouragement. In addition, the study highlights the all-too rare student voice in the creativity conversation.