A micro-ethnographic study of creative behavior of Title 1 urban art students: how do context, collaboration and content play a role in the development of creativity?
Through the disciplines of art education, anthropology and psychology the researcher examined research-based traits and characteristics of the creative process among a second year Title 1 urban high school art class. Within the theoretical framework of social justice, this micro-ethnographic study explored exactly what teaching and learning to be creative implies and proposes a potential resolution for art teachers learning how to enhance teaching children how to think creatively. The research proposition is that student creativity occurs as a function of a series of interrelated factors including a nurturing classroom context, strong teacher-student dialogue, strategic questioning, purposeful incorporation of visual culture, and manipulation of content in favor of student interests within the culturally situated context of the art classroom. Navigating teacher-student relationships at moments of creative origination produced results indicating that the art teacher alone is the single most influential factor for enhancing creative outcomes in a classroom. Through incorporation of a variety of collaborative activities and comparative analysis of dissimilar content-driven projects generated evidence that artistic skills and creativity do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. The study finds that the artworks produced evidence based nuances of the creative traits of originality, fluency, flexibility, and elaboration in which profoundly varied in character depending on the content and the context. The study concludes that creativity cannot be strictly taught or learned, but rather that it can be enhanced through teacher nurturing and manipulation of content to encompass a socially intelligent uptake in the culture of art-making. Broader implications are suggested focusing on the significance of creative education and the impact it can have for educational systems, schools and undergraduate programs in art education. The researcher proposes an art education curriculum model that fosters both creative thinking and the unique learning needs of Title 1 urban students. The curriculum suggests the art teacher begin initial instruction by teaching students about the traits, characteristics and obstructions of creativity prior to teaching artistic skills sets to serve as a foundation of creative awareness from the start.