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Durham e-Theses
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A study of some of the effects on children’s creative thinking of the discovery approach to mathematics in the primary school

Richards, P. N. (1970) A study of some of the effects on children’s creative thinking of the discovery approach to mathematics in the primary school. Masters thesis, Durham University.



To consider the nature of creative thinking and its relation to mathematics teaching, and to provide some objective assessments of the effect of a discovery approach on children’s creative thinking. Also to contribute some further evidence on the nature of creativity and its relation to other modes of thinking. Procedure. Tests of intelligence, creativity and mathematics were administered to 297 fourth year children from three carefully matched Junior Schools, in one of which the children had been taught for four years by a discovery approach to mathematics. Means, standard deviations and inter correlations were calculated for all 31 test scores within each school and for the complete sample of 265. In each case a factor analysis was carried out by both Principal Components and Varimax methods. A separate analysis was also carried out for the High I.Q. population. Results. Overall analysis. Over the whole range of intelligence there was evidence of a dimension of creative thinking which, though not independent of intelligence, existed as a consistent complementary activity. Furthermore, given a minimum I.Q. of 115 the creativity dimension and that located by the academic tests were relatively independent. There was also evidence, however, that the ability to perform well on creativity tests while consistently loading a 'creativity' factor is not entirely confined to that factor. 2. Discovery Approach Effects Six hypotheses, covering attitudes, creative thinking, understanding of mathematics, concept formation, arithmetic, and flexible and logical thinking suggested results which have been thought likely to arise from following a discovery approach. Five were rejected, and the other was upheld by only one of five creative thinking tests. In many ways however the experimental school's successful performance on the one creative thinking test was of greater importance than its proportion of the hypotheses suggests. The very satisfactory results from one of the control schools gave weight to the headmaster's policy of 'keeping a balance’. The study implies that teachers should be aware of the limitations of a discovery approach and should appraise the relative values of methods they adopt.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Education
Thesis Date:1970
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:53

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