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Almost everyone agrees that one of the main goals of education, at whatever level, is to

help develop general thinking skills, particularly critical thinking skills. Almost
everyone agrees that students do not acquire these skills as much as they could and
should. (5)
How do we as educators understand these styles of thinking on a deeper level and comprehend how do
we serve our students better through teaching these crucial skills better
!ritical thinking and creative thinking skills are complimentary to each other. "here is no
mistaking the fact that these two styles are slightly different, however, together they are powerful.
!ritical thinking being the first process then creative thinking
!ritical thinking is the use of knowledge and facts in order to strengthen arguments and
reconstruct the logic of others. (#) According to "im van $elder in his work "eaching !ritical
"hinking% &ome lessons from !ognitive &cience, he says there are five potential lessons in becoming a
better teacher of critical thinking.
"he first lesson is critical thinking is hard. 'n this he states that the nature of the human is not that of
a critical thinker. "his trait must be taught to an individual.
(ven if humans were naturally inclined to think critically, it would still be difficult to
master because it is what cognitive scientific call a )higher*order skill.+ "hat is critical
thinking is a comple, activity built up out of other skills that are simpler and easier to
acquire. (5)
(ssentially you have to be strong with your fundamentals in order to begin to strengthen an individual-s
ability to think critically. .hile this may be a trait that the student will need to refine over a long period
of time, there is no argument in it being too early to start. "raining students the basics in critical
thinking will give them the framework to work from later in life.
"he second lesson is practice makes perfect. .hile this will be a long term goal for students to
strive for, the more they work on it the better their abilities will become. .hile some teachers make the
mistake of providing their students with e,amples of critical thinking through tools like articles, van
$elder makes the comparison of )this is about as effective as working on your tennis by watching
.imbledon.+
"he third lesson discusses the topic of practice for transfer. "ransferring is arguably the most
important aspect of critical thinking. &tudents must be able to identify skills that can be used in
multiple settings. "hrough obtaining a skill and then being able transcend their knowledge across a
variety of life challenges. "hrough the lesson of price per pound of produce students must be taught to
identify that same equation can apply to other things like price per pound of candy. "hrough teaching
students this skill you can begin to guide them to think critically for their own. "he e,ample that van
$elden gives for practicing through transfer is to start off day one with a lesson in finding the
credibility of the authors to the newspaper. /ay two you abstract the idea of finding the credibility of
the author, in order to depict the trivial action they 0ust performed. "hird day as a teacher you would
have the students identify another source to check the credibility of the author. "hrough this three day
lesson the students will learn how to apply this theory in their everyday life. .ith the ability to transfer
knowledge students will be more diverse with their skill set.
1ractical "heory is the fourth lesson that is proposed in "eaching !ritical "hinking% &ome
2essons from !ognitive &cience. "his topic is rooted in being able to discuss and understand
vocabulary involved in a specific topic. .ith understanding and the proper vocabulary, individual-s can
produce a theory of a topic. 3or e,ample with coarse work in Anatomy and 1hysiology, a student is
enlightened to the workings of the human body and the terminology. .ith this new knowledge, then a
critical thinker can use what they have learned to e,pand upon their ideas revolved around the topic. As
this individual begins to take interest in their body, they can use that knowledge to make better healthy
living decisions.
"im van $elder-s fifth lesson in critical thinking is map it out. .ith this he digresses to e,plain
the importance of understanding how to properly e,ecute an argument. Having the ability to logically
e,plain using supporting e,amples, to oppose an idea is the core part of being a strong critical thinker.
Arguments constitute a body of evidence in relation to some proposition. "he
proposition is e,pressed in some claim and the evidence is e,pressed in other claims.
"he evidence can form a comple, web of hierarchy, with some claims both supporting
others and being supported by further claims. "here is a feature of the way we handle
arguments that is so automatic and pervasive that it is almost invisible% Arguments are
presented or e,pressed in streams of words, whether written or spoken.
van $elder coined the name of this lesson of -map it out- through the use of a diagram. .hen creating
an argument, start with your perspective on the topic. "hen find one supporting reason that e,presses
your stance on the argument. 3rom that you find another supporting reason as to why you feel the way
you do, continuing on from there.
3inally the si,th lesson is on the idea of belief preservation. 4elief preservation is rooted in the
field of cognitive science. !ritical metacognition while is a broad topic, this aspect is one of the
argumentatively most important trait individual-s have and must be aware of. "his style of
metacognition is that of not allowing other perspectives and ideas influence influence yours. "he
critical metacognitive individual is able to recogni5e when these thoughts occur and not allow
themselves to act upon it. "hrough harnessing and understanding belief metacognition an individual
will be more able to be open to others arguments, and thus a more effective arguer.
!reative thinking on the other hand is a style of thinking that involves )generating alternative
ideas, practices and solutions that are unique and effective, and e,ploring ways to confront comple,,
messy, ambiguous problems, make new connections, and see how things could be otherwise.+ (6)
"here is the logic that individuals have that has the nature of -' am not a creative person, therefore ' am
not a creative thinker.- 4ut 0ust like 1ablo 1icasso said, )(very child is an artist. "he problem is how to
remain an artist once we grow up.+ "here is an artist in everyone.
7ieran (gan brought about a unique perspective on teaching. Her book An Imaginative
Approach to Teaching discussed using the cognitive tools for learning that all students bring to the
classroom to make a fun and engaging lessons. 'n the first chapter, she believes that all students bring
the tools that are attributed to the oral language stage. 8ral language stage includes story, metaphor,
binary opposites, rhyme, rhythm, and pattern. (gan suggests that these tools will be present in children
around the age of seven years. "his is when literacy is beginning to drastically influence children-s
thinking. "he tools of the oral language stage are found )to be highly effective in organi5ing and
categori5ing knowledge, as well as keeping in memorable form.+ (9)
"he ne,t chapter deals with the age group of seven to nine year olds. "he cognitive tools these
students have are )mature with the literacy stage, such as sense of reality, e,tremes of e,perience and
limits of reality, association with heroes, sense of wonder, collections and hobbies, knowledge and
human meaning, narrative understanding, revolt and idealism, changing the conte,t, literate eye, and
embryonic tools of theoretic thinking.+ (9) "hese tools come to be when the pupil becomes more fluent
and mature.
An Imaginative Approach to Teaching-s final chapter discusses the tools that entail the
)theoretical thinking stage sense of abstract reality, sense of agency, grasp of general ideas and their
anomalies, search for authority and truth, and meta*narrative understanding. "his stage is found in
young adults who have mastered the previous chapters lessons, they will become skilled creative
thinkers. "hrough 3atih-s philosophy of teaching, he claims students will emerge with )enhanced
thinking abilities, generating fle,ibility, and encourging students to search out patterns, look for
essences and construct their theories.+
According to :orth !arolina &tate ;niversity, )!ritical and creative thinking are the keys to work and
economic prosperity in the twenty*first century. "here is a long*term trend away from routine*oriented
work, which requires people to do the same things every day, and toward creativity*oriented 0obs that
ask people to engage in analysis and to make 0udgments.+ (<)