Critical and creative thinking are two sought-after competencies in this competitive and dynamic world. These are useful in an individual’s life at each stage. And help them to be more productive in all the phases of life.
Both critical and creative thinking deals with the thinking abilities beyond the rote memory. Because they involve innovative thinking and question the exciting findings through logic and reasoning. Owing to the importance of these skill sets, our modern-day education system aims at nurturing these in students.
Despite the differences in their individual constructs, these two types of new-age competencies are quite similar to each other.
Let’s explore more about these types of thinking abilities!
As per the ‘Journal of Gifted Education and Creativity’, creative thinking is related to both problem solving and critical thinking. The Journal also explains three dimensions of creative thinking namely, ‘synthesizing’, ‘articulation’, and ‘imagination’. It further highlights the general characteristics of this thinking ability. And labels it as a universal capability useful in every sphere of life.
In other words, creative thinking is more about generating new ideas through an innovative bent of mind. And it goes to the extent of creating new rules and principles by violating the existing ones.
Creative thinking is also called divergent or lateral thinking. Because it challenges the existing methods of problem solving. And offers new perspectives of looking at a problem. For students in a digital schooling platform or a traditional institution, this ability is an asset that allows them to apply innovative ideas to new contexts. And it empowers a student to discover new possibilities. And supports the creation of new knowledge.
UNESCO defines critical thinking as a process that involves gathering information, asking questions, sorting relevant facts to reach credible conclusions. It is more about applying logical reasoning to understand the problem. And conclusions are drawn in the light of the available evidence.
This thinking ability is rightly considered a relevant 21st-century competency. Because it is a sought-after skill that largely determines workplace success.
This competency empowers an individual to reconstruct or restructure his/her previous knowledge. And this new knowledge is based on the quality of the logic and reasoning power of the individual. Critical thinking is ideal to rectify the errors/gaps/deficits of the previous findings. Because the individual looks at situations from various perspectives. And discards the prejudices that can hinder his/her path of discovery. In this way, critical thinking is a productive thinking process wherein the individual makes choices by thinking critically. And he/she interprets facts through his/her own power to analyze logically. This reasoning-based thinking ability also saves one’s time and energy. Hence, it is a credible way of thinking that can boost productivity. And at the same time, it also leads to better outcomes.
It is evident that critical and creative thinking are similar to each other in many ways.
Now let’s move further and discover how we can nurture these skills/competencies in school students:
Encourage real-life problem solving through relevant examples
Our students in an accredited online school or a general classroom grasp concepts better if they are explained through real-life examples. Try to incorporate real-life scenarios during instructional delivery. And connect the learning with their everyday life scenarios/situations. This is the ideal way of building conceptual understanding, and fostering creative and critical thinking ability in students. Problem solving through real-life examples helps in explaining minute and complex concepts better. And when students develop a sound understanding of the subject matter, they tend to retain knowledge better. This advanced knowledge allows them to make meaningful interpretations. Which in turn fosters creative and critical thinking in them.
Be open to new ideas
Divergent or lateral thinking is all about thinking out of the box. This means that one has to do away with the typical and mechanical thought processes. And come up with novel ideas rationally. As a stakeholder, you must encourage novel ideas and create a learning environment that welcomes this innovative bent of mind. Make sure you give the students a positive learning environment. And appreciate them enough for their attempts of divergent thinking. You can also make use of the reinforcement techniques and strengthen the ability to think out of the box.
Build information competency
Information competency is the potential to discover information and use it to create one’s own knowledge. It is the basis of one’s independent learning habits. And helps in adding a meaningful dimension to one’s learning. Fortunately, this digital age has simplified the process of locating information. But, we still need to teach our kids the right ways, channels, and credible sources of finding information. Building information competency in kids helps them to make use of technology to gain a deep understanding of a topic. And it also empowers them to analyze this information critically and derive a conclusion as per their own understanding. Critical and creative thinking can be strengthened through information competency. Because the students use the available information as a base and construct their own meaning in the light of facts.
Another way to strengthen creative and critical thinking in students is to ask questions to make them deep dive into a topic/subject better. These questions add a dimension of meaningful analysis to the information received by them. And they reach the limits of finding alternatives through their insightful findings. Your questions can trigger the minds of students to reflect and apply their knowledge to situations. And they learn to analyze information by viewing it from different perspectives.
When students apply their knowledge to a new situation, their critical and creative thing powers improve considerably. And this process of analyzing and scrutinizing facts creates a rich learning experience for them.
Our educational landscape has transformed itself completely. And competencies such as critical and creative thinking are imperative for a student’s success in school and beyond.
Let’s teach our kids how to think critically and creatively. And empower them to survive, thrive, and succeed in this complex and competitive world.
Thanks for Reading!