The Courage to Let Go of Certainties: A Comparative Study Exploring Realities Relating to Creativity in Australian Secondary Schools

137 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2018

Date Written: May 2015


This study explores realities relating to creativity in the Australian educational system. Increasingly, creativity is seen to play a significant role in the development of technology, within the economy, our societies, and to individuals alike. National governments, such as that of Australia, have therefore begun to identify it as a vital element within educational policy documents (Melbourne Declaration). This study examines why, if at all, creativity in education is important to key stakeholders, where spaces that give rise to creative acts might be, and how creativity may lead to developmental transformation and change. Through the use of observations and narrative interviews, this study utilises a constructionist conceptualisation of creativity. The framework that is applied is based upon the work of Lassig and the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education to provide a unique comparative case study between two Australian secondary schools (one private and one public), and amongst key educational stakeholders (2009; 1999). Participants included policy makers, school administrators, teachers, and students to further contextualise each case. The findings suggest that while the creativity agenda and its development is seen as critical to the economy, the development of society and technology, and to individuals in discovering and realising their own inherent potentials, evidence of exactly how to best develop it, both at an institutional and personal level, was difficult to uncover. The absence of a shared discourse meant creativity was understood differently, not just at the schools, but between different stakeholders. Furthermore, due to the current emphasis placed on standardisation and testing, prioritisation of the creativity agenda was left largely ignored. In order to move forward, the creativity agenda must be a responsibility shared by all. Fundamental re-evaluations regarding what education seeks to achieve and how it goes about it is the first step. This involves developing a shared discourse, a recognition of the influence of politics, and a greater consideration for the impact that assessment has upon the ability of teachers to nurture creative learning environments. The next step is to implement a framework to support this.

Keywords: Education, Creativity, Standardization, Educational Development, School, Teaching and Learning, Comparative Education

Suggested Citation

Nicolacopoulos, Peter, The Courage to Let Go of Certainties: A Comparative Study Exploring Realities Relating to Creativity in Australian Secondary Schools (May 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Peter Nicolacopoulos (Contact Author)

University of Oslo ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavs plass
Oslo, N-0317

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