We began by engaging in the planning stage of self-regulation. We clearly identified our challenge to define critical and creative thinking as a set of teachable skills, assessed our current knowledge on the topic, and mobilized our available resources. As we generated ideas to meet our goal, we explored the many ways others had described creative and critical thinking in order to generate a large number of possible solutions. We attempted to identify the relationships among the various concepts we had identified in order to see patterns and associations.
As we generated ideas, we frequently diagramed our ideas and the relationships among them. These diagrams would often cause us to see connections among the ideas as well as gaps in our knowledge. As we refined our ideas, we engaged in reflective judgment. Guided by our goal, we attempted to look for gaps in our knowledge, and when we identified them, to explore further. We engaged in the process of analysis by separating information into related and unrelated categories and looked for relationships among the ideas.
As we attempted to synthesize our knowledge, we begin to cluster, organize, and summarize our ideas. We also composed our thoughts using visual representations such as diagrams, tables, and written narratives. Table 3. Key Skills and objectives of self-regulation. Marzano et al. DeBono, ; Starko, Evaluating the product Students will describe how the final product is relevant, appropriate, and valuable to the initial challenge and context.
Students will make revisions to the product as needed to align with their goal. Table 4. Key skills and objectives of attitudes and dispositions. As we began to draw conclusions, we frequently revisited our resources to determine to what extent our conclusions were consistent with the literature, and to look for information that confirmed or disputed our conclusions. As we refined our ideas, we investigated the extent to which they would generalize to multiple creative domains by discussing them with experts in visual design and theater arts.
Throughout, our self-regulation processes guided our work. We quickly recognized the importance of maintaining awareness of our overall goal of defining critical and creative thinking as a set of teachable skills. As we engage in the idea generation and reflective judgment processes, we continually monitored whether we were making progress toward solutions that were appropriate for our goal.
We often recognized and accepted when we came to a problem, sought clarity of our thoughts and ideas, and engaged in constant revision of our plans and processes to reach our goal. As we neared our goal of developing a conceptual model and instructional guidelines, we were able to evaluate all the work we had done and the process we went through to achieve this goal.
Our work continued as we evaluated how the end result, or our product, addressed our original goal. We made several revisions, continuing the analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of our ideas until each team member was comfortable with the resulting work. As we reflected on the processes of generating the model and associated instructional guidelines, we found that the attitudes and dispositions we identified in the literature were essential to our progress.
Throughout the struggle to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate an abundance of ideas, we found that it was critical to remain motivated by our belief in the value of our goals and to proceed with the confidence that we would be able to solve the problem through persistence.
Additionally, working as a team, we often encountered ambiguity in our ideas and conclusions, yet we recognized the important of accepting this ambiguity and remaining flexible in our thinking. More specifically, this flexibility enabled us to work as a team. We easily recognized that each of us brought a different type and level of expertise to the conversation and had differing perspectives, assumptions, and opinions. Through this recognition, we knew it was important that all of us remained open-minded to the thoughts, ideas, and interpretations of other team members.
Our current work is focused on the idea that in order to successfully develop these skills in their students, educators will need experience at developing their own critical and creative thinking skills. Our future plans include workshops for educators in which they will practice using and developing their own critical and creative thinking skills.
In addition, we are in the process of developing instructional materials intended to foster critical and creative thinking skills through engagement with the arts and emerging technologies. Ultimately, it is our hope that by fostering these skills among educators, and by providing teachers with a variety of materials and resources they can use to develop these skills in their students, teaching and learning will begin to address the need for students who are able to solve problems, think critically, and excel as global competitors in the 21st century through their creativity and ingenuity.
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Human Development, 34 , Defying the crowd: Cultivating creativity in a culture of conformity. New York: Free Press. Investing in creativity. American Psychologist, 51 7 , Teaching for thinking. Swartz, R. Teaching thinking: Issues and approaches. Tardif, T. What do we know about creativity? Sternberg Ed. I use them everyday and continue to work to improve them both. The ability to think critically about a matter—to analyze a question, situation, or problem down to its most basic parts—is what helps us evaluate the accuracy and truthfulness of statements, claims, and information we read and hear.
It is the sharp knife that, when honed, separates fact from fiction, honesty from lies, and the accurate from the misleading. We all use this skill to one degree or another almost every day. For example, we use critical thinking every day as we consider the latest consumer products and why one particular product is the best among its peers. Is it a quality product because a celebrity endorses it?
Because a lot of other people may have used it? Because it is made by one company versus another? Or perhaps because it is made in one country or another? These are questions representative of critical thinking. The academic setting demands more of us in terms of critical thinking than everyday life. It demands that we evaluate information and analyze a myriad of issues.
It is the environment where our critical thinking skills can be the difference between success and failure. In this environment we must consider information in an analytical, critical manner. We must ask questions—What is the source of this information? Is this source an expert one and what makes it so? Are there multiple perspectives to consider on an issue?
Do multiple sources agree or disagree on an issue? Does quality research substantiate information or opinion? Do I have any personal biases that may affect my consideration of this information? It is only through purposeful, frequent, intentional questioning such as this that we can sharpen our critical thinking skills and improve as students, learners, and researchers. Developing my critical thinking skills over a twenty year period as a student in higher education enabled me to complete a quantitative dissertation, including analyzing research and completing statistical analysis, and earning my Ph.
While critical thinking analyzes information and roots out the true nature and facets of problems, it is creative thinking that drives progress forward when it comes to solving these problems.
It demands that we evaluate information and analyze a myriad of issues. It is the environment where our critical thinking skills can be the difference between success and failure. In this environment we must consider information in an analytical, critical manner. We must ask questions—What is the source of this information? Is this source an expert one and what makes it so? Are there multiple perspectives to consider on an issue? Do multiple sources agree or disagree on an issue?
Does quality research substantiate information or opinion? Do I have any personal biases that may affect my consideration of this information? It is only through purposeful, frequent, intentional questioning such as this that we can sharpen our critical thinking skills and improve as students, learners, and researchers. Developing my critical thinking skills over a twenty year period as a student in higher education enabled me to complete a quantitative dissertation, including analyzing research and completing statistical analysis, and earning my Ph.
While critical thinking analyzes information and roots out the true nature and facets of problems, it is creative thinking that drives progress forward when it comes to solving these problems. Exceptional creative thinkers are people that invent new solutions to existing problems that do not rely on past or current solutions. They are the ones who invent solution C when everyone else is still arguing between A and B.
Creative thinking skills involve using strategies to clear the mind so that our thoughts and ideas can transcend the current limitations of a problem and allow us to see beyond barriers that prevent new solutions from being found. Brainstorming is the simplest example of intentional creative thinking that most people have tried at least once. As with critical thinking, higher education both demands creative thinking from us and is the perfect place to practice and develop the skill. Creative thinking skills ask questions such as—What if?
Why not? What else is out there? What is something no one else has brought-up? It is the opening of doors and options that follows problem-identification. Consider an assignment that required you to compare two different authors on the topic of education and select and defend one as better. Brainstorming is the process for generating unique ideas and solutions through spontaneous and freewheeling group discussion.
Participants are encouraged to think aloud and suggest as many ideas as they can, no matter how outlandish it may seem. Lateral thinking uses a systematic process that leads to logical conclusions. However, it involves changing a standard thinking sequence and arriving at a solution from completely different angles. No matter what process you chose, the ultimate goal is to generate ideas that are unique, useful and worthy of further elaboration.
Often times, critical thinking is performed after creative thinking has generated various possibilities. Critical thinking is used to vet those ideas to determine if they are practical. Critical thinking is the process of actively analyzing, interpreting, synthesizing, evaluating information gathered from observation, experience, or communication.
Critical Thinking vs.
Historical analysis is always a creative process, striving to offer new insights into events of the past. Treffinger "Creative thinking involves searching for meaningful new connections by generating many unusual, original, and varied possibilities, as well as details that expand or enrich possibilities. Generating many possibilities is not enough by itself to help you solve a problem.
Similarly, if you rely on focusing alone, you may have too few possibilities from which to choose. Effective problem solvers must think both creatively and critically, generating options and focusing their thinking. Both generating and focusing involve learning and applying certain guidelines attitudes and habits of mind that support effective thinking and tools.
Let's first look at the guidelines for generating and focusing, and then consider a number of specific tools. Creative thinking is a form of innovation which seeks to find new answers and allow new perspectives on a problem. The outcome of this process should be original and unique. Through it, people might find unexpected solutions and increase productivity. Through creative thinking, one starts by putting up lists of possibilities on a quest for ideas. Any unconventional proposition is welcome as, in the end, the product consists of various theories on the same issue.
To come up with ideas, people can use both structured and unstructured methods. Brainstorming is the unstructured type of process. It consists of a free discussion, where everyone contributes with ideas and suggestions. Those who are part of a brainstorming process are encouraged to voice all their ideas. Sometimes, they might have some unorthodox propositions, but this is all for the better. Lateral thinking is the structured alternative to achieving creative thinking.
It might seem a little too critical as, in the end, it reaches logical conclusions. However, the thinking process does not follow the classic line, and the ideas produced are attained from many points of view. In fact, the purpose of creative thinking is to supply some ideas which are then filtered through critical thinking.
People who use this process have to be open-minded and flexible to outlandish ideas. Also, they need the imagination to produce the original ideas, and the creativity to make them unique. Critical thinking makes use of logic, reason, and analyzing to reach a conclusion. The subjects first have to observe and have a certain experience with the elements of the problem.
Then, they closely ponder all possibilities and analyze the reality. The final judgment is empirical and educated. In critical thinking, people learn how to question everything. They do this by using logic to filter through all the alternatives. This process is best in debates, when people are trying to build up arguments to support their convictions.
Also, some questions require a single answer, but more alternatives are offered. This is the best method of sorting the real one out. As mentioned above, critical and creative thinking are related as the former is used to sift through the variety given by the latter. Critical and creative thinking both seek to find answers and promote learning, but they use opposing principles and techniques.
First of all, creative thinking is all about innovation. It wants to come up with new theories, while critical thinking explores the already existing options and the truth present in them. Also, creative thinking seeks to generate. The main purpose of critical thinking is to be purely analytical and explore everything that is given. This is offered by the widely accepted principles which are closely followed in critical thinking.