UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Priya Nair
Thesis (M.A.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Tan, Ai Girl
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

Reason for Study Singapore has a world-class education system. The curriculum for education in Singapore is well-developed and equips our students with the relevant knowledge required. However, when our students are compared with students from countries such as the United States, we realise that although our students have the knowledge required, they lack the creative skills, this is because of their perception of creativity. What is creativity? As a teacher for five years, I feel that a Singaporean student believes that creativity is displayed only when you have invented something. However, according to researchers, creativity is displayed everyday and this is termed the little ‘c’. I believe that by exposing our students to the idea of little ‘c’, they will slowly gain the confidence in experimenting on bigger creative ideas. In addition, studies have shown that creativity can be taught and a happy and stress-free environment is necessary in bringing out the creative side of a person. In other words, when a student is happy he exhibits creativity. Therefore, as teachers, we have to create the appropriate environment where students are happy to help them exhibit their creative self. Hence, before we can implement a new programme or lesson where a student can understand and expose his creative self, we need to understand a students’ idea of creativity and happiness. The aim of this study is to understand the Singaporean students’ perception of creativity and happiness. As creativity is a vast area comprising several factors affecting it, the study will enable us to study what creativity and happiness mean to students in Singapore. The findings can be used to implement programmes and to create an appropriate environment to expose them to the idea of the little ‘c’(small creative ideas). For the purpose of the study a questionnaire was designed. Th questionnaire included open-ended and sub-scale questions. The questionnaire was administered to a total of 178 secondary school students between the ages of 14 to 17 years old. Findings Using the chi-square test to analyse the open-ended questions and the cluster analysis to analyse the subscales (e.g. moral attributes, creative attributes, attachment attributes and emotional intelligence), the author noted that the participants perceive creativity to be an idea which is unique and a creative person is one who goes through a thorough thought process. Both the express and normal stream students viewed creativity as an idea or an imagination, which surfaces after an intellectual thought process. Happiness was generally perceived as an emotion such as joy and fun, although a number of participants perceive happiness as having family and friends with them. A happy person was stated as one who has a positive personality and one who smiles. Implications This study is aimed at understanding Singaporean students’ perception of creativity and happiness to assist teachers in exposing students’ to the idea of small ‘c’. Upon completion of this study with favourable results, a programme can be created to take care of the well-being of the students to enhance their creativity. The main purpose of the study would be to change the misconception of students that creativity is the invention of a new object or having a unique idea. When implementing the programme, a deeper understanding of the students’ personality will be a useful tool as I believe that different students have a different perception of creativity. As mentioned above, this study should be able to assist teachers in enhancing creativity among their students.

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