Creativity in the Malaysian ESL (English as a second language) curriculum: Policy and implementation

Title: Creativity in the Malaysian ESL (English as a second language) curriculum: Policy and implementation
Authors: Halim, Huzaina Abdul
Item Type: Thesis or dissertation
Abstract: The Malaysian English as a second language (ESL) Curriculum Specification states that “students should be able to express themselves creatively and imaginatively” (Curriculum Specification for English, p.21) and teachers are encouraged to develop learners’ imagination and creativity. However, there is tension between this policy and its implementation. In practice the focus is on examination grades, and consequently teaching mostly concentrates on knowledge transmission rather than on developing understanding. This approach does not appear to develop creativity or to comply with policy. This study examines how the government’s education policy on creativity is interpreted and implementedin the ESL curriculum. It takes a broad case-study approach, examining key stakeholders’ definitions of creativity and how these impact on policy implementation and exploring contextual factors, using a single representative school as a ‘working unit’ of ESL teaching. The research questions are: 1) How do different stakeholders define creativity? ; 2) How do different conceptions of creativity impact on policy implementation?; and 3) What are the contextual factors which impact the definition and understanding of creativity in the ESL curriculum? The key findings are that, while stakeholder groups have different definitions of creativity, these are overlapping and not problematic in practice. Contextual factors such as the rigid exam focus and limited time and resources present more significant barriers to promoting creativity.This is exacerbated by the fact that, while stakeholder groups share overlapping definitions of creativity, they do not all appreciate the difficulties of implementation. The UK Creative partnerships approach which brought in multiple types of creativity and creative people into schools for children is also discussed in comparison with the Malaysian approach which set out to add creativity to the curriculum. In conclusion, the policy appears ambitious and idealistic, limiting its chances of successful implementation. While defining creativity is not the problem, perhaps bringing people together to agree a consensually acceptable common definition might be useful, not because the definition itself is problematic, but because the process of discussion might make the issues of implementation more explicit to all concerned.
Content Version: Open Access
Issue Date: Nov-2015
Date Awarded: Sep-2016
Supervisor: Drage, Charles
Kingsbury, Martyn
Sponsor/Funder: Malaysia. Kementerian Pengajian Tinggi
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Department: School of Professional Development
Publisher: Imperial College London
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Qualification Name: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Appears in Collections:School of Professional Development PhD theses

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