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

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Name of Author: 
Gan, Sze Ying
Thesis (M.Ed.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Tan, Ai-Girl
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

The complexity of our world today due to rapid advancement of technology and widespread globalisation, implies that creativity is more important now than ever before. For the survival of a small island state like Singapore, where its socio-economic, technological, and educational success depends on the continuous availability of creative ideas and innovative actions (Tan, 2004), the Ministry of Education has consistently emphasized a broad-based education to develop critical life skills. There is an increased emphasis on holistic education, learner-centered education and creativity - and a recognition that these are all values that an effective arts education can offer. The unique nature of art intrinsically offers multiple ways of perceiving and understanding the world and hence is naturally and potentially able to provide an opportunity to help build creative personality traits and foster creative attitudes. It is thus, natural to assume that art teachers, who have the task to cultivate the next generation to be creative, would themselves be role models of creativity in many aspects of their lives. Given that art is an examinable subject in the secondary school level, this study looked into secondary school art teachers' perception of their creative and teaching efficacy as well as to understand their perceptions about Creativity, Art Education and Creativity in Art Education. Results from this study revealed that while many Singapore art teachers find the teaching of art fulfilling and are highly motivated in fostering creativity through art education, they may not perceived themselves as creative or competent in fostering creativity through art. The analyses of the results have also established that both the creative efficacy of an art teacher and the sense of fulfillment in the teaching of art are good predictors of his/her teaching efficacy. One of the areas of interest of this study was also to find out if art teachers would be able to reflect their creativeness in their everyday lives. But while, they may consider themselves role-models to their students, results show that their creativity and creative personality traits may not be evident to all, especially to their students, in our context. The lack of emphasis on role-modelling is also reflected in their lack of response in the open-ended questions of the questionnaire. Results from the open-ended questions revealed that most art teachers have a very informed understanding of Creativity and Art Education. There were considerable overlaps between Creativity and Art Education and teachers valued creativity and art education for the practical benefits that they bring - that of fostering life skills (cognitive skills such as thinking skills and problem-solving skills; and creative attitudes and positive character). Art teachers themselves also testified that their association with art throughout their teaching career and beyond have also benefited them in a similar manner - sharpened their cognition, helped them in their problem-solving as well as helped them to foster creative attitudes - life skills that will see them through life. Beyond the overlap, Creativity is valued socially and economically as being able to contribute and add value to society, while Art Education is seen to benefit the self and well-being.

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