Exploring ‘self’ as a person-centred academic through critical creativity: a case study of educators in a school of nursing

Brendan McCormack, Brian McGowan, Mary McGonigle, Deborah Goode, Pauline Black, Marlene Sinclair

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Background: Developing person-centred cultures is a key focus of practice development. To do so requires engagement with learning approaches that are creative and critical. In preparing students for a future as person-centred practitioners, educators need to engage with creative approaches to the facilitation of learning. National standards in nursing (for example) as well as the international literature on adult learning endorse the need for creativity in learning. Yet, educators continue to be challenged to engage in creativity and to use creative learning strategies in their practice. This paper provides a reflective overview of the experiences of a group of educators in one school of nursing who participated in a programme of creative engagements that focused on exploring ‘self’ as a key concept in person-centredness.Objectives:1.Explore through different media, contrasting aspects of ‘self’ as an educator2.Engage in playful activity in a safe space to explore own creativity and ways in which this creativity could be surfaced and integrated into everyday practice3.Through engaging with different media explore the potential of creativity in person-centred approaches to teaching, learning and research4.Experience ‘risk taking’ in a facilitated environment in order to develop potential for meaningful connections with others – students and colleaguesConclusions: Through a systematic process of creative engagement, this critical reflection highlights the challenges associated with integrating creative engagement strategies in teaching and learning. The paper highlights in particular the challenges associated with ‘letting go’ in learning situations and the importance of exploring ‘self’ in the context of person-centred learning processes.Implications for practice: Practice development depends on effective facilitation undertaken by facilitators who are critical and creative. Whilst there is an increasing literature on facilitation models and processes, there is less attention paid to ‘understanding self’ as a facilitator of person-centred cultures. Practice development methodologies need to make such exploration an explicit part of their work in order to engage in authentic facilitation of learning and development.Keywords: Creativity, personhood, facilitation, critical creativity, engagement, authenticity
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalInternational Practice Development Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Nov 2014


  • Creativity
  • personhood
  • facilitation
  • critical creativity
  • engagement
  • authenticity


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