Potentials and constraints: Engaging gifted and talented students creatively and imaginatively

Katrina E Kemp

MEd(RES) thesis, conferred 2016

As an initiating structure from which to begin diversified learning processes, quality literary texts provide immense playgrounds of imagination, ideas and exciting uses of language for children to explore. The intriguing interplay of language and illustration in so many children's books sets up a high-level model of creativity, through which children can learn to engage in meaning-based responding and making, individually or collaboratively.

Predicated on the requirement in the English syllabus for students to demonstrate creative and imaginative thinking, this qualitative study was developed to observe gifted and talented children in class for the purpose of analysing their engagement in creative processes arising from a literature focus. Three children from a Year One class were nominated by their teacher for case studies. A five-week teaching program was written by the researcher, who is also a teacher at the school, which prioritised imagination as an important process in every lesson in conjunction with specific comprehension strategies applied to two focus texts: The Jumblies by Edward Lear and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. The research was framed dichotomously: seeking out the potentiality in a curriculum mandate to foster student creativity in full acknowledgement of all the factors in the school environment which can constrain inspired learning.

The participation and responses of each case study student is discussed within the wider educational policy and theoretical contexts of the project.

Supervisor: Professor Robyn Ewing AM