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How do creative and critical thinking interact in the classroom?

As a student of the International Baccalaureate, I have been asked to research this question for an essay. I think it is a fascinating question, particularly with regards to the differences between teaching staff and students: how do they use/consider creative thinking differently?

In my opinion, creativity is not only essential in research and innovation, but it must also be an essential consideration for teaching staff ("didactic" methods?) in order to inspire and draw interest to their subject. I have witnessed particularly a particularly strong drive in Mathematics: a subject which seems rather clinical and concrete at high school level, but remains very abstract in certain studies at university level. Teachers offer websites, word problems and games to tackle the subject away from constant textbook work in a way that apparently stimulates learning.

Meanwhile, students reason their problems both inductively and deductively, but the creative element in method is key to understanding the subject. Critical thinking may be needed to evaluate the purpose of the work, but creativity stimulates the study itself.

What do you think? Do you have any personal experiences/anecdotes to share on the subject?


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    Nov 3 2011: I am not sure how much help you should seek from people on this rather than thinking it through. This was not part of the picture when I was a child, as we would not have had experts at our finger tips to short cut our work as kids do now.

    When words are hard to define, or distinctions are hard to understand, could it be that you should consider a continuum?
    • Nov 3 2011: You're absolutely right. Technology and resources such as TED should be used in moderation, and only after some careful thought and personal reflection. I will work through this one myself, and only seek guidance from experts when absolutely essential to stimulate my thought process. After all, I am the one writing the essay, am I not? The personal element is critical towards the success of this paper. Nevertheless, your suggestion on continuum is thought-provoking and incredibly helpful. I look forward to exploring the concept. Thank you for your kind support and suggestions.
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      Nov 7 2011: Using TED and other people as a resource is a creative approach to the lesson. It can open up avenues of thought you would not have considered on your own. I don't see this as a short cut unless you (falsely) assume that experts and other people are always right. Just be sure that while you are finding creative links in the different responses, you are critically considering the pros and cons of individual comments, including mine.

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