What’s Emphasised In School
Many schools prioritise imparting knowledge and memorisation over critical and creative thinking.
However, the need to think critically, to obtain, understand, analyze and share information is ever increasing today.
What Most Schools Are Missing Out On
Children need to be encouraged to express their curiosity from young. Successful “genius” asks creative questions and use critical thinking skills to solve problems.
Imagine stifling the curiosity of inventors and scientists. What cost would we be paying for not encouraging critical thinking?
In this article we consider 2 areas of thinking that are critical to the development of a child: Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking.
Critical Thinking: Learning How To Think
Critical thinking is independent reasoning and judgment.
Students need to develop the ability to reason and analyze information instead of merely taking in information without questions and committing this to memory as the only perspective.
The ability to know how to think and to analyze information imparted to them assists students in recognizing patterns and making inferences, both of which are required for problem solving and evaluation of situations in life and work.
Opening Up With Questions
Presenting students with open ended questions allow their minds to open up to possibilities and not be confined to information memorized. Young curious minds may have questions adults don’t always have answers to and that is why perhaps sometimes students are discouraged from questioning.
Thinking Is A Process
What if teachers can facilitate group discussions? Encourage research, help students group findings and come up with possibilities that they then need to make a decision on?
Critical thinking points to a process in learning, helping children develop the skill to think and allowing them the “freedom” to come up with different answers.
Without critical thinking, students are not be able to adapt to life outside of the safe bubble of school.
Inculcating Creative Minds
Creativity is often misunderstood to refer to the ability to invent, the making of something new out of nothing.
This view is narrow.
Creativity refers to the making, arranging, synthesizing, applying, and altering of existing ideas. And creativity can be learned, contrary to those who hold that creativity is a gift.
While traditional education is rigid and accepts information imparted with thinking discouraged, the creative work is actively processing information received.
Creative Thinking Can Be Learned
Creative thinking is a process of hard work, constantly looking for ways to improve.
It makes continual refinements to initial ideas and inferences. Contrary to popular belief, creative ideas do not come from a single instance, but are formed through iterative refinement made over a longer period of time.
It is important that teachers recognise and respect the value of creative thinking skills and introduce them early on in the educational process. Primary school students are capable of complex thinking and often communicate ideas that are insightful and elaborate.
This may be because young children have not yet been bound by the preconceived limitations that adults are restricted by, and are thus more receptive to the world’s wonders.
Such exploration can be fostered in schools to create open-minded thinkers with the imagination to solve complicated issues both in the academic and working world.
How Educators Can Develop Thinking Skills
How to help students develop both creative and critical thinking?
- Critical and creative thinking cannot be spoon-fed through lessons or notes. Instead, the educator act as facilitator allowing for open-ended discussion between students with input from the teacher.
- Educators prepare learners for self-direction and not pre-conceived tasks. Treat students as independent beings with independent thinking and give them the space to shape their learning.
- Sometimes creative and critical thinking do not lead to a single correct answer but more questions. Teachers need to feel comfortable with that.
Holistic Education Nurtures Productive Thinking
Both creative-and-critical Productive Thinking are useful for problem solving. Innovative and productive thinking only occurs when creative generation of ideas is combined with critical evaluation.
Scholar Base’s focus on open-ended group projects have their roots in critical and creative thinking. This allows students to further develop their thinking capabilities and enhance their learning experience.
The other 5 elements of the learning programme at Scholar Base can be found here.