Fostering students’ creativity and critical thinking

This book has guidance on helpful teaching learning approaches for cultivating creativity

The Centre for Educational Research and innovation (CERI), undertakes and promotes international research, promotes innovation and explores forward-looking approaches to education and learning, linking educational research, innovation and policy development. Between 2015 and 2019 the OECD Centre for Educational Research and innovation (CERI) ran an international research project working with networks of schools and teachers in 11 countries to understand more about how best to teach and assess creativity.

The book has guidance on helpful teaching learning approaches - signature pedagogies - for cultivating creativity such as collaboration with cultural experts, design thinking, project-based learning and studio thinking.

It also contains a valuable overview of professional learning approaches including lectures, workshops, individual support and peer dialogue, all in the context of professional learning communities.

How best to teach and assess creativity?

The aim of the project was to build a shared language and understanding of what fostering creativity in schools involves. The project’s starting point was the five-dimensional model of creativity created by the Centre for Real-World Learning at the University of Winchester.

Key questions included:

  • What are the key elements of creativity and critical thinking?
  • What pedagogical strategies and approaches can teachers adopt to foster them?
  • How can school leaders support teachers' professional learning?

CERI identified some key elements of creativity, some important teaching and learning strategies and some helpful pointers for professional development.

Design criteria for activities fostering creativity or critical thinking:

1. Create student interest and integrate with other disciplines

Start with a big question or an unusual activity

2. Be challenging

Structure tasks so that they can be undertaken at multiple levels

3. Develop clear technical knowledge

Embed creativity in the context of a subject discipline

4. Include the development of a product

Presentations, performances and models, for example, help to make creativity visible

5. Give students opportunities to co-design

Engage interest and ownership by creating appropriate chances for students to influence the course of learning

6. Deal with problems that have multiple perspectives

Where there are several possible solutions to challenges there are likely to be several different techniques to solve them

7. Leave room for the unexpected

Teachers do not have to know it all!

8. Include time and space for reflection and feedback

Learning from risk-taking and mistakes is powerful

Adapted from Fostering students’ creativity and critical thinking, page 25.

Download Fostering students’ creativity and critical thinking.

For further reading check out this article.

Takeaway idea

Develop a repertoire of presentations, performances, models, exhibitions in order to help make creativity visible.

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