Thu 18.09.2014 - 13:45-14:15 - Foyer

Creativity in Graduate Courses According to Professors and Students  Poster

Presenter: Eunice Alencar
Author(s): Eunice Alencar, (University of Brasilia. Brasilia), Zélia Oliveira, (Catholic University of Brasilia, Brasilia)

The importance of nurturing the creative talent across the various levels of education has been highlighted in the literature of giftedness. The benefits of creativity to the individuals and societies have also been increasingly recognized by scholars from different fields as well as the key role of higher education for the development of a knowledge society. In spite of this recognition, there is scarcity of empirical studies about creativity in graduate courses. This study addresses this issue. It examined graduate school professors and students` conceptions of creativity as well as the extent to which creativity has been fostered in graduate classes. Twenty Brazilian professors and 20 graduate students were interviewed and the data were submitted to content analysis. The results indicated that, according to professors and students, creativity is very important in the present world, in personal and professional life, and an essential element in graduate schools. They were aware that creativity helps to break boundaries, to deal with unexpected problems and with the challenges of society. Their creativity conceptions were related to innovation, paradigm change, overcoming of limits, problem solving, and characteristics of creative people. The students characterized creative professors as those who use diversified teaching practices, is dared, enthusiastic, flexible, besides having a good relationship with all students. Professors and students indicated several pedagogical practices that foster students` creativity and others that restrain it. Most professors declared there is a relationship between creative teaching and the development of students’ creativity as well as among creativity, learning and academic performance. They highlighted that the strategies conducive to creativity they practiced in the classroom were a result of their own inquiries and worries and not a consequence of their academic training. They also pointed out that creative professors and students are not always welcome in the university. In general, they agreed that any subject can be taught in a creative way. The results suggest that professors had limited knowledge of creative approaches to teaching and that much need to be done to ensure a culture in higher education, in special in graduate courses, that support and encourage creativity among professors and students.