Exploring Instructors’ Creativity Fostering Behaviors in Design Education

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In education fostering students’ creativity is an important aspect of teaching (Soh, 2017). Teachers are still challenged to know which methods can foster student’s creativity in the classroom, and how design students can become more creative. Understanding the nature of creativity could affect teachers' attitudes and teaching practices towards their students’ development and learning. To increase teaching effectiveness, teachers must know and identify the tools that foster students' creativity. This poster shares a research results that examined design instructors’ values and beliefs of creativity. Three research questions were proposed and investigated: 1. What are the beliefs, practices, and creative behaviors that design instructors demonstrate in their teaching that foster students’ creativity in the classroom? 2. How do design studio instructors differ in their approaches for teaching creativity, depending on teaching studio vs. non-studio courses? 3. What are the creative behaviors that design instructors demonstrate in their teaching in the classroom that align with and go beyond their CFTIndex results? The mixed-method approach was implemented in two phases. In the first phase, creative instructors were selected by using Soh’s (2000) Creativity Fostering Teacher Behavior Index (CFTIndex). A total of 41 participants participated in this study; however, only 38 participants completed the survey. In the second phase, interviews were conducted to investigate design instructors’ creativity beliefs and practices. Invitations were sent to 34 participants, and 11 agreed to be interviewed. Six of those participants were teaching studio classes, three teach lecture classes, and two teach both studio and lecture classes. The knowledge that emerged from interviewing the instructors about creativity teaching and practices resulted in five major findings. First, design instructors define creativity as a multifaceted phenomenon, and creative instructors share the attributes of being motivated, enthusiastic, and flexible, as well as having an open mind and empathy for students. Second, design instructors believe creativity is required in the design field, and enhancing students’ creativity is important in the classroom. Third, there are several activities and practices that design instructors apply in their classroom teaching to foster students’ creativity, and these practices can be evaluated and assessed in multiple ways. Fourth, there are several factors influence creativity in classroom practices, most notably related to educational institutions, classroom environments, student experiences, and other factors beyond school. Fifth, when instructors gain more years of teaching experience, they see themselves as more likely to motivate students and demonstrate more creative behaviors to enhance creativity.