chapter  1
The Relevance of Creative Teaching: Pupils’ Views
ByBob Jeffrey, Peter Woods
Pages 19

We have for some years been researching into what we describe as ‘creative teaching’. Woods (1990a) was impressed by his observations in a number of English primary schools in the 1980s by teachers’ powers of invention, which seemed applied to every aspect of their interaction with their pupils; by the way in which they ‘owned’ the knowledge they were conveying, in the sense that they were not simply fulfilling the requirements of others who had specified what should be taught; by the way in which they controlled their own pedagogical processes, varying them according to their own perception of need; and by being highly relevant, that is, operating within a broad range of accepted social values while being attuned to pupil identities and cultures. We have elaborated upon and illustrated the first three of these criteria in Woods (1993, 1995a) and Woods and Jeffrey (1996). In the latter, we discussed the fourth, relevance, from the point of view of the teachers, showing how they worked to construct ‘relevant knowledge’, defined as knowledge that is meaningful within the child’s frame of reference. We described teachers’ strategies in sharing and creating knowledge, stimulating ‘possibility knowledge’ through imagination, utilizing children’s ‘prior knowledge’, and developing ‘common knowledge’ (Edwards and Mercer, 1987). In this article, we consider the pupils’ views on ‘relevance’. The questions we are concerned with are: What effect does creative teaching have on pupils? How does it affect their feelings, motivation to learn, behaviour, learning, relationships? How do pupils perceive such teachers, or such teaching? This, therefore, is a test of the efficacy of such teaching, besides offering to tell us something of general importance about pupils.