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Creativity in Chinese Schools

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Perspectival Frames of Paradox and Possibility

image of International Journal of Chinese Education

Is creativity occurring in China’s primary and secondary schools? The thesis undergirding this article is that creativity is a paradox and possibility within this test-centric culture. Discussion is of the literature on creativity from an international perspective, with support from an original pilot study. The Chinese schools visited arose out of an inquiry into crucial issues in basic education involving high-stakes accountability and effects on the creativity and innovation of children and youth. Pursuing knowledge in action, the U.S. Fulbright Scholar used observation, conversation, and interviews to explore creative processes in five rural and urban preK-12 schools within Southwest China. A teacher training institute confirmed that creative learning transpires within some of the primary schools in the region. Analyses of the data collected suggest the potential for creativity in schooling to co-exist with external accountability. These emergent results offer a lens for understanding intriguing developments of schooling in Chinese education.

Affiliations: 1: College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Virginia Tech


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