Traversing Creative Space, Transforming Higher Education: A Contemporary Curricular Vision of Teaching and Learning

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Troop, Meagan
transformative learning , adult education , graduate coursework , creativity
The promotion of creative culture in the higher education classroom holds the potential to prepare students for their contemporary roles in an increasingly diverse and demanding modern world. A premise of this work is that education should strive to encourage creativity with process-oriented curricula that actively engage students in (a) tasks that are collaborative and novel, (b) the interpretation of new and meaningful experiences, and (c) the synthesis and critical evaluation of ideas at individual, collective, and global levels. This dissertation study identifies aspects of pedagogical design and teaching practice that enable the building of students’ creative capacities. These enhanced capacities, in turn, can lead to transformative experiences that inspire and shape participants’ personal and professional lives. I adopted a dual role as researcher and student to conduct an exploratory study in the context of a PhD level Education course, Contemporary Curriculum Theory. Findings from this exploratory study informed a multiple-case study that involved the observation of two graduate level courses, Professionals in Rural Practice and The Lived Experience of Disability, which together form the unit of analysis for the study. Data sources included: (a) a Learning Activities Survey, modified from King’s (2009) original work; (b) a Creativity Checklist, modified from Munro’s (n.d.) instrument; (c) field observations and field notes; and (d) individual interviews with students and instructors from each course. Data were analyzed by three creative drivers that enabled transformation: (a) multiple ways of knowing, (b) adult conversation, and (c) the storied self. Through this examination of university-level courses of varied disciplines, this research study addresses creativity as a catalyst for transforming the ways in which teachers and students experience knowledge-making in post-secondary education.
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