The importance of critical and creative thinking skills needed by our students in
the future have been recognized by educators. Creative thinking has been identified as one of the ‘desired outcomes’
of education. Efforts have been put in place in our Malay Language curriculum to incorporate critical and creative thinking
into the syllabus. Nevertheless, the role of teachers as effective models of creative thinkers has been overlooked and neglected.
By studying the important factor of teacher personality and creative styles preferences, this study hopes to bridge this oversight. This study predicts that individual differences in creative style are substantially
linked to three general traits of personality investigated that is extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness. This
study also highlights some of the concerns of the respondents on matters relating to creativity.
In the first stage of the study, thirty-one Malay language teachers from secondary
schools completed a self-report questionnaire in which an adapted version of International Personality Item Pool (Goldberg,
1999) and the Kirton Adaption-Innovation Inventory was used to examine the relationship between creative style preferences
and personality. Using Pearson’s correlation analysis and t-tests for independent samples, the study provides empirical
evidence that teachers who are conscientious would tend to apply established procedures, whilst those who are extraverted
would tend to think differently in an unconventional way, preferring to ‘think outside the box’ in solving problems
which are radical and at times novel. Such teachers possess innovativeness and tend to disregard organizational established
procedures or practices. In the second stage of the study, twenty-three secondary Malay language teachers completed a similar
self-report questionnaire. The second stage of the study affirmed the earlier findings.
The Qualitative study highlights the lack of training in the area of creativity for
Malay language teachers. The study also highlighted some of the factors that hinder teachers’ creativity. The study
reveals that Malay language teachers have diverse interpretation of the term creativity.
There are many implications of the study to teachers, schools and Ministry of Education (MOE).
Schools could develop and tap the different creative styles of our Malay language teachers and, consequently, help nurture
them into our pupils. Teachers could also improve their working relations with colleagues who have different creative preferences
for achieving the common goal of realizing the desired outcomes of education. The study could also help MOE recruit more teachers
with characteristics which are more in line with stated learning outcomes, train and develop those that are currently employed
in capitalizing on their strengths in term of their creative preferences. The study could also provide MOE or school principals
better understanding of the factors that inhibit creativity among teachers and MOE or schools could initiate suitable trainings
or courses to encourage and promote creativity among educators.