Personal creativity and classroom teaching style of second-year, inner city teachers
The present study examined personal creativity and classroom teaching style of 16 second-year, inner-city teachers involved in a mentoring program. Personal teacher creativity was evaluated with the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking (TTCT) Verbal Form A. The TTCT provided a fluency, flexibility, originality, and a Torrance average score. The Torrance average creativity scores ranged from 83-126. Teachers with scores 101 and above were considered more creative. Teachers with scores of 98 and below were considered less creative.
Actual classroom behavior (teaching style) was evaluated with the Classroom Creativity Observation Schedule (CCOS). The CCOS provided scores for 11 dimensions of classroom behavior. The mentor program liaison observed and recorded the classroom behavior. Three observations were conducted in each teacher's classroom during a 6-week period. TTCT scores correlated significantly with ratings from the CCOS on classroom motivation, classroom variation, classroom diversity, student initiative, student-to-teacher interaction, teacher-to-student interaction, teacher responsiveness to the needs, abilities, and changing attention levels of students, teacher differentiation, and teacher encouragement. Student-to-student interaction scores did not correlate consistently with creativity scores.
To assess whether teaching style affected the creative production of students, two kindergarten classes and two middle grade elementary school classes participated in the follow-up project. The kindergarten students were asked to draw a new ride that was better than any ride at a playground or an amusement park. The second and third graders were asked to write a story to describe a new amusement park that was better than Great Adventure, Epcot, or Disney World. Drawings and stories were evaluated by three school staff developers for creativity on a 3-point scale. One story from the high creative teacher's class was judged highly creative. The proportion of mid-level creative stories and drawings was higher in the creative teachers' classes. The numbers were small and chi-square results were not significant. Results of the study were discussed in terms of creativity theory, teacher education, and mentor programs.