Why is creative thinking the key teaching competency in 2021?
The results of the PISA 2018 test show that teachers should strive to foster student skills, strengthen STEM values, and make a link between science and everyday life (OECD, 2019). In order to achieve this, focus has been placed on creativity, which enables students to find interesting methods, solutions and ideas for different challenges. However, experimental studies have shown that creativity is developed up to the age of ten, which is why education professionals around the world have given the education system the main role in stimulating students’ creative thinking skills.
Numerous psychologists around the world claim that students can develop their creativity in a school setting through practice and encouragement, and distinguish between three types of creative approach (Aiamy, Haghani, 2012):
- Creativity through design and input relates to the development of creative experiences and engagements for children;
- Creativity through process seeks to turn practical activities into memorable experiences for children, and in doing so, goes beyond traditional teaching methods,
- Creativity through outcomes supports the notion that empowerment is the pathway to a fulfilled future for children.
What is creative thinking?
Experts usually refer to creative thinking as the ability to create new ideas, terms and solutions, and encourage new schools of thought which aim to enhance the education process and create new links between current teaching ideas and/or scientific terms based on cognitive activities (Michalko, 2011). Consequently, as an innovative domain of creativity, creative thinking is defined as a competency for generating diverse or creative ideas, and an instrument for assessing and enhancing ideas. By developing creative competencies, students are trained to efficiently solve real-life problems and create significant progress when it comes to learning and expressing their imagination.
Why is creative thinking an important education competency in 2021?
Taking into account that education requires quick, effective and radical changes, education gurus believe that 2021 is a turning point when it comes to the acquisition of creative teaching skills. The academic director of the Institute for Contemporary Education, Dr. Svetlana Belić Malinić, will be among the speakers at the largest education conference, World Education Summit 2021, where she will address the importance and role of metacognitive creativity. Her topic focuses on the need to synthesize metacognition and creativity skills to create metacognitive creativity skills. “During the thinking process, we give our thoughts new perspectives through the incubation and illumination of ideas”, explains Dr. Belić Malinić. “By seeking inspiration in new ideas, our process of “thinking about thinking” gets a new dimension, and this is actually where metacognitive creativity is born“.
Given that creative thinking being the key element in all education reforms until 2030, a large multidisciplinary PISA 2022 test has been launched aimed at determining the creative thinking level among 15-year-olds at the end of their compulsory education.
The PISA 2022 test includes tasks designed to minimize the importance of innate talent for performance and put a stronger focus on the capacity of individuals to engage in metacognitive creativity. This type of creative thinking can be applied not only to learning contexts that mainly require the expression of one’s inner world, but also to other areas where the generation of ideas is functional to the investigation of issues, problems or society-wide concerns, which brings creativity into correlation with problem solving skills. Consequently, PISA 2022 will split the tasks into the domain of creative expression – verbal or visual – and problem solving – scientific or societal.
What each teacher can do – 4 methods for developing creative thinking in education
The main methods that have yielded the best results in the development of creative thinking skills among students include (Vukšić, 2018):
- Brainstorming – this technique includes smaller groups of students of up to 12 members who discuss and encourage each other to think about certain teaching problems. The point of this method is for a group to come up with several ideas for solving a problem, analyze the upsides and downsides of said ideas, and agree on the best solution through collaborative work. In addition to developing teamwork and a sense of community, this technique teaches students to objectively assess their and other people’s ideas, and upgrade their ideas based on the input of others.
- Brainwriting – unlike brainstorming, this method includes generating multiple ideas simultaneously, whereby the creative thinking process is parallel, rather than serial. The best results are achieved in groups of up to 10 students, who write down their ideas, after which one student reads aloud all the suggestions. This is followed by a new round of creative thinking in which the students amend their ideas based on other members’ creative input. After the second round, the students critically assess all ideas and decide on the best one.
- Synectics – this method fosters creative thinking through the use of metaphor and simile, while encouraging the social and emotional segment of the creative process. This technique focuses on teaching outcomes, rather than the process itself, whereby students are taught to think about a specific problem in a manner that will lead them towards the solution in the most efficient manner.
- SCAMPER – this method combines 9 different thinking processes:
- Substitute something.
- Combine it with something else.
- Adapt something to it.
- Modify or Magnify it.
- Put it to some other use.
- Eliminate something.
- Reverse or Rearrange it.
By developing creative thinking skills, students are taught to be practically, mentally and creatively engaged, which is a basis for the education of new generations.
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