The international conference "A Creative Approach to Teacher Education" was held from September 28 – 30 2009 in Požega (Croatia). The organisers of the conference were colleagues from the Faculty of Education from Osijek in cooperation with the Town Council of Požega and the Education and Teacher Training Agency of the Republic of Croatia.
The aim of the conference was to give an opportunity to those who promote creativity in education, for those involved in teacher education as well as in the teacher continuing professional development, to present their work; it was also designed for professionals engaged with creativity in all aspects of education. The former presented their views of problems, existing possibilities, interesting solutions, new ideas and at the same time they were engaged in dialogue with people from different levels of the education systems.
Works which were submitted for the conference were published in the conference-proceedings and on a DVD. Some papers written in English will be published in the web-based Educational Journal of Living Theories according to the criteria of this journal. The papers at the conference were not presented in a traditional way. Instead, authors were asked to participate or to lead different forms of activities such as discussions, workshops or to present their views and achievements through the following activities:
Interactive plenum 4 + 1. A bearer of the topic, a facilitator, and two experts sit at four chairs. At the beginning bearer of topic presented thesis in 10 minutes and other two experts made comments in timeslots of 5 minutes each. An empty chair was reserved for participants from the audience who wanted to participate in the discussion which was led by a facilitator. Three interactive plenums were organised at the conference:
- Creativity in university teaching
Facilitator was Sanja Milović, senior counsellor in the Education and Teacher Training Agency, Zagreb
Participants were Dr.sc. Milan Matijević, Faculty of Education, Zagreb; Dr.sc. Branko Bognar, Faculty of Philosophy, Osijek; and Marko Turk, University of Rijeka
- Enhancing Teacher Creativity through Living Theory Action Research
Facilitator was Margaret Farren, Ph.D., School of Education, Dublin City University Ireland
Participants were Jack Whitehead, Ph.D., Department of Education, University of Bath United Kingdom; Yvonne Crotty, School of Education, Dublin City University Ireland; Marie Huxtable, The University of Bath, Department of Education United Kingdom
Facilitator was Ružica Pažin Ilakovac, senior counsellor in the Education and Teacher Training Agency, Osijek
Participants were Dr. Ladislav Bognar, Faculty of Education, Osijek; Dr. Vesna Buljubašić Kuzmanović, Faculty of Philospohy, Osijek; Vesna Bedeković, MA, Management College of Virovitica
Six hats (see de Bono Hats). Some submissions were arranged as blue, white, red, green, black and yellow hats. Organisers asked authors to present their thesis in 10 minutes and to participate in the discussion. The following authors presented their thesis: Catherine Dean, Ida Somolanji, Maja Brust, Gordana Ivančić, Suzana Šijan, Jasna Šulentić Begić, Blanka Ljubenkov, Ana Osman, Željko Rački and Vesna Svalina. Each author had a different colour hat. Before each presentation students of Faculty of Education sang a song "Six hats" which was composed by Vesna Svalina and a lyricist was Ladislav Bognar.
World Cafe. Coloured cards with questions were set up at tables. At the entrance of the room each participant pulled out a blank sheet of coloured paper and joined the group with the same coloured paper. The facilitator of each group was an English speaker therefore she could be a translator during this activity. First, participants in groups discussed questions, and then they wrote ideas on a shared poster. After 20 minutes groups changed tables and continued with the discussion of another question. They again wrote their ideas on the poster where the ideas of the previous group had been captured. After the fourth exchange groups presented their posters.
Round table was thematic discussion according to participants’ interests. Topics for those discussions included:
Creativity in language teaching – facilitator was Lidija Dujić, Ph.D.
Creativity in professional development – facilitators were Kristina Škaler and Marica Zovko
Encouraging creativity in students - future teachers – facilitators were Snježana Kragulj and Karlo Kobaš
Research as a Creativity Support - facilitators were Jack Whitehead, Ph. D. and Marie Huxtable
Creative workshops demonstrated some possibilities of creativity in teaching and professional development. Workshops lasted for 90 minutes. Workshop facilitators utilised some of creative techniques to encourage participants creativity. The following workshops were held:
- Creativity in subject teaching – Vehid Ibraković, Sanja Vidović, Verica Kuharić
- Creative approac to reading – Emina Berbić-Kolar, Ph.D., Marija Matić
- Creativity in Croatian language classes – Irena Rimac, Milica Sabo, Marijeta Gvozdanović
- Creativity in junior primary school classes – Maja Martić, Željka Lovrić
- Becoming distant critical friends – Sanja Mandarić, Maja Vuka, Nataša Stanković
- Creativity in teacher’s professional development – Marina Ništ, Ružica Pažin Ilakovac, Ninočka Truck-Biljan
- Storytelling in teaching – Mario Gavran, Vesna Šimić, Blanka Berger
- Encouraging creativity in students – Zlata Popčević, Andrijana Štefančić, Jelena Bedeković
- Creativity in teaching maths – Nada Nikolić, Natalija Viduka, Vesna Saiter
- Creativity breaking out! Can we do it? – Sanja Španja, David Irving
Presentations. At the entry hall of the Town Theatre Renata Jukić, MA and Dijana Nazor set up an exhbition at which posters and pupils works were presented.
Surprise Activities. The conference participants were asked to create an object from materials which they got at the beginning of conference. They presented their creations in the school and then at the entrance of the Town Theatre.
The Conference was attended by more than hundred participants mostly from Croatia and from several countries like Ireland, Kenya and Great Britain.