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ED 611

Monica Moyano
Final Project
Topic: Instructional Strategies for Teaching Creative Thinking

As a Visual Arts Educator, teaching students to become creative thinkers is my


primary objective. Its my goal that students apply the creative thinking skills
learned in Visual Arts across all disciplines. I read seven different scholarly journal
articles on Instructional Strategies for Teaching Creative Thinking Skills and found
several consistent theories for teaching creative thinking skills. Likewise, I found
some conflicting theories and ideas about teaching and assessing creativity. The
common ideas in each article include a description of creative thinking skills, the
philosophy that creativity can be learned and nurtured, various types of creativity
and effective common strategies for teaching creativity.
The most potent theme among all the articles I read describe what creative thinking
is and the value of teaching creative thinking skills throughout all disciplines. This
idea is summed up by Peter Facione, Santa Clara University "Creative or innovative
thinking is the kind of thinking that leads to new insights, novel approaches, fresh
perspectives, whole new ways of understanding and conceiving of things. The
products of creative thought include some obvious things like music, poetry, dance,
dramatic literature, inventions, and technical innovations. But there are some not
so obvious examples as well, such as ways of putting a question that expand the
horizons of possible solutions, or ways of conceiving of relationships that challenge
presuppositions and lead one to see the world in imaginative and different ways."
Another common theory about teaching creative thinking skills it that creative can
be learned. Using the right teaching strategies, an educator can nurture the
students creative thinking skills. "Creativity is an effective resource that resides in

all people and within all organizations. Our more than thirty years of research has
conclusively demonstrated that creativity can be nurtured and enhanced through
the use of deliberate tools, techniques and strategies." The International Center for
Studies in Creativity.
Much of the thinking done in formal education emphasizes the skills of analysis-teaching students how to understand claims, follow or create a logical argument,
figure out the answer, eliminate the incorrect paths and focus on the correct one.
However, there is another kind of thinking, one that focuses on exploring ideas,
generating possibilities, looking for many right answers rather than just one. Both of
these kinds of thinking are vital to a successful working life, yet the latter one tends
to be ignored in early education. There various type of creative thinking, however,
there some specific skills that people use when thinking creatively. One example is
synthesis. In synthesis, people combine sources, ideas, etc. to solve problems,
address an issue or create something new. Being able to synthesize well can be
challenging for students. In order for students to do well with this creative skill,
educators need to model the thinking of synthesis in a low-stakes, scaffolding
activity that students can translate into a more academic pursuit. The blending of
creativity and critical thinking is necessary for productive thinking . A strategy for
fostering creativity is to play games with the modes by shifting the balance in
favor of creativity for awhile, by experimenting with different balances between the
modes during different stages in the overall process of productive thinking. Another
teaching strategy is the Evolution Strategy This is the method of incremental
improvement. New ideas stem from other ideas, new solutions from previous ones,
the new ones slightly improved over the old ones. Many of the very sophisticated
things we enjoy today developed through a long period of constant incrementation.

Making something a little better here, a little better there gradually makes it
something a lot better--even entirely different from the original. (Robert Harris,
2012)
One of the articles I read emphasized project based learning as the best practice
for teaching creativity thinking. I feel thats a very subjective opinion. Moreover, its
not supported by the other articles. Some of the other articles mentioned using
project based education as a resource for fostering creativity but not as a necessary
tool for teaching creative thinking skills. According to the articles, there are negative
attitudes that impede the creative thinking process. Four common negative
attitudes include the oh, No! reaction, it cant be done, Im not creative and
what will people think attitudes. The Oh No! reaction to a problem is often a
bigger problem than the problem itself. Many people avoid or deny problems,
primarily because they have never learned the appropriate emotional,
psychological, and practical responses. A problem is an opportunity. The happiest
people welcome and even seek out problems, meeting them as challenges and
opportunities to improve things. The It can't be done attitude is, in effect, giving
up before one begins. The I cant do it attitude is when people think they are not
smart enough to solve a problem or lack self confidence. The Im not creative
attitude is giving up before beginning likely because the persons creative process
has not been nurtured. The what will be people think attitude is due to social
pressures. According to the expert scholars in these articles, all of these negative
attitudes are learned behaviors. Each article describes techniques and strategies of
overcoming negative attributes that impede creative thinking. From brain storming
to visualizing, there is a wide variety of attitudes-and-techniques for stimulating
creativity. Edward Glassmans article Stimulate Your creative Thinking, sums up a

common method in each article. Creativity can arise from a combination of


conscious thinking and the unconscious thinking that occurs during a non-working
period of incubation. A non-working break, between active problem-solving
attempts, can be short or long, lasting minutes, hours, days, weeks, or longer.
During a break, you can work on another problem, study another subject, lay down
and rest, go for a run, do the dishes, listen to music, talk with a friend, or just relax
in isolated silence; or sleep, and then think about the problem when you awake,
before getting involved in other activities.
Whether using a project based learning strategy or short reflective activity, all of
these strategies are critical components of teaching and assessing creativity.
Students need time to look at the quality indicators and reflect on how they are
doing when it comes to mastery. Students need the opportunity and the finite skills
to be able to hone their creative thinking in and outside of the classroom. Creativity
can be learned. Creative thinking may or may not be graded, however, it can
certainly be assessed.

Resources:
Sternberg, Robert J., (2010, Aug 25). Creative Thinking in the Classroom
Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, Volume 47, Issue 3, 2003.
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00313830308595#.VHK2O4vF-a8
Hickey, Maud; Webster, Peter (2001, Jul). Music Educators Journal, v88 n1 p19-23
http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ665427

Amabile, T. M. & Gryskiewicz, N. D. (1989). The creative environment scales: Work


environment inventory. Creativity Research Journal, 2, 231253.
Bloom, B., Englehart, M. D., Furst, E. J., Hill, W. H., & Krathwohl, D. R.
(1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals.
Handbook I: Cognitive domain. New York, NY: David McKay.
H-S. Hsiao, C-S. Chang, C-Y. Lin, P-M. Hu, Development of children's creativity and
manual skills within digital game-based learning environment, Journal of Computer
Assisted Learning, 2014, 30, 4
Christine Doddington (2012). Philosophy, Art or Pedagogy? How Should Children
Experience Education? Educational Philosophy and Theory:1-12.
Robert Harris (2012, April) http://www.virtualsalt.com/crebook1.htm
http://web.archive.org/web/20081012082650/http://www.quantumbooks.com/Creati
vity.html