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What are the factors contributing to the constraints on creativity implementation in teaching within higher education? This contribution briefly explores some answers to this question drawing on research based on an interdisciplinary collaborative enquiry group in the National University of Ireland, Galway. It also points out some implications for education policy.
Creativity, higher education, constraints, education policy, social imaginary, interdisciplinarity, change
In the context of great social and economic change, creativity in higher education teaching has become, over the last decade or so, a fundamental political concern. Top-down instrumentalist policy discourses about creativity are however often disconnected from the reality of teaching practices within universities and hardly implemented on the ground. Some researchers (e.g. Craft, 2005; Craft & Jeffrey, 2008; Moran, 2010) have already investigated factors contributing to confinement on creativity in teaching and learning within schools. However, few investigations, of which Fryer (2006) is one example, have been made on creative teaching confinement specifically within higher education, notably in the Irish system.
Drawing on research based on an interdisciplinary collaborative enquiry group in the National University of Ireland, Galway, this contribution offers a combination of empirical and theoretical findings to explain some limitations to creativity implementation in teaching practices within higher education. The research revealed that academics' perceptions of the constraints on their creative teaching is not entirely coherent with the reality of their practices. Castoriadis' (2007) conception of the social imaginary is used to examine the relationship academics have with their disciplines, and how it can contribute to creativity confinement. The contribution also stresses the potential of interdisciplinary collaborative groups, as part of staff development programmes, to encourage change in academic practices towards more creativity, and ultimately to support the critical enquiry role of the university. Finally, some implications for efficient education policy on creativity are developed.