Creative Thinking

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1. If you had the power to transform the educational system to more effectively develop critical thinking abilities, what suggestions would you want to see implemented? You should focus on only one level. Draw upon the research and principles presented in Chaffee’s book and identify the specific processes that you wish to encourage. If I had the power to transform the educational system to more effectively develop critical thinking abilities, I would start to familiarize children with the concepts as early as possible. In the past when I was growing up, the emphasis for learning was placed largely on memorization. Since then, however, there is a trend toward teaching critical thinking skills in the classroom. These skills emphasize more than memorizing. They emphasize analysis and logic. If I were revamping the education system I would have classrooms begin to teach these concepts as early as kindergarten. “Being open to new ideas and different viewpoints means being flexible enough to change or modify your ideas in the light of new information or better insight.” (Chaffee p. 56)

This would be an important concept to foster in kindergarten because at that age children are still open to new ideas and concepts. To teach them at that age to be open to new ideas would help them when they get older. This would help the child to grow as a thinker. Having children become critical thinkers at an early age can be accomplished by asking questions that have more than one correct answer. This teaches the child that they can answer the question without being afraid of being wrong. Another important method for teaching young children is to have them work in groups. This exposes them to others’ thoughts and ways of thinking. This is where being flexible comes into play. Young children are naturally flexible in their thinking and open to new ideas. If we emphasize the importance of being flexible at this young age, the child will have an easier time remaining flexible in their thinking and be more open to new ideas later on in life. Even though working in groups is important, encouraging young children to think independently is also important. (Chaffee p. 71) This can be encouraged in a young child by giving them various ideas and having the child arrive at his own thoughtful conclusion. The reason I would start so young is that I feel that the earlier children are exposed to these concepts the earlier they will be able to use a combination of cognitive abilities, basic attitudes

and thinking strategies. These skills enable a person to clarify and better understand the world. (Chaffee p. 71)

2. Imagine that you were born in a different sociocultural context. Describe the factors that would influence your chances of achieving creative breakthroughs. Emphasize whatever domain you feel best reflects your potential. Be sure to also include the cognitive and developmental notions that are discussed by Csikszentimihalyi. For this question I imagined that I was alive during the depression era and was not part of the wealthy class of that time. My domain would be the writing of novels because I have always liked writing stories. The following factors would influence my chance of achieving a creative breakthrough. One factor is exposure. One can’t be creative in a domain without being exposed to it. For example, “No matter what mathematical gifts a child may have, he or she will not be able to contribute to mathematics without learning its rules.” (Csikszentimihalyi p. 29) What this means is that if I was not able to be exposed to writing, books or famous authors through school, I would not be successful in writing myself. If I don’t learn the rules of grammar and spelling it would be very hard for me to write anything worthwhile that anyone would want to publish.

Chance, perseverance or being at the right place at the right time is also important. Conditions might not be favorable for me as a writer during the depression....
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