Week 2 – Creative and Critical Thinking

In this module, students will develop capability in critical and creative thinking as they learn to generate and evaluate knowledge, clarify concepts and ideas, seek possibilities, consider alternatives and solve problems. Critical and creative thinking involves students thinking broadly and deeply using skills, behaviors and dispositions such as reason, logic, resourcefulness, imagination and innovation in all learning areas at school and in their lives beyond school.

Thinking that is productive, purposeful and intentional is at the center of effective learning. By applying a sequence of thinking skills, students develop an increasingly sophisticated understanding of the processes they can use whenever they encounter problems, unfamiliar information and new ideas. In addition, the progressive development of knowledge about thinking and the practice of using thinking strategies can increase students’ motivation for, and management of, their own learning. They become more confident and autonomous problem-solvers and thinkers.

In this lesson, we will begin our discussion of the foundational elements of the critical and creative thinking processes and how they work together to help us shape our opinions and views of the world.

Responding to the challenges of the twenty-first century – with its complex environmental, social and economic pressures – requires  people to be creative, innovative, enterprising and adaptable, with the motivation, confidence and skills to use critical and creative thinking purposefully.

This capability combines two types of thinking: critical thinking and creative thinking. Though the two are not interchangeable, they are strongly linked, bringing complementary dimensions to thinking and learning.

Critical thinking is at the core of most intellectual activity that involves students learning to recognize or develop an argument, use evidence in support of that argument, draw reasoned conclusions, and use information to solve problems. Examples of critical thinking skills are interpreting, analyzing, evaluating, explaining, sequencing, reasoning, comparing, questioning, inferring, hypothesizing, appraising, testing and generalizing.

Creative thinking involves students learning to generate and apply new ideas in specific contexts, seeing existing situations in a new way, identifying alternative explanations, and seeing or making new links that generate a positive outcome. This includes combining parts to form something original, sifting and refining ideas to discover possibilities, constructing theories and objects, and acting on intuition. The products of creative endeavor can involve complex representations and images, investigations and performances, digital and computer-generated output, or occur as virtual reality.

Concept formation is the mental activity that helps us compare, contrast and classify ideas, objects, and events. Concept learning can be concrete or abstract and is closely allied with metacognition. What has been learnt can be applied to future examples. It underpins the organizing elements.

Dispositions such as inquisitiveness, reasonableness, intellectual flexibility, open- and fair-mindedness, a readiness to try new ways of doing things and consider alternatives, and persistence promote and are enhanced by critical and creative thinking.

This week, we are examining some of the latest research on our critical and creative thinking capacities and how the brain uses these techniques to make sense of the world. We will eventually apply what we are learning to your first essay on critical and creative thinking.

TED Talks for Essay #1

Watch these and take notes to use as the basis for your first essay on critical and creative thinking. You will not be limited to these sources but you must base your essay in the insights you gain from them.

NOTE: Please make sure to watch all of these videos and take notes. Refer back to them in the coming weeks as these videos will serve as the basis of the research you will do for your first essay. You may wish to include material you have learned from the other videos and material we have covered so far.

Please see the Essay #1 Assignment Sheet (opens in a new window) for more information.


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Critical Thinking by Andrew Gurevich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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