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Creative Teaching for Equality and Equity Across Cultures
Ananda Kumar Palaniappan1, Chanisa Tantixalerm2,
Adelina Asmawi1, Lau Poh Li1, Pradip Kumar Mishra1
1
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
2
Abstract
Addressing issues relating to equality and equity in educational experiences requires creative
approaches and strategies. Often teachers are unable to address this aspect of their teaching.
However, creative teachers, given their creative predispositions, might be better able to address
these issues as they tend to generate more creative teaching approaches. Very few studies have
investigated how creative teachers address these issues in their various forms and across cultures.
There is a need to address situations where some learners require more challenging tasks than
others and also when learners are culturally diverse. Creative teachers may be best placed to
address these issues since they would be better able to come up with creative teaching strategies.
There may also be cultural differences in teaching strategies since teacher-learner interactions
have been found to differ across cultures. In this study, creative lecturers in Malaysia and
Thailand were first identified using student ratings. These lecturers were then observed in their
classrooms and interviewed on how they addressed issues relating to providing equitable
education and the creative strategies they employed. Focus group discussions with their learners
were also held to triangulate the findings. Findings show that creative teachers address issues of
equality and equity in six areas, namely, Resources, Teaching strategies, Assessment, Language,
Activities and Open-mindedness. Creative teachers are able to creatively design or adapt
resources and activities which the diverse students are free to choose according to their needs.
They have a repertoire of teaching strategies to accommodate students’ learning styles and
employ culturally responsive communication styles. Being open-minded, they allow a range of
assessment approaches that cater to student diversity. Although Malaysian and Thai creative
lecturers address equality and equity issues in similar areas, their approaches in executing these
creative strategies differ. These findings suggest that it may be necessary for teacher educators in
Malaysia and Thailand to look into these six areas which may help them to address equity and
equality issues creatively among learners. This paper concludes with some recommendations for
further research.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
Corresponding author:
Prof. Dr. Ananda Kumar Palaniappan
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling,
Faculty of Education,
50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Email: [email protected]
Telephone: +6-019-9310956
Highlights:
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

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Creative lecturers addressed equality and equity in twenty six areas.
Six main themes were derived from these areas
Resources, Teaching strategies and Activities were identified as the main themes.
Assessment, Language, and Open-mindedness were also thematically important.
Malaysian and Thai lecturers used similar strategies, but with different approaches.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
Creative Teaching for Equality and Equity across Cultures
1. Introduction
The concept of equality and equity in education has contributed vastly to the humanistic viewpoint
of teaching and learning in schools and institutions of higher learning. This is in line with
Aristotle’s view of treating equals equally and unequals unequally. Teachers are expected to design
creative and innovative teaching and learning experiences to cater for all learners taking into
account the various areas of differences. However, this is not the case in most schools and
institutions of higher learning (Derounian, 2011). For example, academically advanced learners
are preferred to those who are not. Learners who are creative or question the status quo (Beghetto,
2007) appear unappealing to teachers (Cheng, 2011; Westby & Dawson, 1995) while those who
are conforming are held in high regard. In some cases, slow learners and even the gifted are
neglected (Yewchuk, 1998) sometimes due to the lack of knowledge and skills on how to cater for
them (Munro, 2012). Although teachers may try their best to cater for all learners and also address
their individual differences, this can be very challenging (Daniels, 2013). Creative teachers are
able to generate and implement ideas to ensure there is equality and equity in the classroom
however formidable the task (Reilly, Lilly, Bramwell, & Kronish, 2011). When it comes to
curriculum, teaching and assessment, they know that one size does not fit all.
While a number of studies have been done on creative teaching (e.g., Horng, Hong, Lin,
Lin, Chang, & Chu, 2005; Rinkevich, 2011) and on equality and equity in education (e.g.,
Blanchet-Cohen, & Reilly, 2013; Reed & Oppong, 2005), hardly any studies deal with how
creative teachers address equality and equity issues in the classroom. A review of literature has
revealed a dearth of information on how creative university lecturers address equality and equity
issues in their classes, especially in institutions of higher learning where increasing learner
diversity resulted from internationalization of education. In this paper we aim at filling this gap in
knowledge and stimulate further research by observing and interviewing creative lecturers. These
lecturers have been nominated as creative by their students, for the creative strategies employed to
ensure equality and equity in their classes. Secondly, we elucidate the cultural differences in how
creative lecturers address equality and equity as certain cultures may be sensitive to these issues
in schools (Misawa, 2010; Paul-Binyamin & Reingold, 2013). Our findings may have implications
for teachers, curriculum developers and policy planners in a multicultural education system.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
1.1 Research questions
Based on the preceding rationale of the study, the research questions that this study intends to
address are:
i)
ii)
2.
In what areas do creative teachers address equity and equality issues?
Are there cultural differences in these areas of creative teaching between Malaysian
and Thai creative lecturers?
Creative Teaching
Creative teaching has been defined in varied ways (see Gibson, 2010, for example). This could be
due to the nebulous nature of creativity itself (McWilliam & Haukka, 2008) resulting in a lack of
a universally accepted definition of creativity (Clouder, Oliver, & Tait, 2008; Pope, 2005; Reid &
Petocz, 2004; Sousa, 2007). Most definitions have focused on teaching creativity (i.e., teaching
creative thinking with the aim of enhancing creative thinking skills among students). Another aspect
that has been neglected in most definitions of creative teaching is “teaching creatively”.
Teaching creatively is defined as a process of incorporating creative processes and components of
creativity in the teaching process. In also incorporates the lecturers’ creative personality
characteristics and creative thinking processes which they use to design the instructional strategies
to enhance learning and motivate students. Examples of creative teaching would be activities that
promote “creative problem solving, creative association, invention, creative imagery, and various
forms of divergent thinking” (Chan, 2007, p. 5).
Hence, teaching creatively is defined as a process of designing and strategizing instruction such
that it facilitates thinking skills especially creative thinking skills among students. For example,
lecturers teaching creativity to enhance originality in thinking in a language class may ask students
to develop a new ending for a favorite story or rewrite an ending to a story they know. It can also
be a task to put students in the characters’ shoes and ask them to look at the piece of literature from
their own perspective.
Hence, creative teaching is now seen as both teaching creatively and teaching creativity
(NACCCE, 1999). Based on these two aspects of creative teaching, Palaniappan (2008) proposed
a systems model of creative teaching (Figure 1). This holistic approach is aimed at enabling
lecturers, trainers, school and university administrators as well as policy makers to direct their
attention to a holistic view of creative teaching instead of focusing only on the lecturer behaviors
and activities in the class.
In the systems view of creative teaching, for creative teaching to take place, it is crucial that all
significant factors affecting creative teaching are taken into account when designing the creative
teaching and learning process. These significant factors can be categorized as those within the
school environment and those outside it (Cheng, Chuang & Bennington, 2011). Significant
factors within the school environment include the learners, lecturers, curriculum and lecturer
evaluations by the administrators (Davidovitch & Milgram, 2006). The success of any creative
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
teaching strategy depends on the learner characteristics including, among others, the learners’
creative personality characteristics, creative motivation and creativity.
Figure 1. A systems view of Creative Teaching model (Palaniappan, 2008)
The lecturer variable is a crucial component in creative teaching. Many factors relating to the
lecturer determine whether creative teaching will take place or not. Among them are lecturers’
personality characteristics (Cachia & Ferrari, 2010) including their level of independence, attitudes
(Davis et al., 2014), and motivation toward teaching creativity and creatively, lecturers’ own level
of creativity, and their pedagogical experiences.
Curriculum plays an equally important role. It should set the stage for creative teaching. There
should be a deliberate attempt to provide for creative presentation of content and also to enhance
the students’ creativity. For example, the curriculum should indicate for each sections of the topic
being taught, the various pedagogical methods lecturers can use or provide opportunities for
lecturers to use their own creativity to explore other strategies to present the material.
All three above mentioned factors depend on the school environment. The school environment
encompasses other lecturers and colleagues, the principal, and other students as well as the policies
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
governing the day to day running of the school and school infrastructure made available to the
lecturers and students. For example, support from other lecturers form a valuable source of creative
energy for the lecturer. A supportive principal who is willing to allow lecturers to try
unconventional teaching methods is also crucial. Creative students also provide the creative
climate that lecturers and other students need to grow creatively. The way students are treated will
determine the creative attitude they can develop in solving any problem or brain storming any
issue. A lecturer-centered classroom with creative teaching will fail to generate creativity in
students unless these students are empowered to try out the creative components in every lesson
on their own. Therefore the learner component in the systems view model is as important as the
lecturer or the curriculum factor. Students grouping together to think of an easier way to raise
funds for a good cause or design a new way to build an intelligent traffic system for the local town
council are just some of the creative activities that can be organized.
Among the factors outside the school environment vital for enabling creative teaching in school
are the parents, government policies, the future employers and the industry demands on the
schools. Parents play a vital role in creative teaching. Lecturers wishing to take students on field
trips which expose students to a multitude of stimuli crucial for creative thinking would need
parental support.
Government policies relating to education especially in curriculum development and reference text
for lecturers and textbooks for students play an equally important role. Lecturers may not be
motivated to teach creatively if they are constrained by the curriculum and the strict policies
regarding testing and evaluation. Research has shown that rigorous testing may kill students’
creativity as they will be focusing more on studying for examinations rather than reflecting and
exploring the world around them purposefully for the benefit of society.
Employer or industry needs determine what is emphasized in schools especially in industry
oriented schools. If employers only seek creative and innovative individuals, the government and
universities will be duty bound to produce creative and innovative employees. For example, if IT
companies need employees who are able to foresee future software and hardware needs and design
innovative software and hardware, they will only seek out and employ creative individuals.
3. Creative Teaching for equality and equity
Issues relating to equality and equity as well as the provision of more equitable opportunities to
all learners have continually shaped educational policies and teacher education programs. All
learners are equally able to succeed when given the most appropriate instruction and classroom
environment. This humanistic view has resulted in inclusive education for the whole range of
learners, from the gifted / talented to children with special needs and also culturally, linguistically
and socio-economically disadvantaged learners. However, this is not easily achieved in the
classroom, because in reality, teachers and lecturers often have to teach a large number of diverse
learners with limited time and resources (Achinstein, & Athanases, 2005). Teachers need to be
creative in completing the content and catering for learner differences all within a limited class
time.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
Creative teaching has been defined in various ways (see Gibson, 2010). This partly stems from the
fact that there is no universally accepted definition of creativity (Clouder, Oliver, & Tait, 2008;
Pope, 2005; Prentice, 2000; Reid & Petocz, 2004; Sousa, 2007). Creativity has been defined as the
process, a personality characteristic or the production of something original and useful (Rasulzada
& Dackert, 2009). Rhodes’s (1961) theoretical framework derived from the classification of
creativity definitions comprised four dimensions, namely Process, Person, Product and Press or
the 4P’s. His Process, Person and Product dimensions are similar to those mentioned by Rasulzada
and Dackert (2009) while the Press dimension refers to conditions facilitating creativity. Rhode’s
(1961) model provided valuable input for the Creative Teaching Model developed by Palaniappan
(2008) which also incorporated Torrance’s (1990) creativity dimensions of Originality, Fluency,
Flexibility and Elaboration. This model provided the theoretical basis for the creative teaching
framework for this study.
The National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE) report (1999)
has defined creative teaching as comprising teaching creatively and teaching for creativity. The
former involves incorporating creative teaching strategies while the latter involves strategies aimed
at enhancing learner creativity. Creative teachers tend to exhibit both in different degrees
especially in addressing issues relating to equality and equity. For example, some creative teachers
focus more on using novel and innovative strategies to attract student attention (Lou, Chen, Tsai,
Tseng, & Shih, 2012) while others choose strategies aimed at enhancing creative thinking skills,
such as inquiry-based teaching (DeHaan, 2009) and problem-based learning (Awang & Ramly,
2008). Other researchers emphasize on developing students’ creative personality characteristics
such as being inquisitive, taking responsible risks (Costa & Kallick, 2009) and being curious
(Cheng, 2011). Developed from a comprehensive review of literature, Palaniappan’s (2008) model
provides a holistic view of creative teaching that informed this study on creative ways teachers
address equality and equity issues. These reviews also revealed some common characteristics of
creative teaching that appear to be relevant in addressing the equality and equity issues in
education.
3.1 Creative teaching strategies for equality and equity
Literature has shown that creative teachers do things differently and more efficiently in many
areas. They tend to be able to use the right teaching strategy taking into account the need to address
individual differences and lack of time and resources (Ambrose, 2005). Creative lecturers have a
natural tendency to cater to diverse learners (Rejskind, 2000; Simplicio, 2000). They are better
able to help learners with diverse learning styles. This is because some learners learn better with
just oral explanations while others require real-life examples, hands-on practical activities in the
language they understand or some forms of analogy to understand concepts (Grainger, Barnes, &
Scoffham, 2004). Creative teachers are flexible enough to generate various forms of teaching aids
that facilitate learning among diverse learners (Grainger et al., 2004). Others empower learners
with freedom to choose materials that interest them (Gibson, 2010). Their flexible class structure
allows them to cater for diverse learners (Davis, Jindal-Snape, Digby, Howe, Collier, & Hay,
2014).
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
Events involving people from the creative arts (Jeffrey, 2006) like artists and sculptors, are also
used in the school curriculum to cater for creative learners. Situations encouraging teacher-learner
dialogue so that learners find their own ways to solve problems and produce creative products also
cater for learners who need challenging tasks (Tanggard, 2011). Teachers who use different
teaching modalities, analogies, metaphors (Gibson, 2010) and other strategies to cater for all types
learners tend to foster equality in the class (Grainger et al., 2004). Some creative teachers’ playful
nature (Grainger et al., 2004; Kangas, 2010) allows them to explore various creative strategies to
get learner attention. Creating classroom conditions which support different learner abilities is one
way creative teachers can address equity in the classroom. These strategies including provision of
cognitively challenging activities in a student-centered teaching environment have been found to
enhance academic achievement (Stritikus & Varghese, 2010).
3.2 Lecturer-learner interactions
Lecturers’ language, attitudes and behaviors play an important role in addressing equity and
equality issues in the classroom. Creative lecturers are able to harness their creativity to address
these issues even if they have to follow very rigid curriculum requirements (Sawyer, 2004). The
lecturers’ body language also indicate that they appreciate and value students’ creativity (Eason,
Giannangelo, & Franceschini III, 2009).
Using different languages which the diverse students are familiar with helps to enhance positive
classroom experiences (Stritikus & Varghese, 2010). Creative teachers who are familiar with these
languages use different languages to cater for their linguistically diverse students. Often, creative
lecturers do this spontaneously and with minimal effort. They also have high expectations of being
able to address diverse students’ needs and are able to teach students in the best way possible
(Cooley, 2007). They tend to adopt a culturally responsive communication style (Brown, 2007;
Gay, 2000) where they use their own cultural knowledge of ethnically diverse students together
with their own prior experiences to create an equitable classroom environment.
3.3 Assessment
Lecturers always face a dilemma as to whether they should utilize traditional modes of assessment
or use innovative assessment approaches taking into account learner diversity. Creative teachers
have been seen to address issues relating to equality and equity in assessment in original ways
(Reilly, Lilly, Bramwell, & Kronish, 2011; Woods, & Jeffrey, 1996). They tend to choose from a
repertoire of varied assessment strategies. They delight in giving learners the freedom and
flexibility to choose how they wish to be assessed (Gibson, 2010) or in modifying their assessment
strategies to suit learner needs and learning styles. Instead of the traditional assessment methods
such as end of term exams, they use innovative and authentic assessment that are intellectually
challenging and relevant to daily life issues faced by learners (Ramsden, 2003). Some creative
lecturers give students freedom to choose assignments and also how they wish to deliver them,
either via presentation, digital reports or as exhibits for peer evaluation.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
3.4 Creative teaching across cultures
Many countries have taken various initiatives to ensure equality and equity in education at the
policy level. In Malaysia, the National Education Blueprint (2013 – 2025) (National Education
Blueprint, 2012) is aimed at ensuring equal access to education regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, disabilities and location. In Australia, the Melbourne Declaration on Educational
Goals for Young Australians (2011) provided access to high quality education for all students. In
the Thai context, the constitution emphasizes people’s rights to access quality education.
Thailand’s efforts to maintain the rights of all people to equal access to quality education are
evidenced in the enactment of the Persons with Disabilities Empowerment Act of 2007 which
provides legal measures against all types of discrimination (NEP, 2007). Despite these initiatives,
equity and equality issues have consistently been highlighted in the mass media and have been
found to have worsened (Hazri & Raman, 2012; Levin, 2003; Mohd Roslan, 2010). There is a need
for lecturers to understand these issues and how they can address them creatively since “capacity
for creative thought and action” is viewed as the engine for cultural change and development
(NACCCE, 1999, p. 6).
Previous studies have shown that there are cultural differences in creativity (Chan & Chan, 1999;
Cheng, 2004; Palaniappan, 1996) and creative teaching (Cheng, 2011). Cultural differences have
also been found in the way we view issues of equality and equity (Wiseman, 2008). Hence, it is
envisaged that there may be cultural differences in the way creative teachers approach issues of
equality and equity. However, there is no research documentation of the creative ways lecturers in
different cultures address equality and equity issues in higher education. In this era of globalization
and diverse student population in institutions of higher learning, it is imperative that lecturers are
knowledgeable in addressing equality and equity issues in all aspects of teaching. Hence, this study
compared Malaysian and Thai creative lecturers in their creative teaching and the strategies they
employed to enhance student creativity. Understanding the various strategies used in different
cultures may provide new insights into the creative ways equity and equality issues are addressed
in institutions of higher learning.
4. Methodology
For the purpose of this study, four Malaysian universities (two public and two private) and one
Thai public university were chosen. Creative lecturers in these universities were first identified by
students who nominated lecturers they considered creative using the Lecturer Nomination
Questionnaire (LNQ). Lecturers securing the highest votes were then approached to seek their
willingness to participate in this study. On obtaining their permission, the classes of 12 creative
lecturers in Malaysia and four creative lecturers in Thailand were observed by the researchers
trained in the area of creative teaching and teaching for creativity. These researchers used the Class
Observation Schedule (COS) to record the lecturers’ strategies in addressing issues relating to
equality and equity. These creative lecturers were then interviewed using a Lecturer Interview
Protocol (LIP) consisting of some open-ended questions on their teaching strategies and the
reasons for using them. Four students from each of these lecturers’ classes volunteered to be in a
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
focus group discussion; they provided valuable information for triangulation as well as
confirmation of the lecturers’ creative teaching practices employed to address issues relating to
equality and equity.
All classroom observations, interviews and focus group discussions were audio-recorded with the
permission of the lecturers and students respectively as per the ethics committee’s approval. They
were then transcribed and then cross-checked with the recordings by other researchers in the team
for transcription accuracy.
4.1 Data analyses
The transcriptions were first open-coded using the constant comparison methodology (Glaser &
Strauss, 1967). Open-codes created as ‘units’ (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) depicted all instances of
equity and equality issues addressed by these lecturers. These open-codes were then grouped
together into axial codes. Axial codes of all lecturers were tabulated and common themes were
then identified. These themes were then referred to the original transcriptions to allow for
reflexivity. Member checks were used for additional confirmability and to enhance credibility. To
ensure anonymity, the Malaysian creative lecturers were identified as M1 through M12 and the
creative Thai lecturers were identified as T1 through T4.
5. Findings
In order to answer the first research question: In what areas do creative teachers address equity
and equality issues, the lecturers were observed and interviewed. This was followed by focus group
discussions with a selected group of students. The transcripts were first open-coded. This opencoding procedure for all transcripts of the creative Malaysian and Thai lecturers yielded 26 axial
codes. These axial codes were then named as follows: 1) Teaching aids, 2) Teaching style, 3)
Assessment, 4) Lecturer Language, 5) Learner language, 6) Materials presentation, 7) Access to
resources, 8) Choice of activities, 9) Tactfulness, 10) Audiovisuals, 11) Interactions, 12) Learner
Attitude, 13) Teach to ability, 14) Technology, 15) References, 16) Learner diversity, 17) Course
materials, 18) Learner sharing, 19) Out of class teaching, 20) Technology for assessment, 21)
Flexibility in assessment, 22) Open-mindedness in assessment, 23) Assessment through play, 24)
Use of rewards, 25) Needs-based activities and 26) Challenging activities.
Based on the contexts in which they appeared, these axial codes which show areas where
creative lecturers addressed equity and equality issues are defined as follows:
1) Teaching aids refers to how materials and tools are created and adapted based on individual
differences
2) Teaching style refers to how lecturers teach to individual learning styles thus addressing equity
in the class.
3) Assessment refers to how lecturers use creative ways to fairly assess learners.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
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4) Lecturer language refers to how lecturers creatively use non-discriminatory language.
5) Learner language comprises ways lecturers creatively address learners’ language biasness.
6) Material presentation refers to creative ways materials are presented to address equality and
equity among diverse learners.
7) Access to resources refers to how lecturers creatively modify materials to make them accessible
to learners with varying capabilities.
8) Choice of activities refers to how lecturers allow learners to choose activities to address their
preferences and needs.
9) Tactfulness refers to how lecturers creatively promote positive images by maintaining closeness
and fairness among diverse learners.
10) Audiovisuals refers to how lecturers minimize bias in the audiovisuals used.
11) Interactions comprises all efforts by lecturers to reduce bias and prejudice in lecturer – learner
interactions.
12) Learner attitude refers to creative ways lecturers address learners’ discriminatory attitudes in
class.
13) Teach to ability refers to how lecturers creatively teach according to learners’ abilities.
14) Technology refers to how lecturers creatively use computer technology suitable to each
individual.
15) References encompass examples from diverse cultures in the class that the lecturers use
creatively.
16) Learner diversity refers to how lecturers build on learner differences in the classroom.
17) Course materials refers to how lecturers creatively include various differences in culture in
their course materials or lesson plans.
18) Learner sharing refers to how lecturers creatively elicit experiences from the diverse learners
to be shared in class.
19) Out of class teaching refers to how lecturers creatively use their time and resources to cater for
individual learners’ needs outside class time.
20) Technology for assessment refers to the lecturers’ creative use of computer technology for
assessment.
21) Flexibility in assessment refers to lecturers’ flexibility in allowing learners to creatively choose
and complete assignments.
22) Open-mindedness in assessment refers to lecturer's consideration of all answers.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
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23) Assessment through play refers to assessment which is carried out through games and play.
24). Rewards in activities refer to how creative lecturers use rewards in an activity to motivate
students with different motivational needs.
25) Needs-based activities refer to how lecturers creatively design activities that are suitable for
learners’ strengths and weaknesses.
26) Challenging activities refer to how lecturers prepare creative activities which challenge
different types of learners.
5.1 Themes
From the axial codes and the re-analyses of the transcripts and open-codes, six common themes
of how creative lecturers address equity and equality emerged. These were:
5.1.1 Resources
Resources comprises the following axial codes (the numbers in parenthesis indicate the numbers
given to the axial code above): Teaching aids (1), Access to resources (7), Audiovisuals (10),
Technology (14) and Course materials (17).
This theme encompasses teaching aids created for use during lectures and how they were made
accessible so that learners with different preferences are given the freedom to choose these
resources. Both Malaysian and Thai lecturers creatively used a variety of resources in their classes.
For example, in addressing equity in the class, M3 used magic to teach learners who have difficulty
in understanding concepts and M1, a Malaysian Physics lecturer at a private university, used the
solar sail as an analogy to teach students who had difficulty in understanding ‘magnitude’.
.. to teach magnitude you know, got calculations and all that… Just get them
to understand… I show them a Star Wars video and talked about solar sail … the
learners feel excited about learning. (M1, Interview)
Similarly, a creative lecturer in Thailand, T2, used an onion as an analogy to explain the concept
of love in her poetry class.
I chose this poem “Onion” because the day we had this lesson was close to
Valentine’s Day. I wanted to use a love theme. This poem was not too difficult, it
showed two things that do not really go together. So, I think this created an
opportunity to think. They had to think of what the two things represented and how
could they go together. There was no right or wrong answer. It is up to imagination
and interpretation. I wanted to show them that something different could be
possible. We don’t have to look at it the way that other people do. (T2, Interview)
This is similar to the common creative ideas generating technique called Forced Relationship or
Forced Analogy, from Koestler’s bisociation approach (Koestler, 1964).
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To address equality, creative lecturers choose or adapt teaching aids to suit all learners however
diverse they may be. For example, a Thai lecturer described how she used worksheets, station
games, pins, candies as well as little trumpets for the diverse learners including individuals with
visual impairment.
Thinking about how I came up with an activity…in this class, I knew the content I
have to teach, what things my learners like, weakness, strengths. Learners were also
from different years. Some were quiet. Two learners had visual impairments. I used
materials that I can reuse or use for different purposes. (T2, Interview)
Creative lecturers also provided access to resources through digital technology. For example, M10
used religious motivational videos in his classroom to address equity. Another lecturer, M5,
allowed students to choose pictures and websites containing the designs of different cars currently
in the market. These gave opportunities for different learners to explore various designs of their
own interest which are relevant for the future.
M5 gives examples for everything. He shows fascinating pictures. He always encourages
us to access websites of automotive designers…automotive design because we’re taking
that course now. He always says that you have to search for ideas…for things related to
this subject and asks questions that we have to think on our own. (A focus group discussion)
5.1.2 Teaching Strategies
This theme which encompasses the teaching strategies used to achieve lecture objectives includes
the following axial codes: Teaching style (2), Material presentation (6), Teach to ability (13),
Learner diversity (16), and Out of class teaching (19).
The Malaysian and Thai lecturers used a variety of creative ways to address inequality and inequity
in their classes. For example, a Malaysian lecturer addressed the needs of shy students as well as
students with diverse academic abilities using a variety of strategies while a Thai lecturer designed
strategies based on students’ learning styles.
There are some shy students at the back...we have good students, average students
and poor students. Good students, they will find the knowledge. The average
students, almost 80% or 70% of them… if you help them a little bit, you can really
help them. The poorest group needs more motivation…you give them some advice,
encouragement, they will slowly change their attitude and look for more things
themselves. (M3, Interview)
Teachers have different teaching styles. These diverse pedagogies will make a
difference to learners’ learning. Teachers have to think of how they can use
pedagogy to positively impact learners’ learning who are different in styles and
needs. (T2, Interview)
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There were some who built on learner diversity by spontaneously using examples from countries
where their learners originate to explain issues or subject matter. These findings were also
triangulated by focus group learners.
M1 will invite Korean learners to come in front and present their ideas…their points
of view on things like policy [sic] they have in their countries. She just wants us to
see a clear picture or comparison of what is happening in Korea and what is
happening in Malaysia. She did it in creative way. (A focus group student)
To capture the attention of students who find lectures uninteresting, M2 recounted his own
experiences with his creative teachers. Similarly, some creative Thai lecturers like T4, narrated
stories of their experiences.
Because students must feel what they are learning is going to be implemented in
their outside world, I will teach [what] will have an impact on their working life. I
had once worked as an auditor, so I relate my lessons to my experiences with my
working life. (M2, Interview)
T4 helps us understand through her experiences. I like to be in her class because
she always tells stories from her experiences. It wasn’t like studying in most classes
where the lecturers sit and explain slides. (A focus group learner)
To enhance student understanding of what future cars should look like, M5 got students to use the
current models and modify them to design future cars. Similarly, a Thai lecturer used cartoons to
help improve learners’ understanding of the subject matter.
I believe that cartoons yield a variety of interpretation. [From] just one cartoon,
people can see and interpret what it conveys to them differently. Some people may
find a cartoon very funny, while others find that it is not. So, the learners were
allowed to see the cartoons from their perspectives. The cartoons that I used have
no cultural boundaries and the language was not difficult…some cartoons don’t
even have written language but can imply so many ideas. (T2, Interview)
Creative lecturers also used authentic activities in teaching English especially to those who are less
proficient in the language. For example, a creative Thai lecturer, T2, got her learners to go to a
shopping complex and interview English speaking foreigners.
Actually in most classes she teaches, she brings so many activities. Sometimes I
feel overwhelmed in a good way. But it was fun. Once we went to a shopping
complex (Jamjuri Square) to interview foreigners in English. First I was
embarrassed. Later, I found this a very fun thing to do. It is like once we have tried,
the rest was getting easier and easier. (A focus group student)
Another innovative strategy to help learners reflect on the lecture is to give incomplete notes as
handouts for them to fill in and this motivated them to focus more on the lectures.
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
T3 always leaves blank parts for us to fill. I think if we get the handouts with
everything in it, we might not pay much attention during the class. This way, we
have to listen carefully and pay more attention. (A focus group student)
Another creative strategy used by Malaysian lecturers to cater for learners of different abilities is
to get students to discuss in groups to come up with answers. These answers were evaluated by
other
groups.
M6’s class today is very interesting because actually we can see a lot of
participation from the students and the interaction between us. (A focus group
student)
Some lecturers’ strategy was to allow students to make mistakes since they regard making
mistakes as part of the learning and growing process. This was voiced out by students in their
focus group discussions about their creative lecturer:
Not to make a mistake is a mistake. So any teacher who gives you that comfortable
room to make mistakes and to learn from mistakes is a great teacher … is a creative
teacher. (A focus group student)
5.1.3 Assessment
The Assessment theme refers to instances where lecturers creatively use various assessment
methods to cater for different learner needs. Axial codes that represent this theme are: Assessment
(3), Technology for assessment (20), Flexibility in Assessment (21), Open-mindedness in
assessment (22), and Assessment through play (23). This involves the use of assessment methods
that are fair to everyone. For example, M2, an engineering lecturer, used a self-created Random
Matrix Number Selector to ensure all learners got an equal chance to answer his questions and be
assessed. He points out:
…when we want to select a student to write the solution, I select them randomly
instead of picking the learners. … to make the teaching have more variation… to
make it more interactive so that the learner will not feel bored …because I want to
make the class different than the others (M2, Interview)
Another lecturer assessed students’ assignments which were chosen by the students themselves.
I don’t always tell them what I want. I want them to explore ….. (M1, Interview)
This is further concurred by students in the focus group discussion: We can use whatever materials
we want. So that’s what we like…she always gives us freedom…gives us a chance to find out
ourselves how should we do it.
Some lecturers considered both right and wrong answers. M6, for example, set challenging tasks
and welcomed both answers:
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
You just throw them at the deep end of the pool. If you are right, great! If you are
wrong, I’m here! Don’t worry. They are happy. (M6, Interview)
Similarly the Thai lecturers also showed openness when assessing learners.
What I did was I ask the whole class to answer different questions, if some of them
gave wrong answers, nothing happens [it’s ok] … other people would then give
more answers until someone gets the right one. I focus on “just speak out”. It can
be right or wrong, that’s fine. They don’t have to feel bad for giving wrong answers.
(T2, Interview)
Some lecturers used creative assessment methods that appeal to some students. One example is
the use of crossword puzzles for both learning and assessment.
I used to make crossword quizzes. Although they learned about science, crosswords
can help them remember vocabularies or concepts. I decided which words they need
to know and selected them to put in each set of crossword. Then I provided them
clues. I have both groups, having high and low scores. We always have to make
changes to our teaching. (T4, Interview)
5.1.4 Language
Language refers to the axial codes relating to Learner attitude (12), Tactfulness (9), Learner
language (5), and Lecturer language (4). Creative lecturers use words that encourage and
acknowledge learners’ ideas even if they are not aligned with theirs. They are also mindful of their
classroom discourse to maintain equity.
… we can’t kill the student’s idea, and say, “This is not right. And my idea is right.
I – I don’t think I will do that….Some learners if you tell them this is wrong … that
is wrong… they become less confident. (M1, Interview)
Using friendly language to build cordial relationship with culturally diverse learners is one of the
ways creative lecturers endear their students. This is common for both Malaysian and Thai creative
lecturers. In the Thai context, friendly lecturers refer to themselves as “teacher” rather than “I” and
the students as “learners” and not “you”. In one of the focus group discussions, this was mentioned
about T4:
This lecturer calls herself “teacher” and calls us “learners”, while some lecturers
use “I” and “you” which create distant feeling between us. I am afraid to ask
questions. (A focus group student)
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
In the Malaysian context, M8 switches from Malay to English and vice versa to cater for students
who are linguistically diverse.
And by the end of the class, we actually understood what she was trying to teach in
her lesson today. And the second, I would say that she’s bilingual. Ok, no doubt
that not all students can converse in English. So she talks a bit about the topic in
English but she elaborates and explains in BM so that everyone may understand the
subject. (A focus group student)
Creative lecturers also use non-verbal language to be fair to all students in the class. To show that
all students are important to her, one creative lecturer moves around the class.
If I’m standing on one side, I might psychologically affect students on the other
side who might think that I favor one group and I’m neglecting the others….. I must
be seen to be a person of impartiality. (M8, Interview)
Creative lecturers are also flexible in the classroom. Some allow students to use their preferred
language for easy communication and better understanding. For example, students in the focus
group mentioned that their lecturer, M7, allowed them to speak in Malay as well as in English as
long as they are able to communicate well.
Allowing learners to not only talk but also listen to others’ ideas is a creative pedagogical practice.
This was highlighted in a focus group discussion.
We learned to listen to other people’s ideas. Learned to find the best solutions
among different ideas. The lecturer accepted our ideas… she has never said it is
right or wrong. (T1, Focus group student)
5.1.5 Activities
Activities refer to how lecturers creatively use resources to design activities which the students are
free to choose. This is represented by these axial codes: Choice of activities (8), Rewards in
activities (24), Needs based activities (25), and Challenging activities (26). In a focus group
discussion one learner in M4’s class excitedly described her experience:
I’m free to do anything I want…I can test out with my design with the... ‘Mentor
Graphics’ software which is available in the Intel Microelectronics Lab. I can test
out all the designs. I actually did around three to four models before I made the
final one. (M4, Focus group student)
In another focus group discussion from M10’s class, a learner described how other learners in her
class were given the freedom to create materials according to their interests:
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
In his lab about dyes, for example. The lecturer said we can play around with dyes
and colors … this is how people dye clothes. Yes there’s hair dye too. We also
made lipstick, makeup and others. (A focus group student)
Some lecturers also used rewards creatively in selected activities to motivate learners with different
motivational needs. For example, a creative Thai lecturer who teaches English language used
rewards creatively to make learning more interesting:
Learners worked in group to collect points from 5-7 stations. In each station, the
learners from different groups have to show how a sentence could be written in
different styles. At the end, I told them that any station with red or pink color stuff
will get 10 points. Others will get only 5 points. In some station, I put Mentos
(candies) with red wrapping but the inside candies could be pink or other colors—
if pink they get another 10 points! I believe that most people love surprises…
without worrying about scores. (T2, Interview)
To encourage learners who are not proficient in English to improve their language, T2 designed a
journal activity which motivated them to put their thoughts down without constant evaluation.
I also ask my learners to keep a free writing journal. I usually gave them broad and
open topics such as compare 2 types of pets. I write feedback in the journal—
something positive and encouraging. This is like a personal letter between the
student and I. I will not grade the paper. They didn’t have to worry about
grammatical errors. (T2, Interview)
Some creative lecturers designed activities that are challenging to cater for the creatively
inclined. For example, M6, who teaches poetry, got such students to role play by changing their
middle names to someone they wanted to be:
We choose a certain name, relate it with ourselves. It does not have to be exactly
what we are and it can be the opposite. The one thing that we want to be but we
can’t. So by having this middle name it gives us the chance [to act it out] to impress
people. (M6, Interview)
5.1.6 Open-mindedness
Open-mindedness comprises the axial codes that indicate Learner sharing (18), Interactions (11)
and References (15). These are the hallmarks of a creative lecturer. Creative lecturers are open to
incorporating ideas and experiences of diverse students to enrich their lessons. For example, a
Malaysian creative lecturer used ideas from foreign student in his class:
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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
.. last semester we had learners from Bangladesh, Nigeria, Korea and China. So I
want them to feel part of my Malaysian economy [class]. I mean it’s good for our
Malaysian students to know about other countries’ agriculture sector. I
downloaded some articles and related to their countries to make policy
comparisons. (M1, Interview)
Creative lecturers were accommodative in their efforts to address equality:
There is no right or no wrong [answers] … because we just look from different
perspective. (M1, Interview)
They are open to students’ ideas and believe in their creative potential. They also have high
expectations of them:
The education system always underestimates the learners. We worry the learners
cannot do this and that. Actually the learners are more creative than us. …we need
to learn from them indirectly, then we can produce better scholars. (M1, Interview)
In summary, to address equality and equity, creative lecturers adapt a variety of resources such as
magic, digital technology and relevant objects as analogies. They used a variety of teaching
strategies, including group discussions and trial and error approaches. These strategies were
chosen based on students’ learning styles, abilities, background and experiences. Authentic
activities and incomplete notes were used to achieve learning objectives. Creative assessment
methods included providing students with equal opportunities and allowing them to choose
assessment methods. This included the creative use of crossword puzzles, and the consideration of
all answers whether right or wrong. Creative lecturers communicate well to build rapport with
their students. They are flexible in the language used and they move around the class to give equal
attention to all students to motivate them. They also encourage students to listen to others’ ideas
and allow them the freedom to choose activities and create materials. The lecturers design creative
and challenging activities to improve students’ language proficiency. By being open-minded, these
creative lecturers address diverse needs by believing in their students’ potential and incorporating
their ideas and experiences.
5.2 Comparisons between Malaysian and Thai creative lecturers
The above six themes were used to compare all the nominated creative lecturers from both
countries to answer the second research question: Are there cultural differences in these areas of
creative teaching between Malaysian and Thai creative lecturers? There were many similar as
well as different ways in which Malaysian and Thai lecturers creatively ensured equality and
equity.
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5.2.1 Resources
The Malaysian and Thai lecturers used different approaches when dealing with resources. For
example, in the Thai classes, the shy learners were given practice sheets to answer questions on
their own whereas the shy Malaysian students were asked to present scientific diagrams in front
of the class and answer questions.
Lecturers from both countries used questions from students as resources. However, the Malaysian
lecturers let students brainstorm answers to their own questions while the Thai lecturers provided
more guided discussions of such questions.
Another similarity between the two is that both used teaching aids to make learners think but the
Malaysian lecturers used a variety of resources such as video, brain-twisters, talks by experts,
visual aids and seminars.
5.2.2 Teaching strategies
Creative lecturers in both countries used experiences to emphasize certain points. The Malaysian
lecturers used their students’ background information to emphasize certain points while the Thai
lecturers used their own experiences. For example, M1 used examples from students’ home
countries to compare and contrast their countries’ economic policies while T4 selected pictures
taken from her stay in Japan to enhance student understanding.
The Malaysian lecturers used senior students’ work as prompts for new ideas whereas the Thai
lecturers generated new ideas from their students.
Both lecturers addressed equity by using different approaches for different learners. For example,
the Malaysian lecturers used group work for weak learners and individual work for the competent
ones whereas the Thai lecturers helped the weaker ones by giving examples but allowed the good
students to think on their own.
The Thai lecturers tend to give reading assignments for class discussio. However this is not
frequently used among Malaysian creative lecturers.
Given the demand for English proficiency, creative lecturers from both countries used a variety of
methods. For example, the Thai lecturers got learners to interview foreigners at shopping
complexes. Similarly, the Malaysian lecturers encouraged learners to read English journal articles
to improve their proficiency.
The lecturers also used creative ways to select learners to answer questions. While a Thai lecturer
tossed models of molecules for the students to catch and answer questions, a Malaysian lecturer
used a random number selection program for the same purpose.
5.2.3 Assessment
Malaysian and Thai lecturers catered for bright and weak learners by considering both right and
wrong answers through a variety of assessment approaches. For example, Malaysian lecturers used
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
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student presentations, discussions, group assignments and lab based creations whereas the Thai
lecturers used crossword puzzles and cloze tests.
5.2.4 Language
Both Malaysian and Thai creative lecturers engaged in friendly communications with their
students to ensure fairness and openness. They also used words of endearment. However, there are
differences in their usage. In the Malaysian setting, the lecturers used terms like “dear”, “darling”
and “hang” (which meant ‘you’ in Northern states of Malaysia) but did not allow students to call
them by their nicknames. In contrast, the Thai lecturers and students address each other by
nicknames.
Another difference between the two countries is a cultural one. In the Malaysian linguistically
diverse student population, lecturers allowed students to use both Malay and English, whereas the
Thai students, being monolinguals, used mostly Thai.
5.2.5 Activities
Both Malaysian and Thai lecturers promoted student autonomy by encouraging students to choose
their own activities. For example, M10 allowed students to create products of their choice in the
lab while, T2 allowed students to choose activities that they found most comfortable for their
English classes.
5.2.6 Open-mindedness
Malaysian and Thai lecturers are open-minded when incorporating examples in the class.
However, they do this differently. The Malaysian lecturers showed open-mindedness by using
examples from international students but the Thais did this by considering different ideas springing
from classroom debates and discussions.
In summary, although Malaysian and Thai creative lecturers used similar creative strategies to
address equality and equity issues, the approaches they used to execute these strategies were
different.
6 Discussion
Almost all institutions face equality and equity issues which arise from cultural, socio-economic,
gender, linguistic and other individual differences. Resolving these issues requires much effort and
creativity especially in institutions of higher learning where internationalization of education has
resulted in increased student diversity. Scarce resources (Reed & Oppong, 2005) and time
constraints compound efforts aimed at addressing these issues (Lilly & Bramwell-Rejskind, 2002).
Hence, instructors need creativity in resolving these issues. Our investigation studied creative
lecturers in Malaysia (a multiracial country) and Thailand (an almost homogeneous society) with
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
the hope of advancing current knowledge in addressing equity and equality issues in institutions
of higher learning. This is the first study using multiple data sources to triangulate findings in
investigating how creative teachers in two different countries addressed equality and equity issues
in higher education.
The six themes of creative teaching for equality and equity reflected some of the components of
the creative teaching framework reported by Palaniappan (2008) which was derived from the four
dimensions of Rhodes’s (1961) classification of creativity as Process, Person, Product and Press.
The themes Resources and Activities may be considered as the Product. Teaching strategy,
Language and Assessment reflect the Process while Open-mindedness provides support for the
Person dimension of the creative teaching framework. However, the findings offered very little
support for the Press dimension indicating that universities do not provide a very conducive
environment for creative lecturers to address diversity issues. The themes Resources and
Assessment also reflect Reid and Petocz’s (2004, p. 45) conceptualization of creative teaching as
involving the use of “appropriate materials and assessment techniques”.
To address equality and equity in a diverse classroom environment, lecturers may need to first
understand the nature of diversity among their students and what appeals to most of them. Based
on the findings of this study, it appears that lecturers are able to cater for student needs by adapting
resources such as videos, games and puzzles to suit student diversity (Sawyer, 2004; Scarino, &
Liddicoat, 2009). The comparison between Malaysian and Thai lecturers revealed that this is more
crucial in a heterogeneous classroom like those in Malaysia than the almost homogeneous one in
Thailand.
As for teaching strategies, the findings also show that creative lecturers resort to multi-modal
strategies (Grainger & Barnes, 2006), by incorporating analogies, videos and class discussions into
authentic cultural experiences. Discussions involving students’ own multicultural experiences tend
to benefit culturally and linguistically diverse students (Stritikus & Varghese, 2010). This tends to
cater for creative students who are easily bored by the traditional teaching methods. Both
Malaysian and Thai creative lecturers address student cultural and linguistic diversity by providing
opportunities for hands-on practice which also enhance learning.
Flexibility in assessment (Rinkevich, 2011) has been found to address the need to allow students
with diverse abilities to show their strengths and creativity in their presentations. This motivates
the students to complete their work and enhances their conceptual understanding. Assessment can
also be used to encourage interest, commitment, intellectual challenge (Ramsden, 2003) and create
something new (Tanggaard, 2011). The use of a variety of assessment approaches seems to cut
across culture.
Language was found to play an important part in reflecting the lecturer’s attitude towards equality
and equity. Creative lecturers have a natural predisposition for creating friendly and close
relationships with their students. This reduces the “social gap” between lecturers and students. One
way they seem to achieve this is via terms of endearment (Eggins, 2004).
Creative lecturers tend to simplify the language to cater for students with varying levels of
language proficiency (Rix, 2006; You & You, 2013). They are linguistically fluent and are able to
Paper presented at the 3RD ANNUAL CHICAGO INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EDUCATION 2015 in
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA 25-26 May 2015
communicate in different languages in multilingual classrooms. This enhances some aspects of
student creativity, namely, flexibility and fluency (McLeay, 2004).
Activities form an integral part of creative teaching as they involve creativity in the planning and
designing process (Cornish, 2007; Gibson, 2010). These activities, in turn, enhance student
creativity (Rejskind, 2000; Simplicio, 2000) as they involve, among other things, empowering
students to choose their own activities (Gibson, 2010).
Creative lecturers have one dominant personality characteristic which is open-mindedness
(Gibson, 2010; Grainger et al., 2004). They are open to students’ ideas and also encourage students
to listen to other students’ ideas which are crucial in brain-storming creative solutions to problems.
Hence, open-minded lecturers not only enhance equality and equity in the classroom but also
students’ creativity. This is more evident in the multicultural context than in the monolingual ones.
All the six themes appear to be necessary in order for lecturers to creatively address equality and
equity issues. Adapting resources to needs of individual students (equity) and designing activities
that consider student diversity are made possible when lecturers are open-minded and willing to
diversify teaching strategies. Friendly and interactive lecturer-student communications where
lecturers monitor both their language as well as students’ language for bias and prejudice are
crucial for inclusive education.
7
Limitations and Recommendations
The findings of this study need to be interpreted in light of various limitations. Firstly, the creative
lecturers from Malaysia were chosen only from one private and two government universities in
Kuala Lumpur and the state of Selangor, while those from Thailand were only chosen from two
faculties from a prominent government university. Hence, the findings of the study may not be
generalizable to all creative lecturers in Malaysia and Thailand. Secondly, while we were able to
get informed consent from twelve creative Malaysian lecturers, we were only able to get similar
consent from only four Thai creative lecturers. Thirdly, in one of the faculties in Malaysia and one
in Thailand, the lecturer who obtained the highest student nomination declined to take part in this
study. Consequently, those with the second highest nominations were invited to participate in the
study. Fourthly, the unavoidable lapse in time between nomination of lecturers and their
subsequent class observations did not allow the researchers to observe these lecturers teaching the
subject they were nominated for. Future research may involve a more representative sample of
creative lecturers from each country. Observing creative lecturers teaching subjects they were
nominated for would provide a better assessment of their creative teaching abilities. Exploring the
reasons for the differences between the two countries would also extend the findings of this
research.
8 Conclusion
Findings from this study indicate that there are six main areas where Malaysian and Thai creative
lecturers addressed equality and equity. These are Resources, Teaching strategies, Assessment,
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Language, Activities and Open-mindedness. Creative teachers are able to creatively design or
adapt resources and activities which the diverse students are free to choose according to their
needs. They have a repertoire of teaching strategies to match with students’ learning styles. They
employ culturally responsive communication styles. Being open-minded, they allow a range of
assessment approaches that cater to the needs of their diverse students. Although Malaysian and
Thai creative lecturers addressed equality and equity issues in similar areas, the approaches they
used to execute these creative strategies appear to differ. These findings have implications for
teacher training programs, curriculum planners and policy decisions across cultures aimed at
enhancing teachers’ ability to address equality and equity issues creatively.
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