New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Creative Problem Solving as a Tool for Developing Biology Teaching Skills

Merike Kesler, University of Helsinki Development Centre Opinkirjo (Finland)


The need for the study arises from the new Finnish national core curriculum, where creative and critical thinking are described as important skills for the future. Teachers and teacher education students need to know how to use and how to support creative problem solving in all subjects during the teaching and learning processes. Change requires using new teaching methods together with traditional ones. Theory-weighted teacher training does give not enough practical knowledge of process methods (such as project-based, inquiry-based, problem-based, or design-based)
As a part of a bigger project over 2012-2016 was designed a 3-step creative problem solving tool. This tool was used in designing a 6-week biology course for class teachers (N=30) in the teacher training department at University of Helsinki held in 2014. In every lesson methods of creative problem solving were used. A variety of evaluation methods, especially peer-evaluation, were employed during the course. The aim and the method during the course were based on a creative problem solving process.
The aim of this study was to find the key factors of creative problem solving process needed in teaching, learning and thinking, focusing particularly on biology teaching.
The preliminary analysis used inductive and deductive qualitative analysis of pre- and post-mind-maps.  Three areas improved: a) understanding of the creative problem solving method; b) characteristics of the process were identified; c) students’ personal development through reflection. The most important characteristics of the process that were mentioned were: a) dealing with the uncertainty; b) the significance of a creative atmosphere; and c) discussions and peer-evaluation. Students believed that their motivation during the course grew continuously: indeed, problem solving remained to the end the course.
This study encourages the practice of different teaching tools during pedagogical studies. Teaching itself should be innovative and there should be a place for pupils´ creativity.
Creative problem solving, teacher training, biology teaching, teaching methods

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