The Five Colleges of Ohio
Teagle Foundation

Findings: Year 1

Our study of the research on Critical and Creative Thinking in cognitive psychology and other disciplines, combined with our discussions of and experiments with the pilot rubrics, have led to the following general insights. This list will be modified as the project evolves.

  1. All humans have the capacity to think Critically and Creatively, although not all to the same degree or in the same circumstances.
  2. There is no single accepted definition for either Critical or Creative Thinking.
  3. Creative Thinking can be taught and assessed.  It is not ineffable, and it is not the sole province of the divine or the genius.
  4. Critical Thinking is not inherently “boring analysis” and Creative Thinking is not inherently “free expression,” as many tend to believe.
  5. Critical and Creative Thinking are not mutually exclusive, but each can be defined and behavioral evidence of each can be identified for assessment and other purposes.
  6. Certain cognitive and affective traits are associated with both Critical and Creative Thinking.
  7. Critical and Creative Thinking draw upon a knowledge base: the more one knows about a topic, the more effectively one can use Critical and Creative Thinking skills.
  8. Critical and Creative Thinking are both process and product.
  9. Strong academic work and problem solving in all venues require both Critical and Creative Thinking.
  10.  An individual uses both Critical and Creative Thinking at various stages of problem solving, invention, etc., but various cultural traditions may emphasize one or the other at different stages in one’s life. See the Buffalo State University’s example of how both can be foregrounded differently within a Western context.
  11.  Both students and faculty work with misperceptions about the realities of Critical and Creative Thinking. At times, both groups share these misperceptions, but not always, thus leading to ineffective pedagogy and less than ideal learning conditions and results.
  12.  The contemporary U.S. system of elementary, secondary, and post secondary education tends to relegate the teaching of Critical and Creating Thinking to specific stages of cognitive development, thus failing to recognize the integrated nature of both skills (e.g., Creativity emphasized in elementary curricula and Critical Thinking in secondary curricula; Creativity in post-secondary humanities programs; Critical Thinking in many vocational, technical, and graduate programs).
  13. Efforts to create a general rubric to assess either critical or creative thinking should be subordinated to constructing rubrics that enable faculty to assess a wide range of qualities and behaviors based on specific assignments and pedagogies.
  14. Rubrics to assess critical and creative thinking become more refined and thus more effective when the rubric is aligned with the assignment.
  15. Rubric construction is a process that can enable faculty to identify strengths and weaknesses of their pedagogy, thereby giving them the knowledge to transform their pedagogy to enhance student learning.

Institutional/Classroom Dimensions That Can Facilitate Effective
Critical And Creative Thinking

-Challenge = the emotional involvement of members in the organization and its operations and goals

-Freedom = the independence in behavior exerted by the people in the organization

-Idea Support = the way new ideas are treated

-Trust/Openness = emotional safety in relationships

-Dynamism/Liveliness = the eventfulness in the life of an organization

-Playfulness/Humor = the spontaneity and ease that is displayed

-Debate = the occurrence of encounters and clashes between viewpoints ideas and differing experiences and knowledge

-Risk Taking = the tolerance of uncertainty exposed in the organization

-Idea Time = the amount of time people can and do use for elaborating new ideas

-Conflict = the presence of personal and emotional tensions -- in contrast to the idea tensions in the debate dimension

All of the Above are From Puccio, Murdock, and Mance (2007)

-Supportive Environment – the sociocultural context that provides opportunities for creativity and encourages as well as rewards such activities.

-TimeFor some people and in certain contexts, having more time encourages creativity, while other types of individuals and contexts require more rigid deadline pressures to foster creativity.

-Working in Groups

-Active Models of Creative Thinking and Acting

-Assignments that Encourage Independent Problem-Solving and Risk-taking