Nice reflection. It is easy to get carried away with allowing opportunities for creativity with all the great apps and sites available in the modern classroom. The trick is to get the students incorporating critical thinking into the process of creating something meaningful.
Unfortunately critical thinking requires effort and generally very few students will take it upon themselves to go down this road. One of the major tasks undertaken at our College is the creation of video profiles of soldiers from WW1. This task requires an enormous amount of critical thinking just to get started. It is exactly the type of task we should be doing across the board.
Authentic, high level tasks that everyone has to complete. Each requiring a high level of thought before the task can commence. I previously thought that starting with a simple task and building from there was a preferred option but more and more I feel we need to be challenging more of our students to start producing better than just the base level needed to meet the outcomes.
Bill O’Chee wrote recently that the current fixation on creativity in schools is ‘anti-intellectual’. He asserts that “while creativity is important, from sciences to the arts, what is more important is rigorous thinking.” O’Chee states that what today’s learners need from their education is to “learn how to think deeply.”
If critical thinking is the precursor to creativity, then how do we develop and assess this skill in teachers so that reading critically, analysing data and formulating ideas is intuitive?
Fareed Zakaria, author of the recently published In Defense of a Liberal Education, states that education must satisfy two important aspects: creativity and causality. First you must be able to engage in ‘out of the box thinking’ and then have the ‘rigor and clarity’ with respect to what you are arguing about.
Zakaria makes the point that in a global age where information is retrievable in seconds, we still insist that students learn superficial facts while forgoing the…
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