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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparative study : two approaches to enhance creative problem-solving in grade 5 students Harris, Darlene Gloria


The purpose of the present exploratory study was to compare two approaches designed to enhance creative problem-solving: The Productive Thinking Program (PTP) and the Pre-Task Phase of the Chilliwack Creativity Program. The nature of this study was threefold: to investigate further the effectiveness of the PTP; to examine the ability of the Pre-Task Phase to meet its stated objectives; and, to compare the success of the PTP and the Pre-Task Phase as methods of enhancing creative problem-solving in six areas of student behavior. Pre and post-test scores for the variables of Reading Achievement (Sequential Tests of Educational Progress, STEP, Reading), Self-Concept and Attitudes Toward Problem-Solving (Sears/Spaulding Self-Concept Inventory), Guest ion-Asking (fluency on the Blank Riddle Problem), Problem-Solving Skills (question-asking, hypothesis-generation and total fluency on two complex and two real-life problems), and Creativity (Torrance Tests of Verbal and Figural Creative Thinking) were determined for 103 children in four fifth grade classes. One Control and one Experimental group existed in each of two elementary schools. Previous PTP research was replicated for the skills of question-asking and hypothesis-generation. Interesting and significant findings were produced in two controversial areas in the literature: verbal creativity and transfer of training to complex and real-life problem situations. The present study supported the literature re the positive relationship between the classroom climate and creative functioning of students, as well as furnishing the first evidence of the success of the Pre-Task Phase in facilitating the techniques of student question-asking. The data indicated that training in both the FTP and the Pre-Task Phase was successful in enhancing the creative problems-solving ability of students for the majority of variables and sub-variables assessed. Three of these measures reached statistical significance: complex question-asking, real-life hypothesis-generation, and verbal fluency, flexibility, and originality. The Pre-Task Phase appeared to be superior to the PTP for all variables examined, two of which reached statistical significance: reading achievement; and creativity for verbal fluency and verbal and figural originality. As a result of the analysis, it was concluded that the Pre-Task Phase provided a successful method for increasing both the skills and related attitudes of creative problem-solving for grade five students of all ability levels, housed in typical heterogeneous classrooms. It was also concluded that the Pre-Task Phase served a valuable purpose as the introductory or orientation phase of the Chilliwack Creativity Program. In spite of the comparative lack of success of the Productive Thinking Program, because of the subjective judgment of the writer and the positive in-put of the participating teachers, it is suggested that the PTP remain as one of the teaching strategies utilized during the Pre-Task Phase. It was recommended that subsequent research direct itself to further examination of the effects of the Pre-Task Phase on classroom environment and interpersonal relations, the total Chilliwack Creativity Program and on reading achievement.

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