Professional competences of teachers for fostering creativity and supporting high-achieving students
This paper addresses an important task teachers face in class: the identification and support of creative and high-achieving students. In particular, we examine whether primary teachers (1) have acquired professional knowledge during teacher education that is necessary to foster creativity and to teach high-achieving students, and whether they (2) possess the situation-specific skills necessary to do so. For this purpose, (1) the knowledge of German primary school teachers who participated in the TEDS-M study at the end of teacher education is analyzed. (2), a subset of these teachers interpreted classroom video scenes that require identifying and supporting creative and high-achieving students in the longitudinal follow-up study to TEDS-M (TEDS-FU) after 3 years of work experience. Contingency analyses between teachers’ professional knowledge and their skills in identifying and supporting mathematically creative and high-achieving students were carried out. The analyses revealed that those teachers who have difficulties in logical reasoning and understanding structural aspects of mathematics also have difficulties in identifying and supporting creative and high-achieving students. It was difficult for them to identify students’ thinking processes based on structural reflections and pattern recognition; moreover, they had difficulty in further developing mathematically rich answers by students. In line with these results, teachers with strong professional knowledge were able to identify and support mathematically creative and high-achieving students. Thus, the study reveals that a connection between teachers’ professional knowledge and their skills in identifying and supporting mathematically creative and high-achieving students exists but that many future and early career teachers seem to have deficiencies in these respects.