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Identity, Agency and Social Institutions in Educational Ethnography

ISBN: 978-0-76231-144-6, eISBN: 978-1-84950-297-9

ISSN: 1529-210X

Publication date: 30 December 2004


According to the National Advisory Committee Report on Creativity in Education (N.A.C.C.C.E./DfEE, 1999), creative learning involves thinking and acting in an imaginative and yet purposeful way, guided by an overall objective, and the report also argues that skilled teachers and well designed courses can help anyone to be a creative learner, by assisting them in developing original ideas in a positive way. However, the question is what happens to creative learning in education when the main education objective that guides students is to arrive at pre-set answers within an exchange-based, commodity form of engagement, solely for the purposes of passing a course with a good grade and obtaining an education qualification. These are the conditions of a banking education. The present chapter considers creativity under such conditions in two different classifications of laboratory work in science education, both of which have been identified from ethnographic data from 40 hours of participant observation in school laboratories at one main upper-secondary school site in Sweden in 1999, which was carried out as part of a one-year participant observation on a half-time basis at the school in question. Conversations with students and tutors there and from four other sites in 1999, 2000 and 2003 have been particularly important in the research.


Beach, D. (2004), "LABS AND THE QUALITY OF LEARNING IN SCHOOL SCIENCE: SCHOOLS, LABS AND CREATIVITY", Troman, G., Jeffrey, B. and Walford, G. (Ed.) Identity, Agency and Social Institutions in Educational Ethnography (Studies in Educational Ethnography, Vol. 10), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 141-162.

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