Monday, August 02, 2010

Creative Thinking

There is a craze in state education at the moment for 'creativity', 'critical thinking' and even 'entrepreneurial skills'.

I heard a science teacher recently explain how they were moving away from what he called 'factually based learning' towards the concept of 'broadening the learners' imaginations and encouraging them to...' I can't remember the rest as I stopped listening, started drinking furiously and immediately labelled him as a fool.

People who invent things invariably have a huge in depth knowledge of their subject (self taught in many cases). Creativity is hugely over rated (the vast majority of inventions are simply clever modifications of existing devices and new scientific theories tend to be incremental advances by people tinkering with the current rules and equations. Most successful businesses also just copy an existing idea and do it better).

People are best persuaded to become entrepreneurs when they feel they might benefit from the results, rather than having to pay all their profits in taxes to fund an army of public sector box tickers. (Actually we shouldn't be trying to persuade people to risk everything in their own business venture when the vast majority would be better off working for someone else. I think entrepreneurs are more born than made.)

As for critical thinking- well, I'm afraid that the opinion of someone who does not know about their subject is utterly worthless. (But don't let that put you off reading my blog)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

"...the opinion of someone who does not know about their subject is utterly worthless."
It's comments like this which mark you out as a dangerous subversive, Chalk.

The only opinion worth anything is the opinion of the person in charge.

Expertise means nothing.

Cynical

Anonymous said...

Our school actually hired " creative consultant" once.
He was to b" bring creativity to a cross curricular level"

In the science corridor he painted the stair handrails " the colours of the rainbow" . Thus undoing lessons of teaching the pupils to use the word " spectrum" . Oh and he also got the colours wrong " red and yellow and pink and green "etc!

To make matters worse he wore trousers that looked like they been hand tapestried

God knows how much they paid him ( although obviously not enough to buy some decent trousers)

Brian, follower of Deornoth said...

"Critical Thinking" means the uncritical acceptance of whatever drivel is currently in fashion (any politically incorrect critical thinking results in failing the exam).

Stealth Jew said...

I have a four-year-old. I hear a lot about "critical thinking." This seems to jump the gun a bit. She is still learning to obey and they want to teach her to question authority.

As for creativity, well, it has very little application in anything she's learning right now (such as sums, phonics, and very basic piano).

Angie said...

When I read the first few sentences of your post I didn't agree with you at all. I graduated from college a year ago & I believe the only way I can add any value to the world is through creativity. Developing my creativity has become my obsession. I've noticed the push for teaching creativity the last few weeks & I was all for it.

However reading your post reminded me of something I read a few days ago on creativity that said that creative ideas increase the more you know about the subject you are trying to be creative with. Thus although you may not be obsessed with creativity in a way your suggestion to focus on teaching principles & facts would help increase creativity in the long run because it helps students understand the principles that they will need to be creative about in the future.

I wrote a blog post the other day which supported the thing you are against (and maybe your article changed my original opinion to some degree): http://www.readinghorizons.com/blog/post/2010/07/29/3-Ways-Teachers-Can-Help-Dyslexic-Students-Pt-3-Focus-on-Strengths.aspx

jaljen said...

If I were creative I wouldn't have rather supinely fallen into teaching because my husband did it! I can encourage it, I suppose. But some of us are not designed to be creative in the accepted sense. I feel I'm very good at juggling timetables. Is that creative? It's certainly useful.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I hear the creative or higher order thinking mantra, I pause. What business really wants this? Enron? WorldCom? Sub-prime lending?

Yeah, we really need out-of-the-box thinking. These jackasses need to read some Thomas Kuhn.

cv writing service said...

creative thinking is a great way to see the same thing from different view points, these different view points offer new ideas

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