Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher


Creativity, Elementary, Innovation, Practice of Teaching, Public School


Limited resources in public education and a focus on the “basics” have resulted in a narrowing of the curriculum, which, in turn, has led to a dramatically minimized role for the arts and creativity (Mishook & Kornhaber, 2006). Our world and the ways in which we access and share knowledge continue to evolve at an alarming rate. With this, complex issues arise- issues that will need fresh, innovative eyes that can cultivate creative solutions. The success of our society is fueled by creative and flexible minds that can generate innovative and authentic solutions to some of our most complex problems (Craft, 2003; Parkhurst, 1999; Pink, 2005; Robinson, 2011). Through this study, I hope to reveal that today’s teachers, even with the many constraints and limitations they face, can still prepare our youth for the diverse world they will inherit by fostering student creativity through their approach to teaching. I propose that even the most mundane standards and learning objectives can be constructed into meaningful learning experiences when our imaginations are included in the conversation (Uhrmacher, Conrad, & Moroye 2013). This study seeks to ignite that conversation.

The purpose of this study is to examine the practice of teaching for four public elementary teachers who have been identified as teachers who work toward cultivating creativity and innovation in their students. Four questions guided this study: 1) What are the intentions of teachers who cultivate creativity and more specifically, creative habits of mind in students? 2) How does the classroom organization and structure of physical space help to foster creativity and creative habits of mind in students? 3) How does the teacher’s pedagogical approach help to cultivate creativity and creative habits of mind in students? 4) What is the educational significance of these ideas and practices for students, teachers, and administrators? Educational Connoisseurship and Criticism, an arts-based qualitative research method (Eisner, 1998) is used in this study. Data collection consisted of observations and interviews lasting approximately two to three weeks in each participating teachers’ classroom.


Copyright is held by the author.


Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Karin M. Colley

File size

275 p.

File format