Helping novice, non-specialist teachers foster self-efficacy in primary art and design through collaborative creativity
: the role of balance between agency and instruction

  • Alison Hermon

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis examines the role of balance between agency and instruction in
primary art and design (A&D). It explores the potential of collaborative
creativity, a creative pedagogy advocating a balance between agency and
instruction to foster pupils’ and non-specialist newly qualified teachers’
(NQTs) self-efficacy in art production. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory is
crucial to this endeavour as research suggests that pupils’ self-efficacy may
be constrained by pedagogy promoting an imbalance between instruction
and agency, potentially exacerbated by the current A&D curriculum and
NQTs’ own lack of self-efficacy. Nevertheless, whilst educational research
indicates the potential of collaborative creativity, the hypothesis that it can
support children’s and NQTs’ self-efficacy in A&D by promoting a balance
between agency and instruction, is less well researched. This hypothesis is
tested through the development of a Creative Attributes Framework for
Collaborative Creativity (CAFCC) - a research tool and product for this

Drawing on a theory-led collective case study in three phases, the
researcher promoted collaborative creativity supported by an artistic
communities of practice ethos with three primary A&D specialist teachers
working online in Phase 1, and with three primary, non-specialist NQTs
based in one school in Phases 2 and 3, to examine this area and develop
the CAFCC. Audio recording captured the online interactions in Phase 1,
discussing ideas for phases 2 and 3. Video and visual methods recorded
the face-to-face interactions of practice-led research in the Phase 2 A&D
mastery workshops led by the researcher, and the Phase 3 A&D lessons led
by the NQTs. Audio recording was used for interviews and reflections. Data
analysis focused on critical examination of the collaborative creativity
hypothesis in relation to the findings and final Witch’s Hat CAFCC

This thesis contributes evidence there is scope for addressing non-specialist
NQTs’ and children’s low self-efficacy in primary A&D through collaborative
creativity in artistic communities of practice. This focus was instrumental in
supporting certain NQTs’ engagement with their own creative practice in
overlapping positions of ‘artist-learners’ and ‘artist-teachers’ in Phase 3,
aligned with two education for emancipation models. Findings indicate how
these roles encouraged a more democratic, reciprocal ethos to foster a
balance of children’s and class teachers’ positive perceptions of each other
to promote collaborative creativity. Nevertheless, evidence suggests some
may struggle to develop their self-efficacy in these roles linked with
pedagogies of repression associated with neoliberal values of policy in
primary A&D and wider education.

Date of AwardJun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorNadia Edmond (Supervisor) & Charlotte Gould (Supervisor)

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