Creativity & Critical Thinking Skills

It is important that both higher order and lower order learning are parallel goals throughout all of education, from the early years to degree-level. It is counter-productive to delay higher order learning until children have left primary school. Children’s curiosity and desire to question can be harnessed to increase their higher order learning from a very early age. This comprises a number of aspects, some of which are recognised in the aims of the new primary national curriculum in England from 2014, but it is unfortunate that the actual programmes of study do not explore the development of these:

  • Dispositions: self-confidence, perseverance and flexibility in the face of challenges and difficulties;
  • Problem solving: identifying the sequence of steps needed, bringing together different skills and issues to be resolved;
  • Reasoning: clarifying questions and critical thinking to justify solutions and determine conclusions;
  • Information processing: organising, presenting and analysing data;
  • Creative (divergent) thinking: generating a range of potential solutions, using alternative approaches, to satisfy the functional requirements of the problem;
  • Critical evaluation: identifying the benefits and disadvantages of different solutions and selecting the most appropriate.
  • Communication: skills to explain their reasoning, actively listen and engage constructively with the views of others;
  • Collaborative working: identifying and pursuing appropriate roles, tasks and content to contribute to pursue the group’s goals;
  • Influencing and leadership: the skill to persuade others of the veracity of a specific course of action and to convince the group to follow a specific direction.

Mathematical reasoning and communication is a pre-requisite topic for this programme.