Teachers’ perceptions of creativity in culturally and economically diverse elementary school females
Fiddyment, Gail Elizabeth
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Creativity is widely recognized as an essential component of giftedness, but teachers’ ability to recognize characteristics of creativity in diverse students is not clear. The purpose of this study was to investigate characteristics that teachers perceive as being associated with creativity, and whether or not these characteristics vary according to a student’s race or ethnicity and socioeconomic status (SES). The study included the development and validation of an instrument, the Teachers’ Perceptions of Creativity in Students – Female (TPCS-F). Vignettes depicting students of different racial/ethnic and SES backgrounds were used to create an online survey instrument, which was found to be valid and reliable in the pilot study, and subsequently used to gather teachers’ perceptions of creativity in culturally and economically diverse students. Pilot study participants included graduate students, while research study participants were classroom and gifted teachers within the state of Georgia. The results of both studies indicated that teachers were significantly more likely to recognize creative characteristics in the behaviors of upper middle SES students than in their middle or lower SES peers, although the pilot study found an interaction between race and SES, indicating the teachers rated upper middle SES students higher only in some racial or ethnic groups. High levels of inter-item and inter-rater reliability were demonstrated in both studies. Future research is needed to identify possible reasons for differences in teachers’ perceptions, and ways that training may help teachers understand behaviors associated with giftedness and creativity in culturally and economically diverse students.