A Comparative Study of Creativity Education in Primary Schools of England &Finland: Lessons for Iran

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 PhD Student, Department of Educational Sciences , Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan Branch, Iran

2 Associate Professor , Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Islamic Azad University, Khorasgan Branch ( Isfahan)

10.22034/ijce.2022.285444.1308

Abstract

Fostering creative people have become one of the modern goals of advanced educational systems. While the need for creativity in the new millennium is more obvious, the education systems of advanced societies can teach pivotal lessons to other countries. The purpose of this research was to investigate the experiences of England and Finland in teaching creativity in primary schools to provide guidance to Iranian curriculum planners. The selection strategy of the countries studied in this qualitatively comparative study was "similarity in social systems, similarity in educational outputs" and the level of analysis and observation was macro (country). Data collection method was documentary and data analysis method was John Stuart Mill's method of agreement and disagreement using Bereday's regional approach for presenting the findings. The findings indicated that attention to the role and importance of children's creativity in the England education system has a long history, while Finnish education policymakers, especially in the last two decades, have paid more effort to this issue. Also, while various national documents on creativity have been published in England over the past six decades, Finns have been more pragmatic. Another finding shows that the England’s primary education system is influenced by factors such as subject-oriented, teacher-centered and exam-oriented and therefore has not had much success in creative education, while the Finns have used the school-centered and child-centered approach in teaching creativity. Given the research findings and the social realities of Iran, it seems that curriculum planners for educating creative children should pay more attention to the experiences of Finns. Research findings reveal that curriculum planners in Iran need special attention to Finnish experiences to raise creative children.

Highlights

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Keywords

Main Subjects


Article Title [فارسی]

مطالعه تطبیقی آموزش خلاقیت در مدارس ابتدایی انگلیس و فنلاند : درس هایی برای ایران

Authors [فارسی]

  • علی اکبر سمیعی 1
  • بدری شاه طالبی 2
  • احمد عابدی 2
1 دانشجوی دکترا، گروه علوم تربیتی، دانشکده علوم تربیتی و روانشناسی، دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی، واحد خوراسگان، ایران
2 دانشیار ، گروه علوم تربیتی ، دانشکده علوم تربیتی و روان شناسی ، دانشگاه آزاد اسلامی واحد خوراسگان ( اصفهان )
Abstract [فارسی]

تربیت افراد خلاق به یکی از اهداف  مدرن نظام های آموزشی پیشرفته مبدل شده است. در حالی که نیاز به آموزش خلاقیت برای زندگی در هزاره جدید هر روز بیش از پیش نمایان می گردد ، نظام های آموزشی جوامع پیشرفته می توانند درس های آموزنده ای برای دیگر کشورها داشته باشند. هدف پژوهش حاضر ، مطالعه تجربیات انگلیس و فنلاند در خصوص آموزش خلاقیت در مدارس ابتدایی برای ارائه رهنمودهایی به برنامه ریزان درسی ایران است. استراتژی انتخاب کشورهای مورد مطالعه در این تحقیق تطبیقی کیفی ، استراتژی " نظام های اجتماعی مشابه ، برون دادهای آموزشی مشابه " و سطح تحلیل و مشاهده ، کلان ( کشور) بوده است. یافته های پژوهش نشان داد توجه به نقش و اهمیت خلاقیت کودکان در انگلیس  از قدمت بیشتری برخوردار است در حالی که فنلاندی ها در طی دو دهه اخیر به  این موضوع توجه کرده اند. هم چنین در حالی که در انگلیس اسناد ملی گوناگونی در طی شش دهه گذشته در خصوص تربیت افراد خلاق منتشر شده است ، فنلاندی ها بیشتر اهل عمل  و انجام برنامه های خلاقیت بوده اند. دیگر یافته پژوهش نشان می دهد که نظام آموزش ابتدایی انگلیس متاثر از مولفه هایی همچون موضوع محوری ، معلم محوری و امتحان محوری می باشد و لذا موفقیت چندانی در تربیت خلاقانه نداشته است ، در حالی که فنلاندی ها مدرسه محوری و کودک محوری را مبنای این آموزش ها  قرار داده اند. با توجه به یافته های پژوهش و واقعیت های اجتماعی ایران به نظر می رسد که برنامه ریزان درسی برای آموزش خلاقیت باید بیشتر به تجارب فنلاندی ها توجه کنند

Keywords [فارسی]

  • خلاقیت
  • آموزش خلاقانه
  • برنامه درسی
  • موضوع محوری
  • مدرسه محوری
  1. Introduction

         Over the past four decades, in many developed countries, attention to creativity education has been considered by politicians, labor market activists and educational planners. The emphasis of national and international organizations on the importance and role of creativity in the new millennium has also increased. Numerous reports from these organizations indicate that creativity is essential to a successful life in the age of globalization. Thus, fostering creative people has become one of the aspirations of many educational systems, and therefore pivotal role of creativity in curricula is increasing day by day (Jeffrey & Troman 2009). Creating creativity requires skills such as adaptability, flexibility, initiative and the ability to apply knowledge in new ways. These skills need to be taught in schools, while most teachers lack the ability to nurture creative people. School principals and teachers do not have a clear answer to these criticisms, and they themselves are confused. In the UK, for example, many teachers do not know whether creativity can be taught and, also do not know how to teach it (Craft, Cremin, Hay & Clack, 2013).

As these questions are not easy to answer, the simple solution for principals and teachers is to place more emphasis on evaluating and conducting exams. While extra evaluations combined with a competitive environment lead to stress in learners and destroy their creative spirit. Under the pressure of exams, students do not have much opportunity to develop creative behaviors. In this situation, the school is no longer a good place to raise creative people. Students find that teachers and the school principal are not interested in such things as students’ freedom of action, gaining personal experience and curiosity and strengthening students' critical spirit. In fact, in many schools, teachers do not like creative students. They do not want to involve themselves in planning, executing, and overseeing activities that are not mentioned in the formal curriculum (Wilson, 2015). Indeed, in a content-driven and test-driven education system, the teacher does not even have much opportunity to express her/his creativity. Educational planners are also confused between attention to learners' educational performance and teaching creativity. In this situation, the fundamental question is whether a model can be found that has been able to solve this puzzle.

 

The Iran education system is no exception. In the late 1970s, when Muslim revolutionaries came to power, it was largely believed that the previous regime's educational system lacked the ability to nurture creative people. Over the last four decades, they have tried to address this shortcoming, but in practice nothing has happened. Thus, one of the common aspects of the educational system of the monarchy regime and Islamic Republic is the lack of creativity in learners. Iran is one of the few countries in the Middle East that has taken the international test several times - such as the TIMSS, PIRLS & PISA - yet Iranian students have always had a relatively consistently poor result. For example, the results of the TIMSS 2019 indicate the gap between Iranian students' performance and international averages. With a total score of 443, Iran is ranked 50th out of 58 countries and ninth out of 12 neighbors participating in the fourth grade math exam. In sciences exam of Grade 4, Iran is in the 48th place with a score of 441. There were 39 countries in the Grade 8 math test, and Iran was ranked 29th. In science exam of Grade 8 and among 39 countries, Iran ranked was 32 (IEA, 2019). These results show that the situation of Iranian students in the last 24 years (from 1995 to 2019) in learning mathematics has not improved much and their scores have always been lower than the international average level (score 500). What are the causes of this backwardness? Rezvan Hakimzadeh, Deputy Minister of Primary Education of the Ministry of Education believes:

 

“The process of teacher recruitment in all these years has been against the principles of educational sciences. While teaching scientific principles and concepts and practical use of them in real life is an important issue in the TIMSS and PIRLS exams, many Iranian students are unable to understand the questions of the TIMSS test. This is because the primary schools’ curriculum is limited to teaching knowing level of learning. Another issue is that Iranian students do not have reading skills and are poor at comprehension and therefore cannot get good results in science and math examinations. Even when we explain a question to students, they understand it and know what the solution is. But when the problem is posed in a practical way - which requires pupils’ ability to how apply the concept of mathematics in real life - they are unable to understand the question and cannot get a good result. Teaching methods in our schools are memory-based and do not prepare students for a meaningful understanding of scientific concepts which is a very big challenge for us (Hakimzadeh, 2020).

 

These words indicate the lack of suitable education based on creativity in Iran’s schools. In fact, many research findings show that the centralized educational system of Iran does not give students the opportunity to be creative (Ahmadi, 2020; Karimi, Moghatab & Saadati Shamir, 2013; Roshan, Moradzadeh & Pourghaz, 2008; Sharafi, 2011; Shafiei & Naseri, 2020). In addition, factors such as lack of educational facilities, inappropriate goals and content of school textbooks, teacher-centered teaching methods, and excessive emphasis on exams are the most important obstacles to the growth of creativity in Iran’s schools (Kermani et al., 2016; Movahedzadeh, 2019; Niaz Azari, Barimani & Haji Qolikhani, 2011; Shah Vali et al., 2018). Naturally, in this situation, the question arises for teachers and school principals as well as Iranian educational planners is that how to turn exam-oriented schools into creativity-oriented schools. One of the answers is to pay attention to international experiences.

Nowadays, the Finnish education system is hailed as one of the best models for successful and creativity-oriented education. In addition, over the past half century, the England has sought to institutionalize fostering creativity in schools by adopting a number of national documents. Thus, it seems that Iranian educational planners can find a suitable way to foster creativity in schools by pay more attention to the experiences of these two countries. Accordingly, the aim of this study was to compare creativity education programs in England and Finland. The sub-objectives of the research are:

 

  • Identification of similarities in creativity programs in England and Finland primary education systems.
  • Identification of differences in creativity programs in England and Finland primary education systems

 

  1. Research Method

 

        The method of the study was qualitatively comparative. To collect data, documentary method was used and the content of primary and secondary sources was examined. The search for resources was done according to the use of keywords in information databases such as Google Scholar, ERIC, EBSECO, as well as the sites of the Ministry of Education and various databases. Thus, the research population including available and published resources during the period 2000-2021 and the research sample was done through purposive sampling method (n = 50). The strategy for selecting the countries under study was "similar social systems & similar educational outputs" and the level of analysis and observation was macro (country). The data collection and data analysis methods were documentary and John Stuart Mill approach respectively.

 

  1. Findings

 

              According to the research objectives and four-step approach of George Bereday, the findings are presented in four parts. In the first part, the primary education system of the two selected countries is described. In the second part, the interpretation of the data is mentioned. The third section examines data juxtaposition in the field of creativity education. The fourth section compares the two countries in terms of creativity training programs.

 

Part I) Description

  1. Primary Education in England

The Britain has been one of the pioneers in introducing the modern education system to the other societies. Accordingly, over the past hundred years, the Britain education system has been considered as a model by educational policymakers. Also, the performance of this system in international competitions has been good. For example in 2018, Britain rose through the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) rankings in mathematics, science, and reading, bursting into the top 20 in all three areas ( Stephenson, 2020).  The England education system is currently decentralized in organizational structure and various institutions such as the church, volunteer groups and the private sector are involved in the management and control of schools (O'Donnell et al. 2007). Primary education in the Britain includes stage 1 (Key Stages 1 for grades 1-2 and children ages 5-7) and stage 2 (Key Stages 2 for grades 3-6 and children ages 7 to 11) (Eurydice, 2006). Compulsory National Curriculum subjects are the same for both Stages. The ‘core’ subjects of English, Mathematics and Science are given relatively greater amounts of curriculum time. The other subjects that make up the curriculum are: Design and Technology, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), History, Geography, Art and Design, Music and Physical Education (DfES, 2007a). In England, the school year comprises a minimum of 190 teaching days. Schools are open five full days per week and school year is divided into three terms, each with a half-term break (Riggall, & Sharp, 2008; Department for Education, 2013). From September 2020, all pupils were assessed on their entry to primary school in the reception class (EURYDICE, 2020).

 

  1. Primary Education in Finland

 

Over the last two decades, Finnish students have performed brilliantly in international exams such as TIMSS, PIRLS & PISA. In a way Finnish student learning outcomes in science, mathematics and reading are among the highest in the OECD (OECD, 2013, 2020). In 2000, it showed that Finnish students were the best in the world when it comes to reading. On 2003 PISA test, they achieved the best results in math and in 2006, Finnish youth were first out of 57 countries in science (Silva, 2019). In Finland, compulsory education begins at the age of seven and includes a 9-year course. Education is free for students as well as learning materials and resources, daily meals, health and welfare services and transportation from home to school. As in the England, in Finland students go to school 190 days a year (Finnish National Agency for Education, 2021). Meanwhile, less than two per cent of comprehensive school pupils go to a private or state school (Ministry of Education and Culture, 2021). While the overall curriculum framework for primary school is set by the Finnish National Agency for Education, a single curriculum is not implemented in schools (OECD, 2013, 2020). In fact, the curriculum is a result of the participation and role of local authorities, principals and teachers. Also, textbooks have lost their central role and multiple learning materials have been considered. Therefore, teachers and learners are also producers of curriculum materials (Kulju et al. 2018). Whilst all learning materials are free of charge, subjects in grades 1-6 are Native Language and Literature, Second National Language, Foreign Languages, Mathematics, Environmental Studies, Religion, Ethics, History and Social Studies (starting in Grade 4), Music, Visual arts, Crafts, Physical Education and Guidance Counseling. There are also optional lessons, for example, in art and skill subjects (Kujala, 2019, p. 5).

 

Part II) Interpretation

  1. England

 

A review of data from various sources shows that since the 1960s, attention to creative education in the England education system has been the focus of curriculum planners and educational policy makers (CACE, 1967). Over the years, various institutions, scientific committees, universities, and the Ministry of Education have also published numerous national reports, researches, and documents on fostering creativity in schools (Table 1).

 

Table 1: Some of Previous initiatives to develop creativity in education

Reflections on impact

Key elements

Title

Did not lead to any significant policy changes.

place of arts in the school curriculum

Arts in Schools: Principles, practice and provision, 1982

Distinguished between teaching creatively and teaching for creativity.

Adopted a broad and inclusive approach to creativity: ‘Creativity is possible in all areas of human activity, including the arts, sciences, at work at play and in all other areas of daily life

National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE), 1999

The Education Act 2002 made ‘Creative Development’ statutory in the Foundation stage as one the six areas of learning.

Creative development as a one area of learning

Early Learning Goals QCA/DfES, 2000

Raised the status of creativity and the arts by pledging to provide a range of additional opportunities for creativity and curriculum enrichment.

Recognized the need to support teachers of all subjects to teach, ‘reasoning and logical and creative thinking through their subject

Schools: Achieving Success, Department for Education and Skills, 2001

CP was a proof of concept of the efficacy of creativity in schools which also showed how, for creativity to be embedded in schools, a level of resourcing and infrastructure is required.

Goal was to increase participation of young people, schools and the wider community in creative and cultural activities, with a particular interest in disadvantaged areas.

Creative Partnerships, DCMS, 2002-2011

Stresses that creativity is located in the entire curriculum (science is the example given) rather than being the preserve of the arts.

Web and paper-based materials

Promoting pupils’ creative thinking and behavior across the curriculum at Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 – practical materials for schools.

Creativity: Find it, Promote It! QCA, 2004

QCA makes clear, that creativity involves thinking or behaving

imaginatively

Introduced the concept of an individual creative portfolio as a way of bridging formal and informal education

Nurturing Creativity in Young People. A report to Government to inform future policy, DCMS, 2006.

Covers the issue of creativity and cultural education, the nature of creativity, the contribution of the arts, creativity in the curriculum, parents, creativity and standards, initial teacher training, assessment,

Creativity should be embedded across the whole curriculum

Joint memorandum submitted to Education Select Committee, DCSF and DCMS, 2007

led to some recommendations only being partly implemented, or abandoned entirely.

Introduced a ‘find your talent’ programme for schools, piloting five hours of cultural activity a week for children and young people with visits to galleries, museums and the theatre and learning a musical instrument.

Creative Britain New Talents for a New Economy, DCMS, 2008

offered teachers in primary and secondary schools a clear framework against which they could map the different subjects of the school curriculum

Emphasis on creative thinking skills

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS), Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency (QCDA), 2009-2013

Promote the idea that creativity is a human right rather than an ‘add-on’.

A world-class creative and cultural education for all to ensure the wellbeing and creativity of the population as well as the future success of the cultural and creative industries ecosystem

Warwick Commission: The Future of Cultural Value, Warwick University, 2015

highlighted the need for everyday creativity

Culture can be enabled or constrained by its environment.

Towards cultural democracy: Promoting cultural capabilities for everyone, Kings College London, 2017

-

Place design and creative thinking at the heart of Government to spread best practice across the public sector

Developing Creative Education after Brexit: A Plan for Economic Growth, 2018

Source: Durham University & Art Council, (2019) by capturing and summarizing

 

By examining and analyzing the content of these documents, we can deduce several cases regarding the teaching of creativity in the England educational system: First, for more than half a century, the country's educational policymakers have sought to train creative people because they have realized the growing need of society for these people (Wilson, 2017). Second, the concept of creativity has always been a complex and multidimensional concept that has no common definition. Third, the concept of creativity has evolved over the years since the 1960s in national documents in a way that extends to all curricula (NACCCE 1999; QCA, 2009, 2005; Lucas, 2019). Fourth, despite more than six decades of focus on teaching creativity, there are still no clear mechanisms and methods for teaching it, and its place in the curriculum is unclear. Because of this, John (2019) believes:

 

 “Creative thinking is not sufficiently supported within the current curriculum in England. Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England spoke about the upcoming Durham Commission report. He mentioned the Manifesto for a Creative Britain created by young people back in 2008 but not a single recommendation has been implemented by the government (p. 1).

In this regard, a recent report from Durham University shows that schools still offer subjects separately and there is no idea about creative activities in the learners' daily curriculum (Durham University & Art Council, 2019). At the same time, the report of the Ministry of Education shows that teachers lack complete confidence to perform their duties creatively (Department for Education, 2014).

Fifth, according to teachers, in some subjects, such as art, there is more opportunity for students to be creative. Durham University report shows that teachers still consider creativity to be limited to art lessons. This misconception, of course, is somewhat understandable because there seems to be more opportunity for children's creativity in the subject of art (Durham University & Art Council, 2019). Sixth, many curriculum planners and teachers still do not know how creative teaching methods can be used in some subjects - such as math or science. For example, Lucas, Claxton & Spencer (2013) argue that in the England, the national curriculum generally considers creativity as a cross-curriculum. In primary schools, however, creativity is taught through subjects such as art, design, music, and play (NASUWT, 2016).

Seventh, despite the emphasis of many curriculum planners, the England education system is still an examination-oriented system under the influence of the rules of standardization of academic achievement. As Durham University report indicated In England, there is a very structured program of formal testing and examinations. Pupils in Key Stage 1 take Standardized Assessment Tests (SATs) in mathematics and English during year 2 (Durham University & Art Council, 2019). Therefore, the structures of the curriculum and evaluation system are not in harmony with the disposition of creative activities (Looney, 2009; Menter, 2010).

  1. Finland

The small country of Finland with a population of less than six million people and an ordinary education system in the 1990s has been able to achieve significant success over the last three decades (Doherty, 2019). While in the first decade of the new millennium creativity education was part of elementary art education in the country, the Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland announced a new educational policy. According to this policy, innovation is the cornerstone of national success and Finland's future will depend on high quality education, research and development, and innovation-friendly learning environments (Hakala, Konst, Uusiky, & Järvinen, 2017).

The action of the council was accompanied by the adoption of measures that paved the way for the transformation of the ordinary Finnish education system into a modern and advanced system and the emergence of creativity in learners. These measures are: First, the lack of interest in changing policies so that during a slow process the necessary opportunities for teacher preparation were provided (NCEE, 2016). In fact, unlike in England, in Finland we are not confronted with a many national reports and documents prepared by commissions, institutions and universities on creativity and its cultivation methods; second, competition between learners, teachers and schools was not encouraged. In fact, there is no standard measurement tool to determine the academic achievement of students and teachers, and third, respect for the teacher as the key element in the education process and the emphasis on quality of teacher education. Thus, the Finns set difficult conditions for the training and employment of teachers and valued the profession of teaching (Doherty, 2019; Silva 2019). Finnish teachers are required to take part in a five-year course leading to a master's degree. One central focus of this is learning-focused curricula, assessing students' growth and learning by engaging in research and inquiry on a regular basis.  Teachers spend four hours a day in the classroom and two hours a week are given to professional development activity (Doherty, 2019).

 

Another feature of the Finnish education system is child-centered and attention to students' time, thought, play and choices. This system values social development and the teaching of moral values rather than the transfer of skills and knowledge to children. Therefore, Finns have a more holistic approach to education (Vasconcelos, 2019). Elementary school students enjoy 75 minutes of recess daily. That’s almost three times more compared to an average of 27 minutes in the United States (Silva, 2019). In this regard, the Finnish curriculum provides teachers with a set of guidelines so that they can take the initiative in the creative education process (Vasconcelos, 2019). According to these guidelines, education is based on play and aims to pay attention to the current needs of children, not to meet the requirements of adulthood. Thus, play is used as a tool to create a passion for learning, social development, skills development and imagination and creativity. In this process, children are motivated through play to learn appropriate solutions and knowledge through their creative curiosity (Silva, 2019). According to these fundamental policies, creativity programs in the Finnish education system are based on the following principles:

 

  • More opportunities and permission for the child to play
  • Provide opportunities for children to build and be creative
  • Encourage children to communicate and collaborate
  • Encourage children to be creative and imaginative

 

Part III) Juxtaposition

 

Two European countries, Britain and Finland, have specific demographic characteristics (Table 2). Each of these characteristics has some effect on social systems, including the educational system of these societies, although determining this effect is not the purpose of present study. In the England, children are required to attend school after their fifth birthday. In contrast, Finland delays compulsory education until the age of seven. Curriculum goals are pursued in the England with more focus, while in Finland the emphasis is less. Interestingly, more than thirty years later, the findings of Vulliamy, & Nikki (1997) are similar to those of the Durham Commission (2019). Vulliamy & Nikki's research showed whilst in England there are pressures towards more whole class and separate subject teaching, Finland has dismantled its longstanding subject-based national curriculum and encouraging school-based curricula incorporating integrated topic work and active learning pedagogies.

 

Table 2. Contextual and educational overview of England and Finland

Finland

England

Category

338,440

130,279

Total Area (sq. km)

5.518 million (2019)

55.98 million (2018)

Population

Republic

Constitutional Monarchy

Government

269.3 billion (2019)

$3.12 trillion, 2021

Gross Domestic Product

(USD)

26,496, 2019

29,147, 2020

Average Income Per Capita

(USD)

6.3

4.1

Government expenditure on education as % of GDP (%)

7

5

Age of Starting Primary Education

 

Policies on the monitoring and evaluation of schools are also moving in opposite directions, with Finland replacing a system of national inspections of schools by an emphasis on school self-evaluation, whereas England has introduced a rigorous system of external inspections (Vulliamy, & Nikki, 1997, p .5). Thus, while in the UK the teacher's focus is on teaching the required skills and knowledge, in Finland individual and social development, learning how to learn, self-control development and children's school readiness take precedence. In OFSTED (2003) research, it is emphasized that Whole-class teaching in England dominated by closed questions, brief answers and relatively little extended interaction, whereas in Finland, whole-class interaction was less tightly structured and more open and speculative. After a period of fifteen years, Weber et al. (2004) and Stephenson (2020) revealed that teaching creativity is influenced by the role and expectations that the school and parents have of the teacher. In the England, a professional teacher is someone who follows the guidelines and tries to create a "business" position by raising standards, while in Finland the emphasis is on 'teacher empowerment'.

 

Part IV) Comparison

To understand the similarities and differences between creativity education programs in the UK and Finland education systems, one must consider a set of influential components (Table 3).

Table 3: Status of influential components on creativity education in England and Finland

Components

England

Finland

Similarities

Differences

Student population

High

Less

-

*

Education budget

High

High

*

-

Age of education

Sooner

Later

-

*

Autonomy

High

High

*

-

Trust

High

High

*

-

Equality

High

High

*

-

Concept of creativity

Theoretical

Practical

-

*

Creativity training background

More

Less

-

*

Teacher status

High

High

*

-

Role of teacher

moderator

Active

-

*

Teacher training

Excellent

Excellent

*

-

Role of the curriculum

Strong

Weak

-

*

Curriculum structure

Separate subject

Combined subject

-

*

Creativity training position

Subject-oriented

School-oriented

-

*

Evaluation system

Curriculum-oriented

Creativity driven

-

*

 

Table 3 shows the similarities and differences between the two countries in 15 components related to creativity education. The table also shows that there are similarities between the two countries in six components and differences in nine components. The first similarity is that in both countries, the education system accounts for a significant share of the government budget. In fact, creativity-oriented educational activities are costly and require good educational facilities and sufficient salaries for teachers. The other three similarities between the two educational systems are autonomy, trust, and equality. Principals and teachers in both countries have a lot of authority in managing the classroom and school and conducting educational activities. In addition, the society has great confidence in principals and teachers and is committed to increasing educational equality. In both countries, teachers have a good professional and social status, and candidates for this job must participate in teacher training courses and receive extensive specialized training.

Also, the information in Table 3 shows the fundamental differences between the two educational systems. While there are around 10 million students in the Britain, Finnish schools have less than 2 million students (Gov.UK, 2021 / Statista, 2020). Thus, the England education system, despite the allocation of government funds, is facing more pressure to provide facilities for activities related to creativity education. This pressure is more because children enter schools from the age of five. Another difference between the England and Finland is that educators and curriculum planners in this country have focused on the role of creativity and importance of creativity education since the 1960s, while in Finland this has been the case for the last two decades. Other differences between the two countries are due to the active role of the teacher, attention to children's freedoms, emphasizing importance of play in fostering creativity, avoiding the dominance of the formal curriculum, and emphasizing the creativity-oriented evaluation system. These are largely unrealistic aspects of the England education system.

 

  1. Conclusion

 

          The purpose of study was to compare creativity education programs in the two developed countries of England and Finland to provide lessons to Iranian educational planners in primary school. Iran, with a population of more than 82 million and about 15 million students, has a large educational system with wide and deep challenges. One of the country's challenges is poor performance of student in subjects such as problem-solving, analysis, evaluation, interpretation, and creativity in life issues. The first findings indicated that, unlike Iran, in both England and Finland, the share of education from the government budget is high. Also, while in Iran more than 95% of the Ministry of Education's budget is allocated to teachers' salaries, England and Finnish schools are equipped with more facilities for creative-oriented activities. Another finding was important similarities and differences between the two countries. While from more than six decades the English has been trying to raise creative pupils, in practice the Finns were more successful.

                               

The findings also show that there is a huge body of scientific and academic reports on creativity and its dimensions in England, while these theorizing have received less attention from educational policymakers in Finland. In addition, the findings reveal that the England’s schools are still somewhat dominated by criteria such as standardization, subject-centered, exam-centered, and teacher-centered in the process of educating creativity. On the contrary, Finland's small education system has been able to provide better opportunities for raising creative children by adopting modern approaches such as school-centered, child-centered, and play-centered. These findings are in line with the findings of John (2019); Lucas, Claston & Vaspenser (2013); Menter (2010); Looney (2009); Silva (2019) and Stephenson (2020). The present researchers found that in both countries there are no specific curricula, curriculum content, definitive mechanisms and methods for teaching creativity. In fact, although the emergence of creative activities in some subjects - such as art - seems to be greater, creative education largely depends on factors such as attention to the needs of the child, the presence of trained and committed teachers, and educational facilities. According to these findings, the following lessons can be mentioned for Iranian curriculum planners:

  • Although creativity and education still have their own complexities, over-focusing on knowledge transfer, preserving textbook content, and core exams, which are prominent features of the Iran’s education system, are at odds with fostering creativity.
  • Finland's experience includes the lesson that in the early years of schooling, there is a need to cultivate the seeds of creative behavior in children. Iranian curriculum planners should not ignore the child's attention, freedoms and power of choice, and the role plays in the process of creativity education.
    • The experience of England and Finland shows the high professional status of the teacher. While teacher candidates in both countries are selected from the elite, the Iran’s education system is still plagued by instantaneous and unplanned teacher recruitment decisions. Also, English and Finnish teachers have a good social status, while teacher salaries in Iran are lower than other government employees. Expecting serious participation of teachers in creative activities requires more funding for the education system.

Considering the research findings and social realities such as number of student, geographical distribution of schools and budget of the Ministry of Education, it seems that Iranian curriculum planners should adopt an intermediate approach based on England and Finnish experience to train creativity.

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Volume 5, Issue 2
May 2022
Pages 1813-1830
  • Receive Date: 09 May 2021
  • Revise Date: 24 August 2021
  • Accept Date: 09 March 2022
  • First Publish Date: 11 March 2022