Intentional teaching practices of educators and the development of creative thought processes of young children within Australian early childhood centres

by Nicole Leggett

Institution: University of Newcastle
Degree: PhD
Year: 2014
Keywords: intentional teaching; creative thinking; intentional learner; questioning; learning environments; pretend play; imagination; strategies; early years learning framework
Record ID: 1060045
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.13/1062788


Research Doctorate - Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) This thesis presents an in-depth investigation of the intentional teaching strategies of educators as they provided provocations for creative thinking in four-to-six-year-old children. This qualitative research draws from constructivist grounded theory methods (Charmaz 2006) within context dependant case study analysis as a methodology to analyse and interpret rich data about two phenomena: ‘intentional teaching’ and ‘creative thinking’. The relationship of intentionally teaching young children and the development of creative thought processes of young children is a new area for investigation; one that requires conversations around what is currently understood. This study embraces the unity of social interactions in which new understandings are formed. This research was developed within a constructivist paradigm emphasising description, analysis and the co-construction of interpretations together with six educators and fifty-seven children from three participating early childhood centres. This research examines the role of the educator as an intentional teacher within Australian early learning environments and investigates the relationship of this role to children’s developing creativity. Theoretically informed by Vygotsky’s sociocultural constructivist approach (1930, 1978) and neo-Vygotskian theories on creativity (John-Steiner & Moran, 2012), this study explores the creative thought processes of children through play, meaning-making and imagination. Evidence from this research suggests that the role of the educator is pivotal in assisting children in the development of innovative solutions and ideas within social learning contexts. This thesis presents an opportunity to examine previously unexplored territory in early childhood education. One significant implication of this study is its potential to assist educators in the recognition and implementation of specific identified strategies for intentional teaching as part of their pedagogical practices. This study concludes by contributing further understandings for the role of the intentional teacher in supporting the development of creative thinking in young children as part of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) within Australian contexts.