Wednesday, November 16, 2016

What Constitutes Creativity in Qualitative Research Teaching?

Here is a set of related sentences:

What constitutes creativity in teaching?

What constitutes creativity in research teaching?

What constitutes creativity in qualitative research teaching?

Like stair steps, each one brings me closer to the thing that is at the heart of what I do--teach qualitative research in as creative of a manner as possible.  But, what is that? 

There is creativity in teaching and research teaching, both of which are necessary and related, but then there is creativity in qualitative research teaching. 

Before we get too much further into this conversation, I should probably mention that I love teaching qualitative research.  Maybe it is not coincidental that generally when I am teaching qualitative research, I feel I am deep in the flow of creativity.  So, it would stand to reason if I looked more closely at what feels like flow, I might gain some insight into the elusive notion of creativity in qualitative research teaching. 

When I thought about digging deeper, however, I worried that there would be nothing there specific to qualitative research.  In other words, was I simply being a creative teacher and/or a creative research teacher?  Is that really the sum total of what is needed?  But I persisted and here is a list of things I can identity as part of my practice:

1.  I like my students.
2.  I like my subject:  qualitative research. 
3.  I have been reading about it for quite some time.
4.  I like the mundane parts of my craft as well as the elevated parts, that is, the tedium of organization is as likely to get my attention as the theory, and I consider them to be related.  You can't have one without the other.
5.  I like to find new ways to put my students in charge of the doing and thinking, so I can sit back and watch them make meaning. 
6.  I don't mind trying out new or risky instructional activities.
7.  I never seem to get tired of the excitement that comes when I see students making new discoveries and shifting their understanding of what research is or could be. 
8.  I love it when students go out and find new methodology resources. 
9.  I love it when students identify and develop new efficiencies with digital tools or other items that support their research?
10.  I like teaching students how to write up qualitative research.

Looking over this list of ten items, I am hard put to see how creativity in qualitative research teaching is different than creativity in teaching.  I am not sure if that is a good thing or bad. 

To another academic year of qualitative research students, I say, "Thank You!"  It gets better year by year. 

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