Teachers’ and Mothers’ Perceptions of Using Creative Arts to Develop Children’s Potential for Critical Thinking

By Caroline Nilson, Catherine Fetherston and Anne McMurray.

Published by The International Journal of Arts Education

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Using a qualitative naturalistic, interpretive design, this study sought to investigate the impact of children’s participation in a creative arts project on the development of critical thinking dispositions. Focus groups and individual interviews were undertaken to identify mothers’ and teachers’ perceptions of children’s critical thinking development in the context of creating an art piece. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis. The findings revealed that creative arts participation was able to excite children’s imagination and mobilise creativity leading to an increased awareness of self and others, including the environment around them. Teachers believed children required more time for free play to develop their imagination, while mothers perceived that time and curriculum constraints reduced children’s opportunities for integration of arts into their other studies. These findings have important implications for the development of future education curricula in addition to the development of collaborative initiatives between schools and community organisations.

Keywords: Creative Arts, Critical Thinking, Barriers to Creativity, Mobilisation of Imagination, Community Connection and Engagement

The International Journal of Arts Education, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.1-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 458.151KB).

Caroline Nilson

Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Murdoch University, Mandurah, Western Australia, Australia

Mrs. Caroline Nilson’s professional domain is nursing and midwifery. As a lecturer at Murdoch University School of Nursing and Midwifery, Western Australia she has taught into the Undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing program and the Postgraduate Master of Midwifery program. Her teaching is supported by thirty years of clinical nursing and midwifery experience. She commenced her academic tertiary position in 2005 and her teaching approach has been recognised in several awards, including the 2011 Australian Teaching and Learning Citation Award for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. She has developed specific innovative teaching strategies that have been published and presented nationally and internationally. Her teaching philosophy is based on the centrality of the caring relationship. She places a high value on the subjectivity and inter-subjectivity of relationships and considers that caring for others begins with caring about others. As nursing and midwifery are both an art and a science, she seeks to provide a leaning experience that addresses all four attributes of a nurse’s knowledge: the personal, aesthetic, empirical and the ethical. Critical thinking development and Indigenous health promotion are her key research interests.

Assoc. Prof. Catherine Fetherston

Deputy Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Murdoch University, Mandurah, Western Australia, Australia

Prof. Anne McMurray

Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Mandurah, Queensland, Australia