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Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture: A systematic review of the
recent research literature

Article  in  Educational Research Review · February 2018


DOI: 10.1016/j.edurev.2017.10.003

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Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture: A systematic review of the recent
research literature

Enikő Orsolya Bereczki, Andrea Kárpáti

PII: S1747-938X(17)30049-0
DOI: 10.1016/j.edurev.2017.10.003
Reference: EDUREV 233

To appear in: Educational Research Review

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Revised Date: 14 October 2017
Accepted Date: 26 October 2017

Please cite this article as: Bereczki, E.O., Kárpáti, A., Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture: A
systematic review of the recent research literature, Educational Research Review (2017), doi: 10.1016/
j.edurev.2017.10.003.

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Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture: a systematic review of the
recent research literature

Enikő Orsolya Bereczki1, Andrea Kárpáti2


1
Faculty of Pedagogy and Psychology, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE), 23–27 Kazincy S, Budapest 1075,
Hungary

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2
MTA-ELTE Visual Culture Research Group, Faculty of Science, Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) 1/a
Pázmány PRM, Budapest 1117, Hungary

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Corresponding author. Tel.: +36-1- 461-4500/3843
E-mail addresses: bereczki.eniko@ppk.elte.hu (E.O. Bereczki), andreakarpati.elte@gmail.com (A. Kárpáti)
TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE
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Teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture: a systematic review of the
recent research literature

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE
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Abstract
The successful implementation of creativity in education is largely dependent on teachers’
own beliefs about creativity, which has been investigated extensively in the past 25 years.
With the growing emphasis of creativity in education, teachers today might not hold the same
beliefs highlighted by earlier research. The current systematic literature review sought to
identify, describe, appraise and synthesize the most rigorously available recent empirical

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evidence base on in-service K-12 teachers’ beliefs about creativity. 53 studies published
between 2010-2015 were included in the review. Findings suggest that teachers hold several

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beliefs that enable and numerous that hinder creativity development in schools. The review
also highlighted recurrent incongruence between teachers’ positive or adequate beliefs and

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their enacted classroom practices. Finally, several contextual, student- and teacher-related
factors were identified as influencing teachers’ beliefs about creativity. Overall, teachers’
beliefs were found to be heavily context-dependent. Implications for policy, practice and
research are discussed.
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Keywords: creativity, education, implicit theories, teachers’ beliefs, beliefs and practice,
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systematic literature review


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1. Introduction
Creativity has immense benefits both for the individual and the society, and thus fostering
students’ creative capacities has justifiably received significant policy, professional and
research attention in recent years. Addressing creativity in the classroom has become an
imperative for teachers around the globe, with policy documents and school curricula
featuring it as an important desired student outcome in many countries (Craft, 2010;

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Heilmann & Korte, 2010; Shaheen, 2010). Also, there has been an upsurge in teacher-targeted
books and articles on how to educate for creativity and the issue is now often tackled in initial

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teacher education and advanced through professional development courses and materials
offered both online and offline worldwide (e.g. Beghetto, 2013; Beghetto, Kaufman, & Baer,

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2014; Plucker, Kaufman, & Beghetto; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Edutopia; P21; Starko, 2013;
Tan, 2007). Furthermore, the implementation of creativity in education is supported by a
wealth of research aimed at understanding, explaining and assessing the development of

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creative potential (Sternberg, 2015). Several studies have shown that creativity can be
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translated to various educational contexts (Beghetto & Kaufman, 2014; A. Cropley, 2011;
Smith & Smith, 2010) and that creative skills not only can be encouraged through appropriate
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instruction and guidance (Hennessey, 2004; Isaksen & Treffinger, 2004; Renzulli, Gentry, &
Reis, 2007; G. Scott, Leritz, & Mumford, 2004), but also that the development of such skills
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is inherently related to learning (James C Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009; Plucker, Beghetto, &
Dow, 2004; Vygotsky, 2004). Yet, despite all the emphasis placed on nurturing creativity,
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classrooms are still struggling with accommodating students’ creative development (Cachia &
Ferrari, 2010; Sternberg, 2015).
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The progress of the implementation of creativity in education has been slowed down
by several factors. Crucial among these are teachers’ own beliefs about creativity and its
nurture (Beghetto, 2010; Skiba, Tan, Sternberg, & Grigorenko, 2010). Educators’ implicit
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theories about creativity were shown to be often at variance with the explicit theories derived
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from the scientific investigation of the construct and what teachers’ might value, recognize
and promote as creative, in reality, might not be (Skiba et al., 2010). Teachers’ understanding
of creativity and its relationship to scientific research is, thus, an essential issue with practical
significance for the identification, development and evaluation of creativity in schools.
Existing research investigating teachers’ beliefs about creativity has produced
valuable findings on how teachers conceptualize creativity, their views about the profile of
creative students and teachers, as well as their perspectives on creativity-fostering learning
environments. Earlier findings on the topic were synthesized by Andiliou and Murphy (2010),

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indicating several common misalignments between teachers’ and researchers’ creativity-
related views across studies published before 2010. In a more recent thematic analysis Mullet,
Willerson, Lamb, and Kettler (2016) highlighted certain personal characteristics that might
affect how educators conceptualize creativity and its promotion. Factors influencing teachers’
beliefs, however, have not been explored systematically. Furthermore, several conclusions on
the nature of teachers’ perceptions were drawn on studies emanating from the literature before

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2010. Building a strong evidence base from recent findings to inform policy and practice is
important, especially with the issue of creativity. Due to the growing emphasis on creativity in

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education teachers’ views are more susceptible to change and may evolve in time, thus
educators’ today might not hold the same beliefs that were highlighted by earlier research.

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Nevertheless, a systematic review of the new research findings on teachers’ beliefs about
creativity has not yet been carried out.
Then, in order to ensure that policy, practice and research are informed by the most

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rigorously available new evidence the present systematic review seeks to describe, appraise
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and synthesize the empirical research base on in-service K-12 teachers’ beliefs about
creativity between 2010-2015 and it asks the following research questions:
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1. What is known about teachers’ recent beliefs about creativity?


2. What is known about the relationship between teachers’ beliefs about creativity and
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practice?
3. Is there evidence about any factors that influence teachers’ beliefs about creativity?
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1.1. Understanding creativity in education


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Educational psychologists generally agree that creativity involves an individual or group


process which results in outcomes that are both original and appropriate by a given social
context, and is influenced by several personal and environmental factors (Amabile, 1996;
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Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Plucker et al., 2004; Stein, 1953; Sternberg & Lubart, 1991).
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Originality and appropriateness as joint requirements for creativity can be adopted to


the classroom context by considering the appropriate level of creative expression. Various
levels of creative accomplishments have been identified in the literature (Csikszentmihalyi,
1996; James C Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009; Richards, 2007; Stein, 1953) In this respect,
Four-C model of creativity - put forward most recently by James C Kaufman and Beghetto
(2009) - differentiates between four levels of creativity: Big-C or eminent creativity, exhibited
by great artists or scientists, Pro-C or expert level creativity, that is the creativity of
professional-level creators who have not yet attained eminent status, Little-C or everyday

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creativity, which represents creativity involved in daily activities and experiences, and Mini-C
or subjective creativity, which refers to the novel and personally meaningful insights that one
encounters during learning and experience (James C Kaufman & Beghetto, 2009). The Four
C-model thus acknowledges everybody’s potential to be creative as well as offers a
developmental trajectory of creativity in the classroom, in which mini-c creativity serves as
the genesis of later levels of creative expression.

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Originality and appropriateness are also strongly connected to the domain in which
creativity manifests as well as to the knowledge it requires. It has been shown that creativity

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can manifest in any domain (Baer & Kaufman, 2005), whereas the domain in which creativity
manifests provides the knowledge base within which people can be creative (Craft, 2005).

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Nurturing students’ creative capacities hence is interwoven with knowledge and skill
acquisition across the curriculum (Beghetto et al., 2014).
Finally, creativity has traditionally been conceptualized and investigated along the

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Four Ps – the creative person, product, process and place (environment) - proposed by Rhodes
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(1961). In this framework person stands for the creative individual or group, process refers to
the mental mechanisms that occur when a person is engaged in a creative activity, products
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are the results of the creative activity, whereas place represents the setting or climate in which
the creative persons reside (Rhodes, 1961). More recent models integrate the 4Ps and
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emphasize the interaction among the elements that together represent creativity (Amabile,
1996; Csikszentmihalyi, 1996; Sternberg & Lubart, 1991). Based on these models, creativity
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in the classroom arises from the interplay of students’ personal characteristics and the factors
of the environment in which learning takes place (A. Cropley, 2011).
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1.2. Creative pedagogy


Fostering students’ creativity in the classroom can be understood as the confluence of three
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elements represented by Lin’s (2011) framework of creative pedagogy: teaching for


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creativity, which refers to identifying and encouraging student creativity and providing
students opportunities to be creative (Jeffrey & Craft, 2004); teaching creatively, that is using
imaginative approaches to make learning more interesting and effective (NACCCE, 1999),
and learning creatively (Craft, 2005), which denotes learning that stimulates creativity.
Several pedagogical approaches have been identified in the literature to promote
students' creativity in the classroom (e.g. Beghetto & Kaufman, 2014; Craft, 2005; Renzulli,
Gentry, & Reis, 2007; Woods, 1995). These generally involve the following elements:

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valuing, encouraging and fostering students' creative capacities, offering them opportunities
to be creative, and establishing an environment in which creativity can flourish.
Creativity researchers have highlighted numerous personal features - cognitive
abilities, such as divergent, critical, analogical and reflective thinking, and personality
characteristics, such as openness to experience, creative self-efficacy, task motivation, domain
knowledge and expertise, risk-taking and resilience in the face of criticism - that one requires

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to be creative (Davis, 2004). Creative pedagogical practices identify and encourage such
abilities and characteristics in students (Craft, 2005). Creative students were also shown to

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display several socially undesirable traits such as non-conformity, impulsivity and disruptive
behavior, at the same time teachers were found to value more traits of compliance and

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conformity in the classroom (Runco & Johnson, 2002; Westby & Dawson, 1995). In this
respect, helping students develop their self- and contextual knowledge about creativity can
maximize the benefits of creativity in the classroom and as such constitutes an integral part of

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creativity-fostering teaching practices (James C. Kaufman & Beghetto, 2013).
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Research also suggests that environmental conditions also play a crucial role in
encouraging creativity in the classroom. In a recent literature review, Davies et al. (2013)
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identified several features of the learning environment that can stimulate student creativity.
With respect to the physical environment the authors noted that the flexible use of space,
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flexibility and free movement around the space, and the availability and incorporation of a
wide range of materials and tools including ICT can impact on learners’ creativity. As for the
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main features of the creative pedagogical environment, they found that novel, exciting
learning activities, authentic and realistic tasks, game-like and playful approaches, ensuring
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idea time and allowing students to have ownership over learning greatly contribute to the
development of creativity. Evidence from the literature suggested that relationships based on
mutual trust and respect among students and teachers as well as the incorporation of
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collaborative activities are characteristic features of a creativity-supportive psychosocial


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environment. Finally, with regards to the external features of learning Davies et al. (2013)
noted that creative environments are also characterized by collaboration and involvement with
outside agencies, either by visiting these or bringing in experts in the classroom.

1.3. Teachers’ beliefs


As Bandura (1997) argued, beliefs, rather than truths, guide our goals, emotions, decisions,
actions, and reactions. Beliefs can be conceptualized as ‘an individual’s judgement of the
truth or falsity of a proposition’ (Pajares, 1992, p. 316). Beliefs thus refer to an individual’s

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representation of reality or what an individual holds to be true, regardless whether there is
evidence to support that representation.
The nature of teachers’ beliefs has been described by various characteristics (Fives &
Buehl, 2012; Kagan, 1992; Pajares, 1992; Richardson, 1996). Teachers’ beliefs were shown
to be implicit (e.g. Kagan, 1992), but also explicit (e.g. Rimm-Kaufman, Storm, Sawyer,
Pianta, & LaParo, 2006), to fall along a continuum of stability, with certain beliefs being

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more resistant to change than others (e.g. Kagan,1992; Thompson, 1992; Fives & Buehl,
2012), to exist in a complex, multidimensional systems with certain beliefs being more central

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than others (Green, 1971; McAlpine, Eriks-Brophy, & Crago, 1996; Pajares, 1992) and to be
related to teachers practices and student outcomes, even if the enactment of beliefs may be

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hindered by individual and contextual factors (e.g. Fives & Buehl, 2012). Such characteristics
of teachers’ beliefs shape how teachers engage in the practice of teaching.
Various terms have been used in the literature to describe beliefs, such as perceptions,

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conceptions, views, values, attitudes, perspectives and implicit theories (Andiliou & Murphy,
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2010). According to Fives and Buehl (2012), teachers’ beliefs include those about the self,
context and environment, content or knowledge, specific teaching practices, and students. In
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the present work, the term creativity beliefs refer to a specific set of beliefs that teachers have
about creativity, its nature, and nurture.
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1.4. Teachers’ beliefs about creativity


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A conceptual framework of teachers’ beliefs about creativity has been proposed by Andiliou
and Murphy (2010) in their review of the literature before 2010. The framework captures
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teachers’ beliefs about the nature of creativity, beliefs about the profiles and characteristics of
creative individuals, and beliefs about the creativity fostering environment. Andiliou and
Murphy (2010) found that teachers’ beliefs in the above areas are often in misalignment with
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the scientific theories of creativity. Common misconceptions identified included the idea that
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creativity requires originality but not appropriateness, is an inborn talent mainly related to arts
and humanities and requires the production of tangible products (Andiliou & Murphy, 2010).
Also, research on educators’ beliefs about creative students suggested that teachers tend to
label intelligent students or those displaying socially desirable traits as creative, while creative
students seem to be less preferred in the classroom (D. W. Chan & Chan, 1999; Runco &
Johnson, 2002; Westby & Dawson, 1995). Finally, it has been found that certain teacher
characteristics, such as teachers’ own creativity, creativity-fostering self-efficacy beliefs,

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experience and age may have an influence on teachers’ beliefs about creativity (Mullet et al.,
2016).

2. Methods
A systematic literature review was chosen to describe, appraise and synthesize the current
empirical research on in-service K-12 teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture, given
its methodological strength as a means of establishing a comprehensive and reliable evidence

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base (Gough, Oliver, & Thomas, 2012, p. 2). To ensure that our review is systematic, we were
guided by the Preferred Items for Systematic Reviews and MetaAnalysis (PRISMA)

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statement (Moher, Liberati, Tetzlaff, Altman, & ThePrismaGroup, 2009), and carried out the
following steps: (1) defining relevant studies and establishing inclusion/exclusion criteria; (2)

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developing the search strategy; (3) identifying potential studies through searching and
screening; (4) describing and appraising included studies; (5) analyzing and synthesizing

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findings. These steps are outlined in detail below.
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2.1. Eligibility criteria
Eligibility criteria for the present review were the following:
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• Topic of research: studies designed to describe and explore teachers’ beliefs about
creativity, creative students, and creative pedagogy (creative teaching, teaching for
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creativity, creative learning).


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• Type of research: full primary reports of empirical research (qualitative, quantitative,


and mixed method).
• Study population and settings: research whose primary participants were in-service
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teachers active in K-12 education settings.


• Date of publication: studies published between January 2010 and December 2015
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• Language of publication: studies written in English.


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• Transparency: studies which explicitly described the theory, methodology, and data on
which conclusions rest.
• Reliability/validity: studies whose findings are valid and reliable, considering the type
of study.
We excluded:
• Studies that contained incidental data on K-12 teachers’ beliefs about creativity.
• Studies that collected data in gifted, early childhood and tertiary education settings.

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• Studies whose findings on K-12 teachers’ beliefs about creativity could not be
separated from those of other populations’, such as teachers active in gifted, early-
childhood, tertiary education settings, or students, parents, head teachers, and other
stakeholders.

2.2. Search strategy

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To locate as much of the potentially relevant literature on teachers’ beliefs about creativity
published between 2010-2015 as possible, we searched different sources between February

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and April 2016, presented in detail below.
Electronic databases searched in this review included those relevant to education,

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educational psychology and psychology: ProQuest ERIC, EBSCO PsychInfo. In addition, we
searched ProQuest Dissertation and Theses Global for dissertations on the topic in English
accepted for higher degrees (PhD, EdD). Search terms developed for database search included

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belief terms, creativity terms and teacher terms, which were established upon a preliminary
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review of the literature and on the previous synthesis of the research on teachers’
conceptualizations of creativity between 1991-2010 by Andiliou and Murphy (2010). We also
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carried out pilot searches on single and combined terms before deciding on a final list of
keywords, which are presented in Table 1.
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[Insert Table 1 near here]


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Table 1: Keywords identified for database search


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Belief terms Creativity terms Teacher terms


attitude creativity teacher
belief creative ability educator
conception creative attribute
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conceptualization creative behaviour


implicit theory creative characteristic
interpretation creative capacity
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perception creative skill


perspective creative thinking
value creative student
view creative pupil
creative child
creative pedagogy
creative learning
creative teaching
creative approach
creative environment
creative classroom
teaching creatively
learning creatively

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To avoid limitations of using pre-determined search terms and controlled vocabulary
(Brunton, Stansfield, & Thomas, 2012), we made hand searches for the period between 2010-
2015 of the following key journals: Creativity Research Journal, Journal of Creative
Behavior, Journal of Psychology Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts, Thinking Skills and
Creativity, International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving. Furthermore, we carried
out the forward reference list checking of key articles on the topic using Google Scholar, i.e.

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those published by Aljughaiman and Mowrer-Reynolds (2005), Andiliou and Murphy (2010),
Fryer and Collings (1991), Runco and Johnson (2002) and Westby and Dawson (1995) as

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well as the reference list checking of studies included in the present review. Also, we
searched Google for further hits and asked personal and professional contacts.

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2.3. Study selection
The database search delivered 2,600 references. After removing 387 duplicates, titles and

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abstracts of the remaining 2,213 articles were divided between the two researchers and
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screened individually for preselection purposes using the inclusion and exclusion criteria. A
random sample of 10% percent of the articles were chosen and screened by both authors.
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Interrater reliability was calculated for the sample showing almost perfect agreement (Kappa=
0.951). Screening thus produced 61 studies, the full texts of which were acquired to be
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checked applying the inclusion/exclusion criteria. Discrepancies were solved by discussion


until 100% agreement was reached.
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Of the 61 studies resulting from the database search, 12 have been excluded based on
the inclusion/exclusion criteria1. Hand searching produced 28 additional studies, of which a
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further seven have been excluded with reason2. Finally, the search strategy applied yielded a
sample of n=70 studies which were then judged for their quality and relevance.
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Four studies were not on teachers’ creativity-related views (Arrazola & Bozalongo, 2014; Cho, Chung, Choi,
Seo, & Baek, 2013; Ozkal, 2014; Ramma, Samy, & Gopee, 2015); five studies did not present primary empirical
research (Andiliou & Murphy, 2010; Banaji, Cranmer, & Perrotta, 2013; Burnard & Power, 2013; A. J. Cropley,
2010, 2012; Olutayo, 2012); the participants of two studies were not in-service K-12 teachers (Newton &
Newton, 2010a; Tin, Manara, & Ragawanti, 2010).
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Studies presented in Kampylis’ (2010) dissertation were turned into articles and published before 2010;
Schrauth (2014) explored mathematics teachers’ creativity-fostering practices, but did not investigate their
views; D. Cropley and Cropley (2010) did not present primary empirical research on teachers’ creativity beliefs;
Roy and Carter (2013) and Vedenpää and Lonka (2014) did not present results separately for the various groups
of participants (kindergarten, special education, gifted education, pre-service teachers); studies by Bloomquist
(2010) and Hulland (2015) were MA thesis, and thus not eligible for the present review.

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2.4. Quality and relevance appraisal
After judging pre-selected studies according to the inclusion/exclusion criteria, the remaining
70 studies were assessed for their quality and relevance based on the Weight of Evidence
(WoE) framework outlined by Gough (2007). Following this framework, studies were
appraised in relation to three key areas: methodological quality (WoE A), methodological
relevance and topic relevance (WoE C).

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For methodological quality, a rating of high, medium, low and inadequate was
determined. First, each study was assessed against a pre-determined set of quality criteria

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concerning the following areas: research aims and objectives, conceptual framing, study
design, sampling, data collection, data analysis, evidence and claims. Studies received a score

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on a scale of 0 to 3 in each of these criteria, considering the extent to which they were met (0-
not at all met, 1-met to some extent, 2-mostly met, 3-fully met). The overall rating of
methodological quality (high, medium, low, or inadequate) for a study was then established

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based on the scores awarded for each criterion. Studies scoring 0 for any criteria of the
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methodological quality section were considered inadequate.
The methodological relevance assessment sought to determine the extent to which the
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study design chosen was adequate to determine in-service K12 teachers’ beliefs about
creativity, whereas topic relevance aimed to measure the degree to which studies provided
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sufficient and adequate findings on teachers’ beliefs about creativity. In both cases, a rating of
high, medium, low, or inadequate was established. For more details, see the scoring sheet
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produced to aid the appraisal process presented in Appendix 1.


The appraisal of studies was undertaken by one of the authors (E. O. B.), while a third
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researcher assessed a random selection of studies (25%, n=15 of the 60 studies included in the
final pool). The two judges reached full agreement on the quality and relevance ratings
awarded to the sample.
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Studies considered inadequate in any area, as well as studies rated low in the
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methodological quality area were excluded from the review. The appraisal of pre-selected
studies, thus resulted in the exclusion of further 18, which based on their weight of evidence
were considered inadequate for the present review: seven studies did not meet the quality
criteria3, whereas eleven did not satisfy the topic relevance criteria4. For the rest of the studies

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Akkanat & Gökdere, 2015; Aktaş, 2015; Morais & Azevedo, 2011; Ndeke, Okere, & Keraro, 2015; L. D.
Nielsen, 2013; Park, 2013; Shriki & Lavy, 2012
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Dikici (2013), Konstantinidou, Zisi, and Michalopoulou (2015) and Patsalides (2015) presented the
development or adaptation of research instruments measuring teachers’ creativity-related views providing
insufficient findings on teachers’ views measured by these instruments; in Hosseini and Watt (2010), J. A.

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the results of the methodological quality, methodological relevance and topic relevance
appraisal were combined and given an overall weight of evidence of high, medium or low.
The results of the quality appraisal of the included studies are provided in Appendix 2.
The search and appraisal strategy applied yielded a final sample of n=535 studies. For
a graphic overview of the selection procedure see Figure 1.

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Figure 1. PRISMA Flow Diagram of study selection for the systematic review
[Insert Figure 1 near here]

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2.5. Data extraction and analyses

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Data extraction from the 53 selected studies was conducted using a template which recorded
key information about the sample: (1) authors, (2) year of publication, (3) type of publication,
(4) study purpose, (5) research questions/hypotheses, (4) type of view examined, (3) view

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topic, (4) country, (5) grade level, (6) subject area, (7) sample characteristics, (8) research
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design, (9) research instruments, (10) data analysis procedures, (11) major findings, (12)
summary of major findings, (14) creativity definitions.
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Surface characteristics of the reviewed studies were analyzed using descriptive


statistics. For the synthesis of findings in relation to our first research question, which focused
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on the characteristics of teachers’ beliefs’ about creativity, we applied mixed-coding strategy


with some pre-defined concepts (Oliver & Sutcliffe, 2012) building on Andiliou and
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Murphy’s (2010) conceptual framework on the topic. For the questions concerning teachers’
beliefs and perceptions in relation to classroom practice and the factors that might influence
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teacher’ views about creativity, data was open-coded (Oliver & Sutcliffe, 2012). Coding in
both cases was carried out in NVivo 11 by the first author (E.O.B) with themes as well as the
decisions taken regarding these being discussed among the two authors.
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Nielsen (2015), Russo (2013) and Wilborn (2013) only incidental data on teachers’ creativity-related beliefs was
found; Ferizovic (2015) and Karwowski (2011) focused on the creative school climate and did not directly
provide data on teachers’ beliefs regarding creativity in education and its promotion; the primary aim of the
research reported by Sen and Sharma (2011) was to uncover implicit theories of creativity within the Indian
cultural context and not educational settings, though the sample included students, parents, teachers, and
principals; Wadaani (2015) conceptualized creativity and talent development as connected phenomena
measuring and presenting results on teachers’ attitudes accordingly.
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The original number was 52, however, Hartley (2015) included three manuscripts in her dissertation: one was
published as an article (Hartley & Plucker, 2014) and treated as such in the review, whereas the other two are
featured separately in our database.

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2.6. Characteristics of included studies
In total 53 studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in the review (see Appendix
3). For a summary of the surface characteristics see Figure 2.
The majority of studies were published as journal articles (n=37), over a quarter were
dissertations (n=15) and only one study was reported in another format, as a research report.
The retrieved studies were undertaken around the world: in North America (n=16), in Asia

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(n=14), Europe (n=16) and Australia (n=2). Five studies examined teachers’ creativity-related
beliefs across different cultural settings (Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Hartley & Plucker, 2014;

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Hong & Kang, 2010; Leikin, Subotnik, Pitta-Pantazi, Singer, & Pelczer, 2013; Zhou, Shen,
Wang, Neber, & Johji, 2013).

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Figure 2. Summary of the surface characteristics of the reviewed studies
[Insert Figure 2 near here]

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AN
The included studies sampled in-service K-12 teachers either exclusively or along with
other groups of participants. More than half of the studies (n=37) examined teachers’
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creativity-related views focusing solely on in-service teachers, while others also sampled
senior (Alkhars, 2013), gifted education (S. Chan & Yuen, 2014) or pre-service teachers
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(Levenson, 2013; Turner, 2013). A significant number of studies (n=10) recruited teachers
together with their students (Alsahou, 2015; Beghetto, Kaufman, & Baxter, 2011; Gralewski
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& Karwowski, 2013; Hartley, 2015; Hoff & Carlsson, 2011; Lasky & Yoon, 2011; McLellan
& Nicholl, 2012; Shaheen, 2011; Turner, 2013; Urhahne, 2011). Teachers views regarding
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creativity were also explored along with those of school principals (Al-Nouh, Abdul-Kareem,
& Taqi, 2014), and psychologists and mathematicians (Dickman, 2014).
Across the studies reviewed, sample sizes ranged from single teacher respondents to
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7,650, from first-year teachers to teachers with more than 40 years of professional experience
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from urban, small-town and rural schools, holding different degrees (BA, MA, PhD), trained
or untrained in teaching for creativity.
About half of the reviewed studies (n=25, 47%) investigated elementary teachers’ views
about creativity (kindergarten to grade 6) whereas far fewer (n=6, 11%) focused on secondary
teachers’ (grades 9-12). More than a third of the studies (n=20, 38%) sampled educators
teaching at various levels, however, only six investigated similarities and differences between
teachers’ views across grade levels (Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Snell, 2013; Stone, 2015;
Tanggaard, 2011; Turner, 2013; Zbainos & Anastasopoulou, 2012). Furthermore, three

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studies did not specify the grade levels at which teachers from the sample taught (DaVia
Rubenstein, McCoach, & Siegle, 2013; Karwowski, 2010, 2011).
More than half of the studies (57%, n=30) explored subject-specific views of creativity,
whereas many (28%, n=15) did not indicate the participants’ subject specialization. Several
studies (15%, n=8) sampled educators teaching various subjects, however only two examined
teachers’ creativity-related views across more areas (Beghetto et al., 2011; Cachia & Ferrari,

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2010)
The methodological approaches adopted within the selected studies varied. The number of

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quantitative and qualitative studies was similar: 25 studies used a quantitative and 22 a
qualitative approach. In addition, seven studies applied mixed-method design. Of the 25

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quantitative studies, 17 were mono-method using a teacher questionnaire in descriptive,
comparative or correlational designs. Seven studies combined teacher questionnaires with the
analysis of student inventories, self-ratings, grades, creativity and/or ability tests (Beghetto et

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al., 2011; Gralewski & Karwowski, 2013; Hartley, 2015; Hoff & Carlsson, 2011; Karwowski,
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2010; Urhahne, 2011). Qualitative studies employed phenomenological, grounded theory and
case-study designs. Nine of the 22 studies studies collected data solely from teachers
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interviews, whereas 12 applied multiple methods such as individual interviews, focus groups,
classroom observation, document and audio-visual material analysis.
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A variety of belief-terms have been identified in the studies exploring teachers’ beliefs
about creativity, researchers often invoking various terminologies within the same article (See
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Appendix 3). Studies most often addressed teachers’ perceptions (n=17), followed by beliefs
(n=12) and conceptions (n=11) (See Figure 3).
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Figure 3. Main belief terms used by researchers across the studies (not mutually exclusive)
[Insert Figure 3 near here]
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29 of the 53 reviewed studies provided definitions of creativity in line with current


theoretical conceptualizations according to which creativity requires both originality and
appropriateness, and is situated in a given context. Less consistent with current research,
many studies equated creativity with divergent thinking or elements of divergent thinking,
such as fluency, flexibility, originality and elaboration (e.g. Fairfield, 2010; Lev-Zamir &
Leikin, 2011, 2013; Levenson, 2015; Liu & Lin, 2014). Finally, eleven studies did not define
creativity at all (e.g. Chan & Yuen, 2014; Konstantinidou, Michalopoulou, Agelousis, &
Kourtesis, 2013; Pavlović, Maksić, & Bodroža, 2013) .

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3. Results
3.1. What characterizes teachers’ beliefs about creativity?
To synthesize findings of the 53 recent studies found on teachers’ beliefs about creativity, we
adopted the conceptual framework of ‘Teachers’ beliefs about creativity’ put forward by
Andiliou and Murphy (2010). As with the literature before 2010, recent studies investigated

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teachers’ creativity-related beliefs along three main themes: (a) teachers’ beliefs about the
nature of creativity, (b) beliefs about the profile and characteristics of creative individuals,

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and (c) beliefs about the creativity-fostering classroom environment, as well as along several
subthemes connected to these. While many subthemes were consistent in the literature before

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and after 2010, new sub-themes, such as teachers’ beliefs about creativity in teachers and in
teaching, also emerged in the research body of recent years. Table 3 summarizes the themes

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and sub-themes identified in the current literature on teachers’ beliefs about creativity and
their occurrence in the reviewed studies.
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[Insert Table 3 near here]
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Table 3: Themes in the current literature on teachers’ beliefs about creativity and their
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occurrence in the reviewed studies.


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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

Nature of creativity Creative individuals Creativity-fostering classroom environments


Domain- Context of Creative Creative Teachers' Creative Teaching for Barriers and
Distribution Malleability

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specificity reference student teacher attitudes teaching creativity enablers
Adams (2013)
Aish (2013)

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Al-Nouh, Abdul-Kareem, & Taqi (2014)
AlKhars (2013)

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Alsahou (2015)
Beghetto, Kaufman, & Baxter (2011)
Bryant (2014)

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Cachia & Ferrari (2010)
Chan & Yuen (2014)

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Cheng (2010)
Daskolia, Dimos, & Kampylis (2011)

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DaVia Rubenstein, McCoach, & Siegle (2013)
Dickman (2014)
Fairfield (2010)

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Frawley (2014)
Gralewski & Karwowski (2013)

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Hartley & Plucker (2014)
Hartley (2015) manuscript 2
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Hartley (2015) manuscript 3
Henriksen & Mishra (2015)
Hoff & Carlsson (2011)
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Hondzel (2013)
Hong & Kang (2010)
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Huang & Lee (2015)


Kampylis, Saarilouma, & Berki (2011)
Karwowski (2010)
Konstantinidou et al. (2013)
Konstantinidou et al. (2014)
Lasky & Yoon (2011)

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

Leikin et al. (2013)


Lev-Zamir & Leikin (2011)
Lev-Zamir & Leikin (2013)
Levenson (2013)

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Levenson (2015)
Liu & Lin (2014)
McLellan & Nicholl (2013)

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Merriman (2015)
Meyer & Lederman (2013)

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Myhill & Wilson (2013)
Newton & Newton (2010b)
Olivant (2015)

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Pavlović, Maksić & Bodroža (2013)
Scott (2015)

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Shaheen (2011)
Shen (2014)

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Snell (2012)
Stone (2015)
Tanggaard (2011)

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Tomasevic & Trivic (2014)
Turner (2013)

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Urhahne (2011)
Zbainos & Anastasopoulou (2012)
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Zhou et al. (2013)
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3.1.1. Teachers’ beliefs about the nature of creativity


26 studies addressed teacher’ beliefs about the nature of creativity either exclusively, or along
with their views on creative individuals and creative classroom environment (See Table 3 and
Appendix 3). Studies addressing creativity as a construct focused on teachers’ beliefs about
the distribution of creativity, its malleability, specificity and context of reference. Findings on

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teachers’ beliefs concerning these aspects are detailed below.

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3.1.1.1. Distribution – ‘Everybody can be creative, but some are born this way’
17 studies examined teachers’ views about the distribution of creativity. Teachers generally

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endorsed a democratic view of creativity by maintaining that everybody can be creative,
although levels of agreement differed substantially across teacher groups. A vast majority of
participants in nine studies (Alsahou, 2015; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; DaVia Rubenstein et al.,

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2013; Fairfield, 2010; Henriksen & Mishra, 2015; Hondzel, 2013; Hong & Kang, 2010; K. A.
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Scott, 2015; Turner, 2013) felt that creativity is universal and accessible to everyone, with
only a few arguing that creativity was a rare characteristic. Four studies showed that though
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several teachers acknowledged the potential of every child to be creative, many of them were
still convinced that creativity was an inborn trait and considered only a few students to be
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creative (Aish, 2014; Konstantinidou, Gregoriadis, Grammatikopoulos, & Michalopoulou,


2014; Lasky & Yoon, 2011; Tomasevic & Trivic, 2014). Finally, four studies reported that
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participants generally associated creativity with giftedness and talent: Greek music teachers
believed that creativity was an innate characteristic (Zbainos & Anastasopoulou, 2012); UK
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primary teachers considered creativity to reside in the temperament of the individual students
in the context of poetry writing (Myhill & Wilson, 2013); and Serbian primary teachers
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related creativity to giftedness and high intelligence (Pavlović et al., 2013), when defining
creativity US primary teachers thought of it as an artistic talent (Adams, 2013). Two studies
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focused on the cross-cultural examination of teachers’ beliefs regarding the distribution of


creativity. Hong and Kang (2010) showed small differences between South Korean and US
secondary science teachers’ views with both groups strongly supporting the democratic view
of creativity, whereas Zhou et al. (2013) highlighted that Chinese and German teachers were
more convinced about the universality of creativity than their Japanese counterparts.

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3.1.1.2. Malleability – ‘Creativity can be taught, but not to anybody’
The malleability of creativity was the focus of eleven studies. Across most of these studies,
teachers strongly supported the idea that creativity can be enhanced (Aish, 2014; Al-Nouh et
al., 2014; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Fairfield, 2010; Hong & Kang, 2010; Konstantinidou et al.,
2014; Tomasevic & Trivic, 2014; Turner, 2013; Zhou et al., 2013). Some studies highlighted
a positive relationship between teachers’ views on the universality of creativity and

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malleability. Cachia and Ferrari (2010) found that the more participants believed that
everyone can be creative, the more they agreed that creativity can be taught. The two teacher

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samples that considered creativity to be innate also held the general belief that it cannot be
taught (Myhill & Wilson, 2013; Zbainos & Anastasopoulou, 2012). Similarly, in the cross-

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cultural study conducted by Zhou et al. (2013) Japanese teachers were to a lesser extent
convinced about the plasticity of creativity than universality.

3.1.1.3.
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Domain specificity – ‘Every subject has it, but some are more creative’
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Teachers’ views about the domain-specificity of creativity were explored in five studies.
Across these studies, teachers generally supported the view that creativity can manifest in
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every domain of knowledge and can be applied to any discipline (Aish, 2014; Bryant, 2014;
Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; K. A. Scott, 2015; Zhou et al., 2013). However, with the exception
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of K. A. Scott (2015) whose sample consisted of highly accomplished teachers all viewing
creativity as integral to every discipline, teachers in the other four studies showed a slight
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bias towards certain subject areas. For example, bias towards arts-related subjects was found
in four studies (Aish, 2014; Bryant, 2014; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Zhou et al., 2013) and
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science (Zhou et al., 2013). Furthermore, cross-cultural differences between teachers views
about the domain-specificity of creativity were also revealed. In a study conducted among
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teachers from China, Germany and Japan, Zhou et al. (2013) found that Chinese teachers
believed creativity to be less likely exhibited in literature, German teachers in mathematics,
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while social sciences were considered a subject area in which creativity could least be
manifested across all three countries.
Finally, several other studies exploring teachers’ views about creativity in subject-
specific contexts showed that teachers acknowledged the role of creativity in the specific
subject areas they taught (Alsahou, 2015; Daskolia, Dimos, & Kampylis, 2012; Fairfield,
2010; Konstantinidou et al., 2014; Meyer & Lederman, 2013; Tomasevic & Trivic, 2014).

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3.1.1.4. Context of reference – ‘Creativity is originality, rarely appropriateness’
Determining teachers’ beliefs about what constitutes creative outcomes was the focus of 14
studies. Across ten studies, teachers emphasized originality, novelty or uniqueness as criteria
for judging creative products, with only a few considering appropriateness, usefulness and
value to be necessary for creativity (Adams, 2013; Aish, 2014; Alsahou, 2015; Bryant, 2014;
Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Hong & Kang, 2010; Levenson, 2013; Liu & Lin, 2014; Stone, 2015;

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Zhou et al., 2013), their views thus being in misalignment with the scientific theories of
creativity. In addition, two studies highlighted a degree of uncertainty in teachers’

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judgements of novelty, educators being unsure about whom student outcomes should be
novel to (Daskolia et al., 2012; Konstantinidou et al., 2013). Other dimensions of creative

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products were: practicality in the context of engineering and design (Lasky & Yoon, 2011)
and environmental education (Daskolia et al., 2012), and ethicality in environmental
education (Daskolia et al., 2012), which suggest domain-specific views in evaluating creative

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products. Furthermore, the requirement of creative products to be artistic appeared in four
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studies. Three provided further evidence for teachers’ misconception that creativity can
manifest itself mainly in arts (Adams, 2013; Aish, 2014; Daskolia et al., 2012), whereas in
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the third, artistry as a criterion for judging creative products could be justified by the nature
of the domain of engineering and design in which the study was conducted (Lasky & Yoon,
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2011). Exploring accomplished teachers views about creativity, Henriksen and Mishra (2015)
found that, in line with recent creativity research, both originality and appropriateness were
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considered necessary for creativity by all participants.


The two cross-cultural examinations of teachers’ beliefs showed that the emphasis on
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novelty was not culturally dependent, since originality was stressed over appropriateness to
the same extent across the samples from the various countries examined (Hong & Kang,
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2010; Zhou et al., 2013). Ethicality, nevertheless, was found to be more emphasized by the
South Korean teachers than their American counterparts in Zhou et al. (2013), suggesting the
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presence of culturally-specific aspects in teachers’ beliefs regarding creative products.

3.1.2. Teachers’ beliefs about creative individuals


While the literature before 2010 focused entirely on teachers’ views about creative students
(Andiliou & Murphy, 2010), current empirical research also addressed teachers’ beliefs about
creativity in teachers. Findings of the reviewed articles in both areas are presented below.

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3.1.2.1. Beliefs about creative students – ‘Creative ones are hard to spot’
15 studies sought to determine teachers’ beliefs about creativity in students, either focusing
on educators’ beliefs about the profile of creative students, or their perceptions of creativity
in students.
Studies examining teachers’ beliefs about the characteristics of creative students
revealed that though teachers held several views aligned with creativity research in certain

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dimensions, they also often overlooked important creative characteristics, or had inconsistent
and inadequate views about student creativity. Furthermore, the specific aspects emphasized,

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overlooked or misunderstood by teachers varied considerably across the samples. For
example, Greek primary physical education teachers’ in their survey responses emphasized

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imagination, self-confidence, wide interests as creative characteristics, but overlooked
divergent thinking, critical thinking, autonomy, and associated talent with creative students
(Konstantinidou et al., 2013). In a study conducted by (Aish, 2014), US primary school

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teachers identified ‘artistic’ and ‘original’ as the top characteristics of creative students, while
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few of them recognized other important personal features, such as critical thinking, problem-
solving or risk taking. Pakistani teachers valued originality, curiosity and knowledge most,
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while referring to rote memorization and the ability to follow orders as creativity-relevant
student skills (Shaheen, 2011). Besides the differences, similarities were also found across
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the studies: some teachers often mistakenly associated creativity with talent (Aish, 2014;
Hondzel, 2013; Konstantinidou et al., 2013; Pavlović et al., 2013) intelligence (Aish, 2014;
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Konstantinidou et al., 2013; Pavlović et al., 2013; Shaheen, 2011) and academic achievement
(Konstantinidou et al., 2013; Shaheen, 2011). Furthermore, three studies indicated that
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teachers tended to recognize only positive traits of creative students (Aish, 2014; Pavlović et
al., 2013; Shaheen, 2011).
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Two cross-cultural comparative studies highlighted several differences and


similarities in teachers’ beliefs about the profile of the creative students across different
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countries (Leikin et al., 2013; Zhou et al., 2013). Further context-related variations, based for
example on subjects and grade levels taught, were not explored in the literature. Yet, there
were two qualitative studies, which offered insight into teachers’ beliefs about creative
students in the context of elementary science (Liu & Lin, 2014) and art (Stone, 2015). These
studies suggested variations in teachers views across subject areas.
Current empirical literature also explored teachers’ perceptions of creativity in their
students, which was the focus of seven studies. Of these, five sought to determine the
accuracy of teachers’ judgements of student creativity (Gralewski & Karwowski, 2013; Hoff
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& Carlsson, 2011; Karwowski, 2010; Shaheen, 2011; Urhahne, 2011). Findings in this
respect revealed that teachers had difficulties in recognizing creativity in their students’, and
that students’ abilities (Gralewski & Karwowski, 2013; Hoff & Carlsson, 2011; Hong &
Kang, 2010; Urhahne, 2011), traits (Gralewski & Karwowski, 2013; Shaheen, 2011), gender
(Beghetto et al., 2011; Gralewski & Karwowski, 2013), and age (Hartley, 2015; Urhahne,
2011) could affect educators’ perceptions. Two further studies investigated teachers’

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perceptions of students’ creativity in relation to students’ creative self-efficacy beliefs
(Beghetto et al., 2011; Hartley, 2015). These studies showed that teachers’ ratings of

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students’ creativity were positively related to students’ creative self-efficacy beliefs,
suggesting either that teachers in these samples could more accurately appraise their students’

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creativity or that teachers’ judgements may have an impact on students’ self-efficacy beliefs.

3.1.2.2. Beliefs about creative teachers – ‘Creative teachers teach creativity

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creatively’
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In-service K-12 teacher’ beliefs about creativity in teachers was a new theme emerging from
the current empirical literature with five studies addressing the issue. Creative teachers were
described in terms of personal characteristics, pedagogical and content knowledge, skills and
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abilities in four studies applying qualitative approaches to explore teachers’ views (Alkhars,
2013; Henriksen & Mishra, 2015; Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013; Merriman, 2015). For
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example, primary EFL teachers viewed creative teachers as confident, determined, self-
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directed, open-minded, sociable, and empathetic, possessing native-like language skills and
able to choose the appropriate material for the teaching context (Alkhars, 2013). Creative
mathematics teachers were characterized by both mathematical and pedagogical flexibility
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and originality (Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013). In both studies, teachers recognized a number of
characteristics that are relevant for a creative teacher, while offering a somewhat narrow
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perspective on who might be one. Two phenomenological studies focusing on highly


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accomplished teachers’ views found that teachers see personal life creativity as strongly
associated with creativity in teaching, and teaching for creativity (Henriksen & Mishra, 2015;
Merriman, 2015).
Finally, Leikin et al. (2013) in a survey study comparing secondary math teachers’
beliefs about creative mathematics teachers found that teachers from different countries
emphasized different characteristics of creative mathematics teachers. In addition, the most
recognized creative teacher characteristics across the samples in Leikin and her colleagues’
(2013) study were teachers’ enjoyment of mathematics and valuing and eliciting student

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creativity. These findings, once again, reinforce the belief expressed by teachers in the
studies by Henriksen and Mishra (2015) and Merriman (2015), that fostering students’
creativity requires creative teachers.

3.1.3. Teachers’ beliefs about the creativity-fostering classroom environment


The analysis of the recent empirical literature found that research on teachers’ beliefs about

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the creative environment comprised the examination of educators’ beliefs concerning the
promotion of creativity, the strategies that promote creative pedagogy (both creativity in

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teaching and teaching for creativity), as well as their perceptions of the factors that either
foster or hinder creativity in the classroom. Research evidence of the 38 studies found in

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these areas is presented in the following section.

3.1.3.1. Beliefs about the promotion of creativity – ‘Creativity is a good thing and I
can teach it’
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Teachers attitudes towards creativity, their self-efficacy beliefs in promoting their students’
creative capacities, and perceptions of fostering creativity in the classroom were the focus of
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16 studies. Nine studies investigating teachers’ attitudes towards creativity showed that K-12
in-service teachers greatly value creativity. Across these studies, there was a high consensus
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among participants that creativity is essential and important (Adams, 2013; Aish, 2014; Al-
Nouh et al., 2014; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; DaVia Rubenstein et al., 2013; Fairfield, 2010;
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Meyer & Lederman, 2013; K. A. Scott, 2015; Shaheen, 2011). Also, teachers expressed
overall high levels of self-efficacy in promoting their students’ creativity across the seven
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studies that addressed the issue of teachers’ creativity fostering self-efficacy beliefs (Al-Nouh
et al., 2014; DaVia Rubenstein et al., 2013; Fairfield, 2010; Hartley, 2015; Konstantinidou et
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al., 2014; Turner, 2013; Zbainos & Anastasopoulou, 2012). Two studies found, however, that
a considerable number of educators felt insecure about their capability of fostering creativity
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(Aish, 2014; Fairfield, 2010). Finally, three studies investigated teachers’ perceptions of their
creativity fostering practices. Teachers in the studies by S. Chan and Yuen (2014) and
Hondzel (2013) reported high levels of creativity fostering behaviour. Exploring whether the
climate in design and technology lessons was perceived as conducive for creativity by
students and teachers, McLellan and Nicholl (2012) found that participant teachers felt that
learning activities and tasks were challenging and meaningful and that they granted enough
freedom to their students, however, students’ responses revealed the opposite.

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3.1.3.2. Beliefs about teaching creatively and teaching for creativity – ‘There are lots
of strategies for those’
Teachers beliefs about creative teaching and teaching for creativity as main constituents of a
creativity-promoting classroom environment were the focus of 18 studies, with creativity in
teaching emerging as a new theme in the literature after 2010.
Six studies sought to determine teachers’ beliefs about creativity in teaching. Though

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the contexts were significantly different research being conducted in both primary and
secondary settings, across various subject areas and in several countries a series of common

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strategies connected to creative teaching emerged from teachers’ responses (See Table 4).

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[Insert Table 4 near here]

Table 4: Teaching strategies viewed by teachers as connected to creative teaching

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Creative teaching strategies Studies
Making learning more interesting Huang & Lee, 2015; Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013
Using imaginative teaching approaches and Alkhars, 2013; Huang & Lee, 2015; Turner, 2013
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methods
Teaching beyond the curriculum Alkhars, 2013; Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013; Turner,
2013
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Encouraging divergent thinking and offering Huang & Lee, 2015; Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013
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students opportunities to create


Promoting active learning Huang & Lee, 2015; Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013;
Turner, 2013
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Tailoring content and methods to learners’ needs Alkhars, 2013; Huang & Lee, 2015; Lev-Zamir &
Leikin, 2013
Encouraging collaboration among students and Alkhars, 2013; Huang & Lee, 2015
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teachers
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Empowering students to take ownership of their Huang & Lee, 2015; Merriman, 2015
learning
Offering students relevance Henriksen & Mishra, 2015; Huang & Lee, 2015; Lev-
Zamir & Leikin, 2013; Turner, 2013
Passing control over learning to students Huang & Lee, 2015; Merriman, 2015
Building positive relationship with students Alkhars, 2013; Hong & Kang, 2010

In addition, teachers in two studies considered creative teaching a skill that can be learnt ,
one which does not require excellent teacher performance (Huang & Lee, 2015), thus

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teachers in these studies promoted a democratic view of creativity in teaching. Furthermore,
creative teaching was often seen as necessary for fostering students’ creativity (Henriksen &
Mishra, 2015; Huang & Lee, 2015; Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013; Merriman, 2015), which is in
line with current literature (Lin, 2011).
24 studies addressed teachers’ beliefs about teaching for creativity. Strategies viewed by
educators to promote creativity from qualitative studies could also be grouped around

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specific common themes, despite the varied contexts in which these were examined (See
Table 5).

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[Insert Table 5 near here]

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Table 5: Teaching strategies viewed by teachers as connected to teaching for creativity

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Creativity-fostering strategies Studies
Teaching divergent thinking Alsahou, 2015; Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2011;
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Levenson, 2013, 2015; Meyer & Lederman, 2013; K.
A. Scott, 2015; Shen, 2014;
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Facilitating active learning Adams, 2013; Alsahou, 2015; Daskolia et al., 2012;
Hondzel, 2013; Liu & Lin, 2014; Meyer &
Lederman, 2013; Tanggaard, 2011
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Encouraging students to make creative contributions Daskolia et al., 2012; Hondzel, 2013; Lev-Zamir &
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and solve problems Leikin, 2011; Levenson, 2015


Empowering students to take ownership Adams, 2013; Alsahou, 2015; Daskolia et al., 2012;
Hondzel, 2013; Levenson, 2013
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Passing control to learners Adams, 2013; Daskolia et al., 2012; Liu & Lin,
2014; Shen, 2014
Promoting learner-considerate and inclusive Daskolia et al., 2012; Hondzel, 2013; Levenson,
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environments 2013; Shen, 2014


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Fostering collaboration Alsahou, 2015; Daskolia et al., 2012; Hondzel, 2013;


Levenson, 2013
Fostering positive relationships Adams, 2013; Hondzel, 2013; Levenson, 2013; Shen,
2014
Offering authentic experiences Daskolia et al., 2012; Hondzel, 2013
Offering feedback Alsahou, 2015; Shen, 2014

The two most frequent strategies found were those related to teaching divergent thinking and
facilitating active learning, whereas less emphasized approaches included offering authentic

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experiences and feedback. Despite the several strategies cited by teachers also present in the
literature (Lin, 2011), individual teacher groups across the studies had limited
conceptualizations of creativity-fostering practices.
Quantitative surveys also highlighted that though teachers were aware of a number of
strategies to promote students’ creativity, several aspects of teaching for creativity were
overlooked, while others were overemphasized. Also, teachers often identified non-creativity

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fostering activities and conditions as creativity-fostering ones or vice versa. For example,
more than half of the sample of primary US teachers in a study conducted by Aish (2014)

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supported open-ended assignments in promoting creativity, but also overemphasized the role
of art, music and drama activities in teaching for creativity. A considerable number of US

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primary music teachers perceived collaboration, freedom to choose the mode of presentation
and parameters with at least one given musical element as learning activities that promote
creative thinking, but believed that the noisy environment had a negative effect on students’

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creative thinking (Fairfield, 2010). Greek primary PE teachers emphasized intrinsic
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motivation, autonomy, independence, whereas collaboration and divergent thinking were
supported by only half of the participants (Konstantinidou et al., 2014). Stone (2015) found
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that art teachers stressed the use of questioning and encouraging risk-taking, but overlooked
the importance of feedback. In Shaheen (2011), Pakistani primary teachers supported all
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strategies in the questionnaire as creativity-fostering, even if many did not directly promote
creativity. Two correlational studies investigating teachers’ beliefs about the characteristics
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of the tasks that promote creativity conducted in the subject-area of mathematics found that
teachers had difficulties in recognizing tasks that occasion mathematical creativity (Dickman,
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2014; Newton & Newton, 2010b).


Finally, studies focusing on the cross-cultural comparison of teachers’ views
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regarding teaching for creativity highlighted several differences between how teachers in
different countries view creativity-fostering activities (Hartley & Plucker, 2014; Hong &
AC

Kang, 2010). For example, Hong and Kang (2010) found that South Korean teachers
emphasized divergent thinking and peer interactions whereas US teachers highlighted
environmental and emotional support. Hong and Kang (2010) revealed that Chinese primary
science teachers considered routine and fun activities to contribute more to student creativity,
than did their American counterparts.

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3.1.3.3. Beliefs about the enablers’ and barriers to fostering creativity in the
classroom – ‘Yes I would, if I could’

20 studies focused on the enablers of and barriers to fostering creativity as perceived by in-
service K-12 teachers. 19 studies used open-ended questionnaire questions or qualitative data
collection to explore educators’ views on the topic. These studies revealed a range of factors
which were considered by teachers as either barriers to and/or facilitators of fostering

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students’ creativity in the classroom at the levels of the specific context, individual teachers,
students and parents. (See Table 4).

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[Insert Table 6 near here]

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Table 6: Common perceived barriers and enablers to fostering creativity in the reviewed
literature based on qualitative data

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Barriers Studies
Context-level barriers
Lack of time (11) Aish, 2014; Al-Nouh et al., 2014; Alsahou, 2015; Cheng,
2010; Fairfield, 2010; Frawley, 2014; Hondzel, 2013; Hong
& Kang, 2010; Kampylis, Saariluoma, & Berki, 2011; K.
A. Scott, 2015; Shaheen, 2011; Zhou et al. (2013)
Overloaded curriculum (9) Aish, 2014; Al-Nouh et al., 2014; Alsahou, 2015; Cachia &
Ferrari, 2010; Cheng, 2010; Fairfield, 2010; Kampylis et
al., 2011; K. A. Scott, 2015; Shaheen, 2011
Exams, standardized tests (8) Aish, 2014; Al-Nouh et al., 2014; Fairfield, 2010; Hondzel,
2013; Hong & Kang, 2010; Olivant, 2015; K. A. Scott,

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2015; Shaheen, 2011
Inadequate materials, resources, facilities (8) Al-Nouh et al., 2014; Alsahou, 2015; Cheng, 2010;
Fairfield, 2010; Hondzel, 2013; Kampylis et al., 2011; K.

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A. Scott, 2015; Shaheen, 2011
ICT (2) Hartley & Plucker, 2014; K. A. Scott, 2015
Large class sizes (3) Hong & Kang, 2010; Kampylis et al., 2011; Shaheen, 2011
Unsupportive school culture (6) Alsahou, 2015; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Cheng, 2010;

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Fairfield, 2010; Kampylis et al., 2011; K. A. Scott, 2015
Unsupportive social culture (3) Hong & Kang, 2010; Kampylis et al., 2011; Shaheen, 2011

Teacher-level barriers

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External
Lack of training (9) Aish, 2014; Al-Nouh et al., 2014; Alsahou, 2015; Cachia &
Ferrari, 2010; Cheng, 2010; Fairfield, 2010; Kampylis et
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al., 2011; Shaheen, 2011; Snell, 2013
Heavy workload (4) Alsahou, 2015; Cheng, 2010; Kampylis et al., 2011;
Shaheen, 2011
Lack of freedom and autonomy (2) Alsahou, 2015; Hong & Kang, 2010
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Challenges of assessing creativity (8) Alsahou, 2015; Cheng, 2010; Hong & Kang, 2010;
Kampylis et al., 2011; Konstantinidou et al., 2014; K. A.
Scott, 2015; Shaheen, 2011; Tomasevic & Trivic, 2014
Internal
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Challenges of teaching creativity skills (5) Cheng, 2010; Fairfield, 2010; Hong & Kang, 2010;
Shaheen, 2011; Snell, 2013
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Traditional teaching methods (5) Al-Nouh et al., 2014; Cheng, 2010; Fairfield, 2010; K. A.
Scott, 2015; Shaheen, 2011
Lack of knowledge about creativity (2) Alsahou, 2015; Hong & Kang, 2010
Student-level barriers
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Individual differences between students (3) Cheng, 2010; Frawley, 2014; Shaheen, 2011

Lack of engagement (3) Cheng, 2010; Shaheen, 2011; Snell, 2013


Parent-level barriers
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Negative attitude and lack of support (4) Alsahou, 2015; Cheng, 2010; Fairfield, 2010; Shaheen,
2011
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Enablers
Context-level enablers
Curriculum (4) Adams, 2013; K. A. Scott, 2015; Shen, 2014; Tomasevic &
Trivic, 2014
ICT (6) Adams, 2013; Alsahou, 2015; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; K.
A. Scott, 2015; Shen, 2014; Tomasevic & Trivic, 2014
School culture Adams, 2013; Hondzel, 2013
Teacher-level enablers
Teachers’ attitudes, knowledge, skills (2) Merriman, 2015; K. A. Scott, 2015
Student-level enablers
Students attitudes, knowledge and skills (2) Adams, 2013; Alsahou, 2015
Parent-level enablers
Parental attitude and support (2) Adams, 2013; Hondzel, 2013

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Barriers most frequently cited in the reviewed literature were lack of time, lack of
training, overloaded curriculum, inadequate resources, standardized tests and difficulties in
assessing creativity. At the level of teacher-related barriers, educators perceived more
external than internal factors to hinder creativity. Furthermore, findings across the studies
suggested that teachers perceived considerably fewer enablers to nurturing creativity in the
classroom than barriers. Most frequently reported perceived facilitators were the integration

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of ICT and the curriculum. It is noteworthy, that while certain factors, such as ICT or the
curriculum, were considered barriers by certain samples, they were perceived as facilitators

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by others, suggesting that despite the several overarching themes, views on the facilitating
and hindering factors of creativity are deeply rooted in the specific contexts of educators.

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Cross-cultural similarities and differences in educators’ perceptions of the barriers of
fostering were also directly investigated in two studies. Zhou et al. (2013) found that German
teachers considered work pressure, resources and discipline as most important creativity-

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hindering factors, whereas for Japanese teachers it was the evaluation systems both for
AN
students and teachers. Also, Hong and Kang (2010) found that in addition to overloaded
curriculum, class size and the assessment of creativity, which were viewed by both American
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and South Korean teachers as barriers to promoting creativity South Korean teachers also
mentioned the lack of teachers’ own experience with and knowledge about creativity and
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pressure for student achievement, suggesting further cross-cultural differences.


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3.2. What is known about the relationship between teachers’ beliefs about creativity and
classroom practice?
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Despite the large number of studies focusing on teachers’ creativity-related views found in
the current empirical literature, exploring the relationships between teachers’ beliefs about
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creativity and instructional practices has been the focus of a relatively small number of
studies (n=19). Some of these investigated the direct relationship between teachers’ espoused
AC

beliefs and enacted practice triangulating the data collected from questionnaires, interviews,
documents with those obtained through classroom observation. Another group of studies
revealed associations between teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding creativity indirectly
either by comparing teachers’ perspectives with those of other participants’, such as students
or professional colleagues or by relying exclusively on teachers’ self-reports.

3.2.1. Relationship between teachers’ espoused beliefs and enacted classroom practices

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Seven studies included in the present review compared the direct relationship between
teachers’ espoused beliefs about creativity and their enacted classroom practices. Adams
(2013) showed that teachers’ definitions of and experiences with creativity had an impact on
teaching creativity skills. In her multi-case study conducted in a school district from
Pennsylvania, primary teachers provided examples of classroom practices which were in
alignment with how these teachers defined creativity: those who viewed creativity as thinking

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outside the box offered lesson examples in which students were asked to generate unique
solutions, whereas those who argued that creativity involved the application of knowledge

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required students to create or build a product. The same consistency between views and
practices was found by Lasky and Yoon (2011) in their grounded theory study set in the US

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which investigated teachers’ assumptions about creativity in the context of an engineering
design project. Lasky and Yoon (2011) showed that teachers’ views, both those aligned with
creativity research and those based on misconceptions, were evident in teachers’ classroom

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practices, contributing to either the encouragement of creativity or its suppression.
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Other studies highlighted inconsistencies between teachers’ beliefs, perceptions and
practices concerning creativity. For example in his multi-case study involving primary school
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science teachers and students from Kuwait, Alsahou (2015) found various levels of
creativity-fostering beliefs, and lack of creativity-fostering practices, across the eight cases he
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examined. Similarly, Lev-Zamir and Leikin (2013), in their phenomenological study


examining two mathematics teachers’ creativity beliefs in Israel, noted that that although the
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teachers’ declarative conceptions of creativity in mathematics were similar, their


conceptions-in-action showed significant differences. In his grounded theory study focusing
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on English language teachers’ understanding of creativity in the context of primary education


in Kuwait, Alkhars (2013) found several similarities and differences between how
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participants viewed creativity in the interviews, and how they acted it in the classroom.
Additional studies highlighted a mismatch between positive self-reported views and
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classroom practice regarding the encouragement of creativity. In a mixed method study


focusing on teachers’ creativity beliefs in science, Meyer and Lederman (2013) pointed out
that secondary science teachers valued creativity and claimed to encourage it in the
classroom, but they demonstrated misconceptions about the nature and efficacy of certain
activities in promoting scientific creativity in their practice. Further misalignment between
teachers’ positive creativity views and classroom practices were revealed by Shaheen (2011)
in an explanatory mixed method study conducted in Pakistani primary education settings.
Primary teachers in the study outlined several methods for encouraging students’ creativity in
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their survey responses. Observational findings showed, however, that these methods were
completely absent from the classroom instruction during which teachers emphasized rote
memorization rather than creativity. Furthermore, many teachers claimed that textbooks
promote creativity, nevertheless the analysis of these concluded that the contents of these
focused primarily on knowledge acquisition.

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3.2.2. Teachers’ and non-teachers’ self-reported beliefs in relation to classroom practice
Three studies focused on comparing in-service teachers’ self-reported creativity views with

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the perspectives of other participants, such as students, principals and domain professionals.
Investigating teachers’ and students’ perceptions of the creative climate in the English

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secondary design and technology classroom in the UK, McLellan and Nicholl (2012)
revealed several differences. While students felt that their task lacked challenge, were often
asked to do meaningless work, had limited freedom, and needed more support to realize their

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ideas, many teachers felt quite the opposite. For example, few teachers acknowledged that the
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work they set was unchallenging and some did not see the necessity of setting real-life
meaningful tasks. Also, few recognized the contradiction between indicating that they
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granted students freedom and affirming to control learning outcomes or simply not allowing
students enough time for exploration and risk-taking. Misalignment between teachers’ and
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students’ views were also highlighted by Hartley (2015), who, in her study sampling
elementary science teachers and their students in China, found a statistically significant
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difference between teachers’ perception of how they encouraged primary students’ mini-c
creativity and their students’ creative self-efficacy beliefs in science. According to Hartley
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(2015), teachers’ positive perceptions of creativity-fostering practices and lower student self-
efficacy scores suggested that educators might have overestimated the extent to which they
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promoted creativity in the classroom. Investigating how primary mathematics teachers,


mathematicians, and psychologists working in mathematics education conceive creativity,
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Dickman (2014) found that there was no intra-group agreement among teachers with regard
to what constitutes a creative multiplication problem, whereas intragroup agreement was
found among psychologists who worked in mathematics education, and poor agreement in
case of mathematicians.

3.2.3. Teachers’ self-reported creativity beliefs and their implications for classroom
practice

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There were nine studies that uncovered the associations between teachers’ beliefs and
practices regarding creativity based on teachers self-reports. These studies all revealed
inconsistencies or inadequacies in teachers’ self-reported beliefs about the encouragement of
creativity. For example, in a case study examining Kuwaiti EFL teachers attitudes and
perceptions of practice regarding creative thinking, Al-Nouh et al. (2014), found that while
most teachers had positive attitudes towards creativity and strong perceptions of encouraging

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it, some of them perceived non-creativity-fostering EFL activities as creative ones.
Examining primary teachers’ conceptions of scientific creativity Newton and Newton

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(2010b) found that some teachers did not have clear conceptions of what scientifically
creative thought was, and could not distinguish between creative and reproductive activities.

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Furthermore, in a survey study conducted by Zbainos and Anastasopoulou (2012), Greek
music teachers expressed high levels of self-efficacy in teaching and assessing creativity-
fostering music activities, nevertheless many of them perceived non-creative activities as

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creative, also having vague ideas about how to assess students’ creativity in music.
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Four survey studies (Aish, 2014; Cachia & Ferrari, 2010; Fairfield, 2010;
Konstantinidou et al., 2014) reported that though teachers held positive views about creativity
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and had high perceptions of fostering it, they did not support a number of classroom activities
that could encourage students’ creative expression. A correlational study aimed at
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investigating US teachers’ implicit conceptions of creativity showed that though teachers


held positive beliefs about creativity and felt capable of nurturing students’ creative potential,
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they perceived low levels of environmental encouragement, suggesting that they might not
feel able to foster creativity in their current environment (DaVia Rubenstein et al., 2013).
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Finally, in two survey studies many teachers claimed to foster student’ creativity, but
did not provide examples of activities when prompted to do so (Al-Nouh et al., 2014;
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Tomasevic & Trivic, 2014), which might indicate a lack of time or interest towards
completing the survey. It may, however, also signal a lack of knowledge about strategies that
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encourage creativity in education.

3.3. Is there evidence in the literature about any factors that influence teachers’ creativity
beliefs?
The empirical research between 2010-2015 reviewed in the present study suggested that
teachers’ beliefs about creativity might be influenced by several factors. In a number of
studies, teachers’ views about creativity seemed to vary along their demographic,

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professional and personal characteristics. Other studies examined teachers’ beliefs in relation
to students’ characteristics. Finally, the specific context has also been found to influence
teachers’ views concerning creativity. These groups of variables were termed teacher-related,
student-related and context-related factors, and together they constitute the framework for
synthesizing research findings relevant to our third research question.

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3.3.1. Teacher-related factors
22 studies examined the relationship between teachers’ characteristics and their views on

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creativity. Researchers explored variables, such as gender, age, years of teaching experience,
educational background, training and experience in creative pedagogy, competency,

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personality. Findings are synthesized in Table 7.
[Insert Table 7 near here]

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

Table 7: Overview of the teacher-related factors and their effect on teachers’ beliefs about creativity
Factor/Effect Studies N Measure Findings
Teachers’ gender

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Cachia and Ferrari (2010) 7566 d European male teachers tended to hold more views misaligned with recent creativity research
(5848 female, 1727 male) than female teachers.

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Leikin et al. (2013) 1890 va Indian male mathematics teachers expressed more positive views about creativity compared to
(254 India; 97 female, 169 Indian female teachers.

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male)
S. Chan and Yuen (2014) 399 va Hong Kong primary school teachers’ perceptions of their own level of creativity were

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(331 female, 68 male) moderated by gender.

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Snell (2013) 310 va American male music teachers reported greater comfort teaching creativity-relevant standards
(159 female, 151 male) than female teachers.
Hondzel (2013) 22 cr US primary teachers reported high levels of creativity-fostering behaviours, regardless of their

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(18 female, 4 male) gender.

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Teachers’ age
Al-Nouh et al. (2014) 434 va Younger primary EFL teachers from Kuwait (between 21-30) were most interested in

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(174 aged 21-30, 224 aged promoting creative thinking in the classroom, whereas teachers older than 40 were the least.
31-40; 36 aged 41+)
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Cachia and Ferrari (2010) 7635 d Younger European teachers (under 25) were most interested in promoting creativity.
(91 aged <25, 1519 aged
25-36, 2723 aged 36-46,
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2653 aged 46-55, 649 aged


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55+)
≈ S. Chan and Yuen (2014) 399 va Hong Kong primary school teachers’ beliefs about their own levels of creativity were
(5 aged < 25, 245 aged 26- moderated by age. No age-related difference in teachers’ beliefs about the nature of creativity
40; 149 aged 41-60)
or its nurture were found.
Al-Nouh et al. (2014) 434 va No age-related differences in Kuwaiti primary EFL teachers’ beliefs about their own

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

(174 aged 21-30, 224 aged creativity-fostering practices were found.


31-40; 36 aged 41+)
Teacher’s years of experience
Al-Nouh et al. (2014) 431 va Less experienced Kuwaiti primary EFL teachers were found to have significantly more

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(143 with <5 years, 218 positive attitudes to creative thinking and perceived themselves to be fostering creative
with 6-10 years, 70 with
thinking more.

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11+)
Cachia and Ferrari (2010) 7640 d Less experienced European teachers were found to be more willing to foster creativity.

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(47 with <1 years, 605 with
1-4 years, 1551 with 5-10
years, 2562 with 10-20

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years, 2875 with 20+)

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Zbainos and 112 va Less experienced Greek music teachers perceived themselves to be fostering creative thinking
Anastasopoulou (2012) (no details) more.

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S. Chan and Yuen (2014) 399 va More years of teaching experience impacted Hong Kong primary school teachers’ beliefs
(no details) about their own level of creativity and showed a positive effect on Hong Kong primary school

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teachers’ creativity beliefs.
Snell (2013) 311 va More years of teaching experience showed a significant positive effect on American music

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(50 with < 5 years, 51 with teachers’ beliefs of their own creativity-fostering beliefs.
6-10 years, 61 with 11-15
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years, 46 with 16-20 years,
39 with 21-25 years, 64
with 25+)
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Alkhars (2013) 75 d Teachers with different years of experience had different perceptions of the enablers and
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(6 with <1 years, 25 with 2- barriers of fostering creativity.


5 years, 27 with 6-10 years,
10 with 11-15 years, 6 with
16-20 years, 1 with 21+)

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

Aish (2014) 117 cr There was no relationship found between US primary teachers’ years of experience and beliefs
(2 with1-5 years, 6 with 6- about the nature of creativity.
10 years, 42 with 11-15
years, 38 with 16-20 years,

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39 with 21+)
Fairfield (2010) 278 cr There was no relationship found between US primary music teachers’ years of experience and

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(133 with 0-10 years, 76 beliefs about its fostering.
with 11-20 years, 45 with

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21-30 years, 24 with 31+)

Stone (2015) 90 cr There was no relationship between US art teachers’ years of experience and beliefs about the
(20 with1-9 years, 29 with nature of creativity.

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10-19 years, 27 with 20-29

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years, 14 with 30-40 years,
1 with 40+)
27 d, ca There was no relationship between UK teachers’ years of experience and beliefs about the

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Turner (2013) (27 teachers and 20 trainee nature of creativity.
teachers)

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Teacher’s educational background

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Al-Nouh et al. (2014) 433 va EFL teachers from Kuwait majoring in Primary Education had significantly more positive
(253 majoring in primary attitudes to creativity than those specializing in Middle or High School English, whereas
education, 24 in middle or
teachers majoring in General English had the most positive attitudes
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high school English, 146 in
general English)
Fairfield (2010) 283 cr American primary-school music teachers trained in Orff Schulwerk and World Music
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Drumming considered themselves better at promoting creativity in the music classroom, and
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(trained in Orff, Kodály,


Orff Schulwerk trained teachers were most committed to facilitating creative thinking.
WMD, Dalcroze, TI:ME,

Gordon and other methods)

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Zbainos and 112 va Greek music teachers with no instrument degree tended to include less creativity-relevant
Anastasopoulou (2012) (no details on background) tasks (composition) than teachers having a degree in a musical instrument
S. Chan and Yuen (2014) 399 va No relationship between Hong Kong teachers’ creativity related views and educational

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(no details on background) background.
Lasky and Yoon (2011) 4 i No relationship between teachers’ US primary science and engineering teachers’ creativity

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(BA in architecture, BA in beliefs and educational background was found.
Art, BA in accounting, PhD
in engineering)

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Leikin et al. (2013) 1036 cr No relationship between mathematics teachers’ creativity beliefs and educational background
(BA/BSc 556, MA/MSc across six countries.

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425, PhD 55)

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Stone (2015) 92 cr No relationship between US art teachers’ creativity related views and educational background.
(BA 12, beyond BA 4, MA
63, beyond MA 13)

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Teachers’ training and experience in creative pedagogy
Al-Nouh et al. (2014) 432 va Regardless of their participation in creativity in-service training primary EFL teachers from

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(143 received in-service Kuwait had the same positive attitudes about creativity, however, those with in-service

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training)
training experience perceived themselves fostering creative thinking more.
Levenson (2015) 1 ca, i The Israeli mathematics teacher participating in creativity training had adequate views about
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mathematical creativity by the end of the training.
≈ Cachia and Ferrari (2010) 7650 d Teachers across Europe who received training on creativity were found to have views
(no details on creativity considerably more consistent with recent creativity research in the areas of the domain
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training)
knowledge base, distribution, and malleability, however no differences were found between
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trained and non-trained teachers’ beliefs in the area of specificity, many from both groups
confining creativity to the art-domain

≈ S. Chan and Yuen (2014) 399 va Hong Kong primary teachers, trained in creativity and active in gifted education scored

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

(83 trained and active in slightly but significantly higher on creativity beliefs, creative personality, and creativity-
gifted education)
fostering behaviour, than mainstream teachers; however comparing teachers’ responses based
on gifted and non-gifted educational background, showed no significant differences.

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Teachers’ competency
Henriksen and Mishra 8 i Exemplary teachers from the US conceptualized creativity consistent with the existing

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(2015) literature and reported a rich repertoire of teaching strategies to promote it.
Merriman (2015) 4 i US Pro-C level educators conceptualized creativity consistent with the existing literature and

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reported a rich repertoire of teaching strategies to promote it
K. A. Scott (2015) 8 i Expert teachers’ conceptualized creativity consistent with the existing literature, and reported

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a rich repertoire of teaching strategies to promote it

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Teachers’ own creativity
S. Chan and Yuen (2014) 399 va Hong Kong teachers’ creative personality predicted their creativity-fostering behaviours
DaVia Rubenstein et al. 308 (study 1) va Teachers’ perceptions of their own creativity and their creativity-fostering self-efficacy were

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(2013) 366 (study 2) highly correlated.

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Grade level taught

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Cachia and Ferrari (2010) 7650 d Primary teachers had more positive creativity fostering perceptions and were more likely to
(no details on grade level recognize the role of creativity in the curriculum.
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taught)
Frawley (2014) 6 i Differences in teachers’ attitudes based on year levels were identified, with creative writing
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(teaching both lower and being more valued in the lower years of high school.
higher secondary grades)
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Tanggaard (2011) 14 i Primary and secondary teachers expressed different interpretations of creativity, the first
(no details on grade level emphasizing the aesthetic, whereas the latter the problem-solving aspects of creativity.
taught)

Turner (2013) 27 d, ca Primary teachers acknowledged the positive impact of creativity in their teaching more.

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

(16 primary, 11 secondary) Teachers in the study also associated different creativity-related teaching styles for different
grade levels.
Subjects taught

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Beghetto et al. (2011) 17 teachers va Primary school teachers did not make subject-specific distinctions in the domains of
(teaching both maths and mathematics and science when rating their students’ creativity, whereas students tended to

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science)
distinguish in their creative self-efficacy judgements.
306 students

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Cachia and Ferrari (2010) 7650 d Most positive views on creativity were held by drama teachers whereas the least positive were
(teaching 37 subjects) held by those teaching ICT, though attitudes were overall positive. Art teachers in the study
had biased opinions about whether or not creativity belongs to the realm of arts.

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Note. Effect: -effect, - no effect, ≈ - mixed results; Measures: ca=content analysis, cr=correlation, d=descriptive statistics, r=regression analysis, i=interview,
va=variance analysis

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C EP
AC

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3.3.2. Student-related factors


12 studies sought to determine teachers’ creativity-related views in relation to student
characteristics. Student factors found to be associated with teachers’ views were gender, race
and ethnicity, age and grade level, personal traits, school effectiveness and abilities. Findings
on these are presented in Table 8.

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[Insert Table 8 near here]

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C EP
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Table 8: Overview of the student-related factors and their effect on teachers’ beliefs about creativity
Factor/Effect Studies N Measure Findings
Students’ gender

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Gralewski and Karwowski 178 teachers r Only in the case of male students could Polish secondary school teachers reliably predict
(2013) 589 students students’ creativity.

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≈ Beghetto et al. (2011) 33 teachers r In the first study, US primary teachers in the context of science tended to rate white and
595 students female students as more creative than non-white and male students, whereas in the second

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(study 1) study teachers’ ratings in the context of maths and science were not moderated by gender.
17 teachers

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306 students

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(study 2)
≈ Urhahne (2011) 8 teachers r German primary teachers’ judgements of their students’ creativity were not correlated with
144 students gender, teachers, however, could not predict that girls were more creative in the applied test

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than boys.

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Hartley (2015) 60 teachers r No statistically significant relationship was found between Chinese primary teachers’
3623 students creativity ratings in the domain of science and students’ gender.

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Students’ race and ethnicity
≈ Beghetto et al. (2011) 33 teachers r US primary teachers’ ratings in the domain of science were slightly biased towards white
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595 students and female students and against non-white and male students in the first study conducted,
(study 1) whereas in the second teachers’ ratings in the domain of maths and science were not
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17 teachers moderated by students’ race.


AC

306 students
(study 2)
Hartley (2015) 60 teachers r Chinese primary teachers’ ratings in the domain of science were negatively related to Han
3623 students students.
Students’ age and grade level

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TEACHERS’ BELIEFS ABOUT CREATIVITY AND ITS NURTURE

Hartley (2015) 60 teachers r Grade level played a significant, yet modest role in Chinese primary teachers' perceptions of
3623 students their students’ creative expression in the domain of science.
Urhahne (2011) 8 teachers r German primary teachers’ judgements of students’ creativity were correlated with age,

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144 students teachers rating younger students as more creative
Beghetto et al. (2011) 33 teachers r US primary teachers did not tend to rate creativity in the domains of maths and science

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595 students differently by grade level.
(study 1)

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17 teachers
306 students
(study 2)

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Students’ personal traits, school effectiveness and abilities

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Gralewski and Karwowski 178 teachers r Polish secondary teachers more frequently considered students who were efficient at school
(2013) 589 students to be creative, rather than those who actually were.

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≈ Karwowski (2010) 590 teachers va Profiles of creative and good students were found to be relatively distinct, but partially
overlapping

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≈ Hong and Kang (2010 65 teachers d While some South Korean and US secondary science teachers considered academic

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achievement and creativity unrelated, others thought that the two partially overlapped.
Hoff and Carlsson (2011). 7 teachers cr Swedish primary students rated high by their teachers on achievement level, cooperation
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61 students ability, psychological well-being and self-confidence were also rated high on creativity.
Urhahne (2011) 8 teachers r German primary teachers’ judgements of students’ creativity were highly correlated with
144 students student ability.
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Pavlović et al. (2013) 144 teachers ca Serbian teachers identified the characteristics of good students as indicators of creative
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students rather than those of creative ones.


Shaheen (2011) 1008 teachers d Pakistani primary teachers identified the characteristics of good students as indicators of
creative students rather than those of creative ones.
Zhou et al. (2013) 515 teachers va Chinese, German and Japanese teachers saw creativity unrelated to academic performance

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Note. Effect: -effect, - no effect, ≈ - mixed results; Measures: ca=content analysis, cr=correlation, d=descriptive statistics, r=regression analysis, i=interviews,
va=variance analysis

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3.3.3. Context-related factors


Five studies addressed the environmental factors affecting teachers’ beliefs about creativity
(See Table 9). Four studies examined teachers’ creativity belief across different countries, all
revealing several culture-specific differences while only one study addressed context-related
factors other than those culture-specific.

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Findings of these studies are presented in Table 9.

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[Insert Table 9 near here]

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Table 9: Overview of the context-related factors and their effect on teachers’ beliefs about creativity
Factor/Effect Studies N Measure Findings
Culture

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Hartley and Plucker (2014) 102 va Chinese teachers generally showed a better understanding of the role of fun activities in the
(China 51, US 51) promotion of creativity than their American counterparts as a result of the recent emphasis

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on creativity education in China.
Hong and Kang (2010) 65 d South Korean science teachers emphasized ethicality as an important criterion for creativity

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(South Korea 44, US 21) more than American teachers, explained by the collectivist nature of Asian culture
Leikin et al. (2013) 1089 va Romanian mathematics teachers held the most positive and adequate creativity beliefs,

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(Cyprus 101, India 254, which could be due to the high value placed on the development of mathematical excellence

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Israel 182, Latvia 59,
in the country. Teachers from India and Mexico reported more positive associations between
Mexico 65, Romania 418)
creativity and culture, explained by the unique cultural traditions of the two countries.

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Zhou et al. (2013) 515 va Chinese educators associated maths with the exhibition of creativity the most, while German
(China 326, Germany 139, and Japanese teachers with literature. Chinese teachers did not think that creativity could

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Japan 50)
manifest in literature since literature in China is seen more as a combination of facts and as

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such against the nature of creativity. Chinese and German teachers also perceived different
enablers and barriers to creativity.
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Other context-related factors
Al-Nouh et al. (2014) 431 va Kuwaiti primary EFL teachers from various areas and educational zones had different
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(teachers from six various attitudes towards creative thinking. Teachers coming from an educational zone with modern
educational zones)
schools and with educated and affluent parent communities had more positive attitudes
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towards creative thinking than teachers from other more disadvantaged zones. Similar
differences between teachers’ views from rural and urban areas were also revealed.

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Note. Effect: -effect, - no effect, ≈ - mixed results; Measures: ca=content analysis, cr=correlation, d=descriptive statistics, r=regression analysis, i=interviews,
va=variance analysis

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4. Discussion
In this article, we reviewed K-12 in-service teachers’ beliefs about creativity in the recent
empirical research. A systematic literature review was conducted yielding 53 studies that met
the inclusion criteria. These were synthesized based on the framework of teachers’ beliefs
about creativity proposed by Andiliou and Murphy (2010), which we updated with newly

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emerging themes from the post-2010 literature (See Figure 4). Subsequently, we carried out
an in-depth analysis of the relationships between teachers’ espoused beliefs and enacted

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practices. Finally, we identified several factors that might influence teachers’ creativity-
related views.

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4. 1. Limitations of the research reviewed
Overall, the recent evidence base on teachers’ beliefs about creativity and its nurture is

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considerable, the topic having attracted growing attention worldwide. Yet studies are of
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variable quality with some apparent weaknesses, notably uneven and limited investigation
contexts, unstated or less adequate theoretical framing, less appropriate research design, and
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restricted data collection.


As a whole, the database reviewed is uneven and limited from several contextual
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perspectives. Though research was conducted worldwide, a significant number of studies,


namely 15, address the US context. Five studies are from China and Greece, four from the
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UK and Israel, with more authored or co-authored by the same researchers or even involving
the same samples. It is noteworthy though that, while scarcer, studies also emanate from a
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further ten countries, signaling an increasing global interest. Also, there is a preponderance of
studies conducted in primary school settings. The evidence base on secondary teachers’ views
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is more limited, which might convey to stakeholders the message that creativity has no
relevance for higher levels. Further imbalance in the reviewed literature was found with
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respect to the study of educators’ domain-specific views. More than half of the studies
explore teachers’ domain-specific beliefs about creativity in a wide range of subject areas,
while the rest focus on domain-general contexts. Surprisingly, domain-specific beliefs are
extensively explored in mathematics and science, with considerably fewer studies in other
areas. Furthermore, many studies recruiting teachers from different phases of education and
subject specializations disregard the comparison of views based on these variables, while
others omit to specify grade levels and the subjects taught by the participants, treating

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primary, middle and secondary educators of different subjects as a homogenous group. Also,
teachers included in the samples vary along several individual variables, the exploration of
views based on these is, nevertheless, rare. Finally, the reviewed studies mainly focus on
cross-cultural comparisons, yet it has been shown that several further external factors, such as
national and district policies, curriculum and teaching materials, school culture, reaction from
parents and students can shape teachers’ beliefs (Fives & Buehl, 2012; Pajares, 1992;

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Richardson, 1996). Recent literature thus seems to emphasize teachers’ general beliefs about
creativity, and provides less evidence on those specific beliefs activated by various individual

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factors and the contexts in which teaching and learning take place.
As for the theoretical framing, much of the research conducted after 2010 is based on

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current theories of creativity. Still, there are a number of studies offering vague or outdated
conceptualizations, and thus their findings are difficult to relate to the rest of the literature.
Furthermore, the inconsistency of the use of belief terms and the lack of operational

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definitions renders the interpretation of research findings more difficult.
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In terms of methodological quality, the divergence of approaches, methods,
instruments and sample sizes posed serious challenges to synthesizing results. Included
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studies are either larger-scale quantitative surveys or smaller qualitative and mixed studies,
both having distinctive strengths and drawbacks in the context of studying teachers’ beliefs
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about creativity. Larger-scale quantitative studies may yield more generalizable results,
however, none of the samples in the reviewed research is truly representative. Small-scale
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qualitative and mixed studies offer more in-depth data about teachers’ beliefs concerning
creativity, however, it is not known how these relate more widely, especially with studies
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focusing on very few teachers (eg. Lev-Zamir & Leikin, 2013; Levenson, 2015) . Another
limitation identified is that most studies are cross-sectional with only a few applying
longitudinal designs (Adams, 2013; Levenson, 2015; Levenson & Gal, 2013), thus recent
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research fails to provide sufficient evidence on educators’ changing perspectives.


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As for the methods used, researchers rely primarily on self-reported measures as proxy
for teachers’ enacted behaviours, with only a handful of studies investigating the direct link
between teachers’ espoused beliefs and classroom practices. Inferences made on grounds of
self-reports only is nevertheless highly questionable (Pajares, 1992).
Despite these limitations, the included studies provide a sufficient body of evidence to
answer the questions posed by this review and to highlight implications for future research
and practice.

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4. 2. Teachers beliefs about creativity in the recent literature
The first research question concerned the evidence-base on teachers’ beliefs about creativity
in the light of recent empirical literature. Our review found that researchers investigated
educators’ creativity-related views along three strands or foci: teachers’ beliefs about the
nature of creativity, creative individuals and creativity-fostering classroom environments.
Teachers beliefs about creative teachers and teaching creatively were two emergent themes in

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the literature after 2010.

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Figure 4. Teachers’ beliefs about creativity: An updated conceptual framework
[Insert Figure 4 near here]

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With respect to the nature of creativity, recent evidence-base suggests that in line with
current creativity research, teachers generally endorse a democratic view of creativity and

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support the idea that creativity can be nurtured. Nevertheless, findings also highlight that
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teachers in particular settings hold opposing beliefs (Myhill & Wilson, 2013; Pavlović et al.,
2013; Zbainos & Anastasopoulou, 2012) which may arise from several contextual factors, for
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example the deficit of creativity training in initial teacher education and the lack of available
professional development courses and resources (Pavlović et al., 2013; Zbainos &
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Anastasopoulou, 2012), or the difficulties of conceptualizing creativity in highly specific


areas, such as student poetry writing (Myhill & Wilson, 2013). Also, teachers across recent
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studies generally agree that creativity can manifest in any domain, however, some of them are
slightly biased towards art-related subjects in Western cultural contexts (Cachia & Ferrari,
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2010) and towards science in Eastern settings (Zhou et al., 2013). It is also important to note
that teachers widely acknowledge the role of creativity in their own subjects as highlighted by
several subject-specific investigations. Overall, a growing recognition of creativity inherent in
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every subject is evident in recent studies as compared to the literature before 2010 synthetized
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Andiliou and Murphy (2010), which might further the implementation of creativity across all
areas of the curriculum.
Unfortunately, reviewed studies on educators’ beliefs about the nature of creativity
highlight that, regardless of the cultural context, originality and value as joint requirements
for creativity are rarely recognized by teachers, who continue to mostly emphasize the
originality aspect of creativity, a trend also highlighted in studies conducted before 2010
(Andiliou & Murphy, 2010). Seeing creativity as a form of originality minimizes the
importance of skills and knowledge in the creative production, leading to an environment in

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which creativity competes with academic learning instead of supporting it (Beghetto et al.,
2014). It is noteworthy, though, that the idea that creativity requires both originality and value
is supported by highly-accomplished expert teachers (Henriksen & Mishra, 2015; K. A. Scott,
2015), who thus might play an important role in promoting research grounded beliefs among
educational stakeholders, as suggested by Mullet et al. (2016).
Findings with respect to creative students show that researchers’ and teachers’

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conceptualization of the profile of creative student differ in many aspects, and teachers often
have limited, vague and mixed ideas of what characterizes creative students, with several

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variations across the investigation contexts. Also, teachers in recent studies still tend to
identify favourable characteristics as creative (Andiliou & Murphy, 2010), though it has been

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shown that characteristics of creative persons are not always socially desirable (Davis, 2004).
Furthermore, teachers continue to have difficulties in recognizing creative students in the
classroom and are often positively biased towards students with high intellectual abilities and

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school achievement, and good behavior as also shown in the literature before 2010 (Andiliou
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& Murphy, 2010). Thus, it is most likely that student creativity still goes unrecognized in
many classrooms around the world.
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Creative teachers in the studies reviewed are described by educators in terms of


personal characteristics, pedagogical and subject-specific knowledge and skills, again with
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several contextual and cross-cultural variations. Teachers across several studies support the
idea that fostering creativity requires creative teachers, a view also emphasized in the
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literature (Jeffrey & Craft, 2004).


Recent research on teachers’ beliefs concerning classroom environments conducive to
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creativity shows that teachers generally have positive attitudes towards creativity, many
believe that they are capable of fostering creativity and perceive themselves as doing so.
Nevertheless, cross-validation of data collected from other participants and classroom
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observation, if carried out, often highlights incongruence between educators’ espoused beliefs
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and enacted classroom practices, suggesting the implementation of creativity in the classroom
is questionable. In line with creativity research, creative teaching is often seen as inherently
linked to promoting creativity in the classroom and a skill that can be learnt by any teacher
(Lin, 2011). Also, though teachers are aware of several strategies that promote students’
creativity, many aspects of teaching for creativity are overlooked while others
overemphasized. Finally, teachers perceive several barriers, and far fewer enablers, to
fostering creativity in the classroom. Lack of time, overloaded curriculum, lack of training,
standardized tests and difficulties in assessing creativity are the most widely cited barriers in

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recent empirical literature, which are also often seen as hindering factors in creativity
education (Skiba et al., 2010; Sternberg, 2015).

4. 3. The relationship between teachers’ creativity beliefs and enacted classroom practices
The significance of teachers’ beliefs lies in their relationship to enacted classroom practices
and ultimately student outcomes (Fives & Buehl, 2012), which was the focus of our second
research question. While most studies in the reviewed literature suggest some link to

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instructional practice and student outcomes, only a few investigate this connection using data
both from teachers and students, while the majority rely exclusively on data reported by

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teachers.
On the whole, research shows incongruence or varying degrees of congruence

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between teacher’ espoused beliefs and enacted practices. The few studies using classroom
observation to strengthen the validity of teachers’ self-reports suggest that negative beliefs or

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those misaligned with current creativity research are often reflected in teachers’ practices,
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while positive and adequate beliefs rarely translate to creativity-fostering classroom practices.
Studies comparing data collected from teachers and other participants report misalignment
between teachers’ positive perceptions of fostering creativity, and other participants’
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perceptions of these educators’ practice. Finally, evidence based on teachers’ self-reports


shows that positive perceptions of fostering creativity are often paired with insufficient
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knowledge about the ways in which creativity can be nurtured, making the implementation of
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creativity in the classroom unlikely.


The incongruence between teachers’ beliefs and practices may have various reasons,
as outlined by Fives and Buehl (2012). First, while teachers may hold a certain belief, other
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beliefs may influence their actual practices. Unfortunately, included studies focus on teachers’
views on creativity without examining potentially associated beliefs, such as learning,
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intelligence or knowledge etc. Second, the enactment of certain beliefs can be hindered by
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various internal and external factors. It is possible, thus, that teachers’ positive beliefs about
creativity are outweighed by the demands and constraints of the context in which they
manifest, also suggested in the literature (Sternberg, 2015). Third, the incongruence between
beliefs and practice is more frequent with newly formed beliefs or those in transition. The
interest in creativity in mainstream education is relatively recent (Beghetto, 2010), therefore it
is possible that teachers’ conceptualizations of creativity are still in the process of forming.
Fourth, the methodology applied may also contribute to the findings, for example in detailed
analysis inconsistencies in beliefs may occur due to the wealth of data, whereas quantitative

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investigations may obfuscate the complexity of the relationship between beliefs and practice
(Fives & Buehl, 2012). These limitations are rarely addressed in the research reviewed.
Finally, teachers may simply express beliefs they do not hold. This could be especially true
for creativity, since it is socially desirable for teachers to claim they value creativity in the
classroom, even if they do not (Runco & Johnson, 2002; Shaheen, 2011).

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4.4. Factors that influence teachers’ beliefs about creativity
In relation to our third research question, we found that there are a number of factors, both

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internal and external to the teachers, which might influence their beliefs about creativity and
its nurture. For a graphic overview of factors see Figure 4. It is important to note though, that

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few studies examine or report findings on these, thus the evidence is weak in many cases, and
may yield contradictory results.

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Figure 5. Overview of the factors that may influence teachers’ beliefs about creativity.
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[Insert Figure 5 near here]
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Investigating teacher-related factors, we found that training and experience in teaching


for creativity, personal creativity, as well as educational background and overall professional
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competency can positively influence teachers’ beliefs. These results suggest that if teachers
have access to appropriate education about creativity and its nurture, they will develop more
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positive and adequate views, which in turn may lead to more creativity-fostering practices in
schools. Also, it seems that good teaching is inherently related to fostering students’ creative
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capacities (Henriksen & Mishra, 2015; Merriman, 2015; K. A. Scott, 2015), therefore
excellent teachers might play an important role in promoting creativity in schools, their
beliefs and practices thus need to be investigated more extensively. Results on teacher-related
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variables also suggest that primary and secondary teachers’ may have different views
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regarding creativity and their own role in promoting it, with primary teachers holding more
domain free conceptions of creativity, emphasizing its aesthetic aspects, but also expressing
more positive beliefs about creativity and its nurture. These findings resonate well with those
of the research on creativity and curriculum, which found a discontinuity in how creativity is
conceptualized in primary and secondary curricula, and that fostering students’ creativity is
more emphasized in lower grades in many countries (Cachia, Ferrari, Ala-Mutka, & Punie,
2010; Craft, 2005).

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Gender was found to be an important factor affecting teachers’ creativity-beliefs.
Findings suggest that teachers’ views may vary based on their own gender. Furthermore, in
certain contexts there might be a gender bias in teachers’ ratings of students’ creativity,
though findings in this respect are inconclusive. At the same time, research on gender
variables has shown no difference between girls’ and boys’ creativity (Baer & Kaufman,
2008). We suggest that gender variations in beliefs are in certain cases attributable to

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differences of female and male self-efficacy beliefs, both of students’ and teachers’ (Beghetto
et al., 2011; S. Chan & Yuen, 2014; Snell, 2013), while in others they are due to the cultural

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context in which the studies have been carried out (Gralewski & Karwowski, 2013; Urhahne,
2011).

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Consistent with earlier findings (e.g Runco & Johnson, 2002; C. L. Scott, 1999;
Sommer, Fink, & Neubauer, 2008; Westby & Dawson, 1995), new research carried out in
different cultural settings provides further evidence that teachers judgements of creativity in

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their students may be biased, with educators considering as creative mainly students with
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favorable characteristics and with high cognitive abilities. Teachers, therefore, need more
support to identify student creativity, which is the first step towards its effective enhancement
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(Chan, 2000).
The recent evidence base shows that culture plays a significant role in teachers’ beliefs
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about creativity, impacting all aspects of their creativity-beliefs, confirming the idea that
creativity exists in the context of a specific culture (Lubart, 2010). Variations among teachers’
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beliefs in different countries were explained by the diversity of cultural traditions, values and
expectations as well as by aspects of the educational systems, curricula and teacher education
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of the countries in which teachers practised.


Finally, though teachers beliefs were shown to be mediated by various other elements
of the context in which teachers practice (Fives & Buehl, 2012), literature focusing on the
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variance of beliefs considering other external factors - such as educational-policies, teacher


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education, school characteristics (e.g. location, school size, resources and facilities),
organizational climate - is scarce and needs to be investigated.

5. Conclusions
The purpose of the present systematic review has been to describe, appraise and synthesize
the empirical research base on in-service K-12 teachers’ beliefs about creativity between
2010-2015 to inform research, policy and practice with the most rigorously available new

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evidence in the field. The review highlighted a growing research interest in teachers’
creativity beliefs in recent years, with a large number of studies published as journal articles
and dissertations around the globe. Studies included in the review investigated teachers’
creativity beliefs along three main themes: teachers’ beliefs about the nature of creativity,
creative individuals and classroom environment conducive to creativity. Beliefs about the
profile of creative teachers and creativity in teaching were new sub-themes emerging from the

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literature.
Overall, the following conclusions can be made on the basis of our review. First,

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teachers hold several beliefs which could act as enablers to promoting creativity in the
classroom, such as they generally value creativity, many believe that it can be nurtured in

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every student and across many subjects, and are aware of a number pedagogical strategies to
promote it. Specific areas in which educators require more support include: the recognition of
originality and appropriateness as joint requirements for creative outcomes; the

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conceptualization of creativity in different subject areas; the identification and appreciation of
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creativity in students; and the development of more awareness about the characteristics of
pedagogical practices conducive to creativity across the curriculum and various education
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levels. In addition, teachers perceive few enablers and several barriers to nurturing creativity
in the classroom. Most notable barriers are lack of time and training, inadequate resources,
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overloaded curriculum, standardized tests and difficulties in assessing creativity, which can
easily outweigh teachers’ positive beliefs and prevent the implementation of creativity in
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schools. The synthesis of the recent literature also highlighted that though common trends can
be identified, teachers’ views may vary considerably across teacher populations suggesting
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that beliefs about creativity are deeply rooted in the specific contexts of the educators.
Second, our review revealed various degrees of congruence and recurrent
incongruence between teachers’ espoused beliefs and enacted practices. We found that even if
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teachers’ hold positive or adequate beliefs about creativity, these rarely translate into
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creativity-fostering practices, suggesting that there are a number of internal and external
factors that might prevent educators from nurturing creativity in the classroom.
Finally, several factors have been identified as influencing teachers’ beliefs about
creativity. The good news is that training and experience in teaching for creativity, personal
creativity, and overall professional competency may positively influence teachers’ beliefs,
and thus are more likely to lead to creativity-fostering practices. On the other hand, teachers’
bias towards students with favourable characteristics and high intellectual abilities in judging
creativity may leave much of the creative potential in the classroom unrecognized. Culture

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was found to play an important role in shaping teachers’ beliefs, providing further evidence
for the culture-specific aspect of creativity. Though the literature suggests that other context-
related factors can influence teachers’ perspectives, these are rarely explored in the studies
reviewed.
Our review is subject to the usual limitations and threats to the validity of systematic
reviews. Despite the pilot searches, hand searching of important journals, forward referencing

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of past seminal studies and reference list checking of included studies for other relevant work,
some research may have not been identified. Also, as we searched for English-language

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resources only, an English-language bias is inevitable. The findings of the review are also
inherently limited by the quality of available evidence. By designing and implementing a

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quality assessment protocol, we tried to ensure that low-quality studies did not adversely
affect our review outcomes. For reasons of heterogeneity of the research on teachers’
creativity beliefs, we conducted a narrative synthesis, which is by nature a more subjective

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process. The interpretation of the literature, for example, may be coloured by our own views.
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One way to cope with this was by creating a table in which we included characteristics and
key findings for each study reviewed. Also, to ensure accuracy and reliability, data collected
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were checked, themes and interpretations were agreed on by two reviewers and when needed
we involved other experts.
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5.1. Implications for policy and practice


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The review has several implications for policy and practice. Beyond establishing creativity as
an important outcome for students, policy documents should include research-based
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definitions and conceptualizations of creativity across curricular areas and education levels to
increase teachers’ understanding of creativity. If needed, curricula should be adjusted to allow
more time for creativity, as well as national assessments re-examined to align with creativity
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as a learning goal. Guidance documents should be issued on how to develop and assess
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creativity in practice, across all curricular areas, and in every student. Education policy should
invest in furthering creativity in education by supporting initial and in-service teacher
education programs, the development and acquisition of resources and materials that teachers
could use to promote creativity, and to create opportunities for sharing best practices and
encouraging schools to promote creativity-fostering cultures.
Initial teacher education and continuous professional development appear to have
positive effect on teachers’ beliefs, which in turn can increase the likelihood that educators’
nurture students’ creative capacities in schools. Our findings suggest that teacher education

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should lay special emphasis on supporting teachers to conceptualize, recognize, explicitly
teach for and assess creativity across specific subject areas and education levels. Training
needs to address teachers’ beliefs about creativity by including opportunities for participants
to make their beliefs explicit and reflect on them in the light of the new knowledge and
experiences gained. In addition, teacher’ awareness needs to be raised about the factors that
might influence their creativity beliefs. Teacher education also needs to encourage the

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enactment of positive creativity beliefs by providing various strategies, activities, materials
and examples of promoting creativity, informed by research in the field. We suggest that

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practice-based professional learning opportunities could particularly support educators in
developing adequate beliefs, as well as readiness and preparedness for delivering effective

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creativity instruction.
Finally, teachers need to monitor their own beliefs and cultivate self-responsibility to
acquire knowledge about creativity and its nurture, which they can translate into creativity-

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fostering classroom practices. Collaboration among teachers, for example through study
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groups, collaborative planning, peer observation, peer teaching and mentoring with a special
focus on teaching for creativity could play a key role in this respect.
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5.2. Implications for research


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The examination of the recent evidence-base on teachers’ creativity beliefs highlighted


several avenues for future research. First, the review shows that the contexts in which
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creativity has been investigated are uneven and limited. More research exploring teachers’
beliefs in secondary education, various knowledge domains and cultural settings are needed.
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For example, we found no studies on teachers’ creativity beliefs in social sciences and little is
known about how teachers in many cultures conceptualize creativity. There also exists a need
for the examination of teachers’ beliefs in contexts other than those cultural, for example
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framed by policy, curricula, school characteristics etc. Future research would also benefit
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from exploring the similarities and differences between teachers’ beliefs in various settings
through comparative studies or replications. Studies investigating variations in teachers’
beliefs across domains and grade-levels, for example, are surprisingly under-represented.
Research in these areas would elucidate specific beliefs framed by the specific contexts in
which teachers practice.
Second, a more comprehensive examination of teachers’ beliefs as a system is
necessary. Educators’ views could be more often explored along all three themes identified in
the literature, that is, the nature of creativity, creative individuals and creativity-fostering

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learning environments, with future studies focusing on the interplay between these elements.
Research should also examine teachers’ creativity beliefs together with other potentially
associated ones, such as those about learning, knowledge, and intelligence. Further, there is a
need for studies that explore teachers’ perspectives together with those internal and external
factors that enable or hinder the enactment of creativity beliefs. Such studies could offer a
better understanding of how the elements of teachers’ belief systems interact and influence

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practice.
Third, teachers’ beliefs are mediated and moderated by several internal and external

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factors, research on such elements is nevertheless scarce. Future studies could work to
validate findings on the positive relationships between teachers’ educational background,

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professional experience, training and experience in creativity, their own creativity and overall
professional competency. Also, little is known about the role of teachers’ and students’
gender in shaping educators’ creativity beliefs. Further evidence on the role of student-related

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influences on teachers’ beliefs is also required. The results of such studies could be
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incorporated into teacher education programs and contribute to teachers’ more accurate
recognition of creativity in students.
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Fourth, there are several methodological issues that future studies should consider.
Researchers need to triangulate data collected from self-reported measures to improve the
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validity of their findings. More mixed method and qualitative studies are required to explore
teachers’ in-depth beliefs in relation to their classroom practices and students’ outcomes in
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various contexts. The field also cries out for longitudinal and experimental studies examining
teachers’ changing perspectives and the effects of various interventions on teachers’ beliefs.
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Such studies are extremely rare in the literature reviewed. Studies on representative
populations are another lacuna in the recent literature. In addition, it would be valuable to use
more advanced methods of quantitative analysis to better understand the relationships
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between belief elements and influencing factors.


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Finally, there is the need for more systematic descriptions of the research. In some of
the studies there was no distinction between the different teacher characteristics in the
samples, nor were insights provided in the selection procedure of the research population.
Methodology and analysis were often poorly described. Researchers should also place more
emphasis on the theoretical framing of their work, use creativity and belief terminology more
consistently throughout their work, and provide operational definitions for the concepts. This
would allow for more meaningful comparison among studies in the future.

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Acknowledgements
Blinded for review

Funding
Blinded for review

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Appendices

Appendix 1. Scoring sheet for assessing ‘weight of evidence’ based on the WoE framework

3 2 1 0
Type of WoE Criteria fully mostly met to some not at
met met extent all met
The aims and objectives of the research
clearly stated.
The conceptual framing of the study is

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adequate and clearly described.
The study design is appropriate to the
research questions.
The context of the study is clearly

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described.
The sampling strategy is adequate and
WoE A: clearly described.
Methodological Data collection is adequate and clearly

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quality described.
Data analysis is adequate and clearly
described
Findings are supported by data.

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Claims rest on findings.
Methodological quality score: /27. p
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The methodological quality of the
study is sound. (Consider: 22-27 for
fully met, 16-21 for mostly met, 9-15
for met to some extent)
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WoE B: The study design chosen is adequate to


Methodological determine in-service K12 views about
relevance creativity.
WoE C: The study provides sufficient and
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Topic relevance adequate findings on in-service K12


teachers’ views about creativity.
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Overall WoE D (circle appropriate): high medium low inadequate


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Appendix 2. The ‘weight of evidence’ of the included studies

Authors WoE WoE: B WoE: C Overall


A:
Al-Nouh, Abdul-Kareem, & Taqi (2014) high high high high
Beghetto, Kaufman, & Baxter (2011) high high high high
Chan & Yuen (2014) high high medium high
Gralewski & Karwowski (2013) high high high high
Hartley, Plucker, & Long in Hartley (2015) A high high high high
Karwowski (2010) high high high high

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Leikin et al. (2013) high medium high high
Shen (2014) high high medium high
Zhou et al. (2013) high medium high high

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Adams (2013) medium medium low medium
Aish (2013) high medium medium medium
AlKhars (2013) high medium medium medium

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Alsahou (2015) high medium low medium
Bryant (2014) high medium low medium
Cachia & Ferrari (2010) medium medium medium medium
Cheng (2010) high medium medium medium

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Daskolia, Dimos, & Kampylis (2011) high medium medium medium
DaVia Rubenstein, McCoach, & Siegle (2013) high medium low medium
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Dickman (2014) medium medium low medium
Fairfield (2010) medium medium medium medium
Frawley (2014) high medium low medium
Hartley & Plucker (2014) high medium medium medium
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Hartley, Plucker, & Long in Hartley (2015) B high medium medium medium
Henriksen & Mishra (2015) high medium low medium
Hoff & Carlsson (2011) medium medium medium medium
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Hondzel (2013) medium high low medium


Hong & Kang (2010) high medium medium medium
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Huang & Lee (2015) medium medium medium medium


Konstantinidou et al. (2013) medium low high medium
Konstantinidou et al. (2014) medium low high medium
Lasky & Yoon (2011) medium medium low medium
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Lev-Zamir & Leikin (2011) high high low medium


Lev-Zamir & Leikin (2013) high high low medium
Levenson (2013) high medium medium medium
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Levenson (2015) medium high low medium


Liu & Lin (2014) high medium low medium
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McLellan & Nicholl (2013) high high low medium


Merriman (2015) high medium low medium
Meyer & Lederman (2013) medium medium low medium
Myhill & Wilson (2013) high medium low medium
Newton & Newton (2010b) high medium low medium
Olivant (2015) medium medium low medium
Scott (2015) high medium medium medium
Shaheen (2011) high medium medium medium
Snell (2012) medium medium low medium
Stone (2015) medium medium medium medium
Tanggaard (2011) medium medium low medium
Tomasevic & Trivic (2014) high low medium medium
Turner (2013) medium high low medium

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Urhahne (2011) medium high medium medium
Zbainos & Anastasopoulou (2012) medium low medium medium
Kampylis, Saarilouma, & Berki (2011) medium low low low
Pavlović, Maksić & Bodroža (2013) medium low low low

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Appendix 3. Key characteristics of the included studies (Online supplement)

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Highlights
• We conducted a systematic literature review synthetizing 53 studies on K-12 in-service
teachers’ beliefs about creativity published between 2010-2015.
• Teachers’ hold beliefs that enable, but also several that hinder creativity development in
schools.
• Teachers’ beliefs about creativity are heavily context dependent.

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• There is recurrent incongruence between teachers’ espoused positive beliefs and enacted
classroom practices.

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• Several contextual, student-related and teacher-related factors influence teachers’ beliefs
about creativity.

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