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Selected Development Project
Project Title Teaching for Creativity: Promoting Creative Practices in Preschool Classrooms and the Process of Change
Principal Investigator Dr. Cheung Hun Ping, Rebecca
Area of Research Project
Teacher and Teaching Development
Project Period
From 6/2011 To 12/2012
  1. To promote creative practices in Hong Kong preschools; and
  2. To research, develop, and disseminate of good creative practices in preschools.
  1. To empower teachers・ understandings of the concept of creativity and to help teachers acquire skills and knowledge for creative teaching and teaching for creativity through training seminars, workshops, and on-site supports;
  2. To develop exemplars of good creative practices through the partnership of project members and participating teachers;
  3. To identify the characteristics of good creative practices through sample lessons; and
  4. To disseminate good creative practices provided by practicing schools.
Methods Used
In this project, a model for creative practices of learning activities that includes 5 teaching aspects is developed:
  • Introducing the activity;
  • Divergent process of generating ideas;
  • Convergent process of classification and selection;
  • Putting ideas into practice; and
  • Evaluation.

To support teachers to foster creativity in their classrooms, this project employs the action research design to empower the preschools teachers to acquire the knowledge and skills applied to change and improvement for creative practices. The main procedures are as follows: (a) to determine what kinds of teaching practices are effective to develop children・s creativity; (b) to plan action strategies; (c) to put plans into action; (d) to reflect on the teaching and evaluate its effects; and to reconstruct practical teaching theory and go to the next reflective teaching cycle.

Step 1: Teachers first need to understand the definition of creativity and the 5 teaching aspects of the model in order to establish a firm basis for finding ways in which creativity is best promoted. Seminars and workshops are offered at the beginning of each cycle, during which teachers are introduced to the multiple views of creativity and teaching strategies of the 5 aspects of the model. Practical examples across a range of learning activities (e.g., language activities, science activities, mathematic activities, art activities, music and movement activities, and physical activities) are shown to illustrate how the 5 teaching aspects can be incorporated into various learning activities.

Step2: According to the proposed model for creative practices, teachers develop learning activities in different learning domains (e.g., language, art, music and movement, and science, mathematics) that apply the principles and designs they have learned in the workshop to their own creative practices.

Step3: Teachers implement the learning activities. To provide further support to the implementation of the creative practices, on-site visits are conducted. The visits consist of a variety of supports, including observation and feedback, sharing, discussion, and problem solving. All sample lessons are recorded.

Step4: At the end of the try out period, the video clips are discussed with the teachers. The project team members work with the teachers to identify their strengths, as well as areas for improvement. A number of parameters and methods are utilized in monitoring both the progress of and the effect of the project.

A number of parameters and methods are utilized in monitoring both the progress of and the effect of the project.

  1. Prior to the class observation, semi-structured, one-on-one interviews with the participating teachers are conducted to elicit the teachers・ understandings and views of the creative practice model.
  2. Classroom observation is the main method used to obtain information on teachers・ creative practices (i.e., the actual practices employed by teachers in the classroom). Classroom observation is conducted by adopting a non-participant orientation. The observations capture the setting, the teaching methods used, interaction of teachers and children, and children・s performance. All the observation sessions are scheduled with the participants to ensure that the creative practice model is adopted for the activities observed. Video recordings are used to document activities, and audio recordings are made to capture verbal interaction between teachers and children. Data are collected in both Phases 1 and 2 in order to examine the processes of change.
  3. Individual semi-structured interviews conducted with the participating teachers after their classes have been observed are used to elicit their perceptions of and reflections regarding their creative practices.
  4. The lesson plans used in the observed classes are reviewed, and instances in which creativity is promoted are identified. Children・s works are collected to examine any significant outcomes of creative activity.
  5. A meeting at the end of each phase is conducted with 6 principals and 18 participating teachers. This meeting is facilitated by the project leader, consultants, and team members. Their experiences of planning and implementing the creative learning activities in different learning domains are discussed. Opinions are also collected in regard to the usefulness and appropriateness of the seminars, workshops and the model.

The project has 3 groups of direct beneficiaries. The first group consists of the 18 teachers and 360 young children who participated in this project. Through the creative practice model and the 5-step process, teachers・ knowledge and skills of creative practices in preschools are enhanced and children・s creativity are fostered. The second group consists of 6 principals, 120 teachers, and 1,200 young children in the participating schools working with the participating teachers. The third group consists of approximately 1,000 early childhood educators who attended the 2 dissemination seminars. The dissemination of good creative practices can help preschool teachers improve their creative practices.

Indirect beneficiaries may include other related early childhood educators and researchers in Hong Kong and other countries who may utilize the website information and the exemplars of good creative practices.

Selected Publications Related to the Study

Cheung, H. P. R. (2013). Exploring the use of the pedagogical framework for creative practice in preschool settings: A phenomenological approach. Thinking skills and Creativity, 10, 133-142.
Cheung, H. P. R. (2012). Teaching for creativity: Examining the beliefs of early childhood teachers and their influences on teaching practices. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 37(3), 43-51.

Biography of Principal Investigator
Dr. Rebecca Cheung is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. She joined the Institute in 1995. Dr. Cheung graduated from the University of Manchester. Her research projects and publications involve mainly physical education, self-assessment, and creativity.
General Research Fund
Quality Education Fund