The nurturing of a student’s core competencies and creativity has been promoted and prioritized as one of the main axes in education worldwide, which has also been emphasized in Taiwan’s new curriculum guidelines. This study aims to develop a new creative teaching and learning approach—“Self-designed Board Games” (SdBG), in which the students work in groups to design and play their self-designed board games in high school citizenship studies. The study further investigates the impact of SdBG on the students’ citizenship competencies and creativity. A quasi-experimental design was employed throughout one semester; 76 high school students were randomly assigned to either the experimental group (SdBG) or the comparison group (traditional lecturing teaching). The experimental group was asked to develop board games based on their interests and the learning contents of the 18- week semester. Later, all of the experimental group students played the board games developed by themselves and other fellow students. The main findings are as follows: (a) Citizenship competencies: the experimental group experienced a significant improvement in citizenship competencies, whereas no significant difference was found in the control group. (b) Creativity: the experimental group witnessed great improvements in all four facets of creativity, including fluency, flexibility, originality, and elaboration, whereas the control group experienced significant regression in all four facets in the pretest and post-test. To our knowledge, this is the first study that creates a so-called “Playful Space”, enabling students to play their self-designed board games and simultaneously investigates its impact on citizenship competencies and creativity. Evidence revealed that the SdBG is an effective approach in Citizenship studies, which offers the warrant for the study to make theoretical and practical contributions to the field and knowledge.
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