Using life-affirming values as a starting point, I conducted action research to investigate ways of enabling pupils to experience freedom of choice, and to participate creatively in class activities, thus allowing them to begin to enjoy the subject of agriculture. The research problem was: How to encourage pupils to independently and freely express creativity in the plant production classes.
On the basis of the research problem I set two main aims: (1) to encourage the pupils’ divergent thinking by using different creative techniques in my teaching and (2) to increase pupil satisfaction with the possibility of participation in the planned activities. I used the creative techniques of Provocation, Mind Maps, Brainstorming, Five Ws and a H, Random Stimuli, and Freedom of Choice in order to achieve these pre-set aims
This research demonstrates that the application of creative techniques is not enough to spur pupils’ creativity. There are other factors that influence pupils’ creativity, including the length of the lesson, the methods used in other teachers' classes, the pupils’ previous experience of creative activities, as well as the teacher's competence in encouraging creativity.
Freedom to choose activities has proved to be the most inspiring for the pupils. It was only when I gave the pupils freedom of choice that they defined problems relevant to themselves (the construction of a compost place and the production of a spice) and found appropriate solutions for these issues.
I intend to conduct further action research with the same pupils in the next school year. They will work on self-designed projects, of relevance to themselves as well as to the wider social context. It will be interesting to see whether the creative techniques will help in finding creative (original and appropriate) solutions to the problems that the pupils independently create.