The purpose of this study is to investigate the factors of school environment which affect children’s creativity by exploring school’s institutional, physical and human-social environment. This study proposes improvements that would foster a creative climate, enhance classroom lessons and provide an adequate physical environment in kindergarten and elementary schools.
Institutional environmental factors include support from the national level and Department of Education level, physical environmental factors include classroom space and human-social environment environmental include teacher’s creative inclinations, their perspectives on creativity, classroom’s creative atmosphere and creative school climate.
The methods used for this study were literature research, in-depth interview, survey research, and case study, which proceeded as follows. The study first collected data by exploring theories on creativity in educational organization settings, such as kindergarten and elementary schools, and investigating domestic and international institutional systems established to support creativity. Moreover, in-depth interviews were conducted with people who were working as a teacher, head of the organization, professionals in the field of child education and creativity research. They were all from the organizations chosen for showing examples of best practice in promoting creativity. Additional data on kindergartens and elementary schools were collected by visiting Creativity Research Center in the state of Georgia in the United States. Then the survey research was conducted with 400 children from 20 kindergarten and elementary school organizations in the cities of Seoul, Incheon, Kyung-ki, Daejun and Busan in South Korea. Finally, the case study was conducted by visiting the domestic and international kindergartens and elementary schools that were following best educational practices in promoting creativity.
The result of the study on the creative school environment, domestic and abroad, demonstrated as follows: in kindergarten institutional environment, teacher training and literature were provided by the city and the province; and the Department of Education and local government. Also, both the educational and management goals of the educational organization were set to foster the creativity of children. In addition, human and physical resources were provided in order to promote creativity in the classroom, and teachers were working in a stable organization management system. For the physical environment, it was proven that various resources and information were being provided while exploration activities were encouraged. For the human-social environment, it was evident that the teachers’ core values, the collaboration between the teachers and children, and teachers’ advice played an important role in generating a creative educational environment in the classroom. The teachers focused on the children’s needs, reflected their opinions on the lesson plans, and advised them to resolve any conflicts in a democratic manner.
In domestic elementary school settings, the school with the best practices for creativity had an institutional environment where the teachers partook in active and lively clubs and research societies for improving classes. Moreover, various support was provided from the Department of Education for research activities and research school management. In terms of physical environment, an open library, a wide corridor, playing space, and infrastructure in the school were secured. In terms of the psycho-social environment, the head of the institution enthusiastically accepted the opinions of the faculty, and there were constant discussions and demand among faculties for a better teaching method to enable students to participate voluntarily and proactively. Additionally, open discussions, activities on problem-solving strategies, group activities, and project learning were often held in classrooms.
Survey research has shown that the creative tendencies of children were related to the creative atmosphere of the classroom that children perceived, and there were differences among institution types. It was also shown that child’s creativity was related to child’s creative tendencies, but it did not differ depending on the institution type. The creative tendencies of elementary school students were shown to be also related to the creative atmosphere of the classroom that students perceived, the creative attitude of teachers and the creative working environment that teachers perceived. However, the creativity of elementary school students was found to have no relevance to the individual level, school type nor teacher variables.
Based on our research results, we propose the following: First, in attempt to establish a creative school environment, we suggest some institutional improvements to be made. Teacher training program and ongoing support for teachers should be fortified, the Department of Education should employ administrators specifically for classroom improvement, and the department of kindergarten education should be separated from that of elementary education.
Second, a system should be established for the establishment of a future education environment. A variety of spaces would be needed for this system, and the classrooms should be redesigned for children’s sufficient play and rest.
Third, schools should provide a psychological environment to foster children’s creativity. In order to do so, schools should attempt to create a child-initiated atmosphere, develop lessons to address creative problem solving and creative convergence skills and provide consistent support for fueling children's creativity.
Table Of Contents
Ⅱ. 연구의 배경
Ⅲ. 국내외 창의적 학교 환경 우수사례
Ⅳ. 창의적 학교환경과 아동의 창의성의 관계
Ⅴ. 아동의 창의성 증진을 위한 학교환경 개선 방안