But what do we all mean by creative thinking? It is the process by which we generate fresh ideas. It requires specific knowledge, skills and attitudes. It involves making connections across topics, concepts, disciplines and methodologies and it leads in turn to new understanding and impact. For nearly a decade my colleagues Guy Claxton, Ellen Spencer and I have been researching into this important concept at the University of Winchester. We have developed a five dimensional model of creative thinking.
Creative thinking is a multi-dimensional concept. Each of the five areas contributes to what it is to be truly creative. Imagination helps us to play with possibilities and make new connections. Being inquisitive brings curious questions and necessary challenges to other people’s assumptions, which in turn requires a certain kind of persistence to dare to be different, along with a sense of discipline constantly to improve and reflect on progress made. And creative thinking is almost always a collaborative activity working across and between disciplines requiring high levels of cooperation.
The good news for schools is that creative thinking is both teachable and learnable, as Ellen Spencer and I lay out in detail in our recent book, Teaching Creative Thinking. Creative thinkers develop by being part of a school and community culture in which all of the five aspects of our model are actively encouraged. Within the classroom these five dimensions are most amenable to pedagogies, which encourage idea generation and critical thinking. These include challenging problem-based learning, design thinking approaches, playful experimentation and an explicit attempt to see classrooms as learning communities. There are schools such as Thomas Tallis, just a few miles away from the RSA, which are international beacons of excellence in the field of creative thinking.
This Post is an excerpt from Bill lucas’s article “The Power of Creative Thinking”