1. If you had the power to transform the educational system to more effectively develop critical thinking abilities, what suggestions would you want to see implemented? You should focus on only one level. Draw upon the research and principles presented in Chaffee’s book and identify the specific processes that you wish to encourage. If I had the power to transform the educational system to more effectively develop critical thinking abilities, I would start to familiarize children with the concepts as early as possible. In the past when I was growing up, the emphasis for learning was placed largely on memorization.
Since then, however, there is a trend toward teaching critical thinking skills in the classroom. These skills emphasize more than memorizing. They emphasize analysis and logic. If I were revamping the education system I would have classrooms begin to teach these concepts as early as kindergarten. “Being open to new ideas and different viewpoints means being flexible enough to change or modify your ideas in the light of new information or better insight. ” (Chaffee p. 56) This would be an important concept to foster in kindergarten because at that age children are still open to new ideas and concepts.
To teach them at that age to be open to new ideas would help them when they get older. This would help the child to grow as a thinker. Having children become critical thinkers at an early age can be accomplished by asking questions that have more than one correct answer. This teaches the child that they can answer the question without being afraid of being wrong. Another important method for teaching young children is to have them work in groups. This exposes them to others’ thoughts and ways of thinking. This is where being flexible comes into play. Young children are naturally flexible in their thinking and open to new ideas.
If we emphasize the importance of being flexible at this young age, the child will have an easier time remaining flexible in their thinking and be more open to new ideas later on in life. Even though working in groups is important, encouraging young children to think independently is also important. (Chaffee p. 71) This can be encouraged in a young child by giving them various ideas and having the child arrive at his own thoughtful conclusion. The reason I would start so young is that I feel that the earlier children are exposed to these concepts the earlier they will be able to use a combination of cognitive abilities, basic attitudes nd thinking strategies. These skills enable a person to clarify and better understand the world. (Chaffee p. 71) 2. Imagine that you were born in a different sociocultural context. Describe the factors that would influence your chances of achieving creative breakthroughs. Emphasize whatever domain you feel best reflects your potential. Be sure to also include the cognitive and developmental notions that are discussed by Csikszentimihalyi. For this question I imagined that I was alive during the depression era and was not part of the wealthy class of that time.
My domain would be the writing of novels because I have always liked writing stories. The following factors would influence my chance of achieving a creative breakthrough. One factor is exposure. One can’t be creative in a domain without being exposed to it. For example, “No matter what mathematical gifts a child may have, he or she will not be able to contribute to mathematics without learning its rules. ” (Csikszentimihalyi p. 29) What this means is that if I was not able to be exposed to writing, books or famous authors through school, I would not be successful in writing myself.
If I don’t learn the rules of grammar and spelling it would be very hard for me to write anything worthwhile that anyone would want to publish. Chance, perseverance or being at the right place at the right time is also important. Conditions might not be favorable for me as a writer during the depression. Times were hard for everyone and everybody was struggling just to put food on the table. There might not be much opportunity for chance no matter how much I persevere. Also, I might not have much energy to put into writing after spending the majority of my time earning enough money to live. No matter how gifted a person is, he or she has no chance to achieve anything creative unless the right conditions are provided by the field. “ (Csikszentimihalyi p. 330) The book gives the example of Michael Jordan and stated that if he “had been born in a country where basket ball was not practiced, he would not have been able to refine his skills and would not have been recognized. ” (Csikszentinihalyi p. 331) Also, I would need to have hope. If there is no hope to use my skill, I will not be successful. It is extremely difficult to make a living as a successful writer.
If I don’t have hope, I will not have much of a chance. One of the most important things I would need is luck. Without luck on my side, my book won’t ever be read by an editor. One would have to have luck for the publisher to choose my manuscript out of the many they receive. It is very important to be at the right place at the right time. The book gives the example of a painter who made an important contact at a party. Using this example, if I go to a party, I might make an important literary contact which could start my career.
If I choose not to attend this party for any reason, I may never meet that contact person and therefore never jump start my career. It is the luck of being at the right place at the right time. Cognitive variables may make me more predisposed to become a writer. I may have more of a strength for writing and less of a strength for math. Writing may come easy to me and if I was exposed early to books, authors and good writing, I may be able to develop this inherited potential. Overall, I feel that it would be extremely hard to become a successful author during the depression unless luck was on my side and I was able to persevere. . The last chapter in Chaffee and the last two chapters in Csikszentimihalyi discuss improving creativity. Analyze the differences and similarities between the two authors on this issue. How does critical thinking facilitate creativity and what else, beyond critical thinking is necessary for creativity to occur. Chaffee states that both thinking critically and creatively are “two essential and tightly interwoven dimensions of the thinking process. These two forms work as partners to produce effective thinking enabling us to make informed decisions and lead successful lives. Chaffee p. 276) Both Chaffee and Csikszentmihalyi have views on creativity. There are both similarities and differences to these views. Csikszentmihalyi feels you should be be surprised and surprise others frequently while Chaffee feels that a person should expect the unexpected. Both authors agree that the creative person should follow up on ideas that create a spark of interest when they emerge. They also agree that it is best to look at a problem from multiple perspectives and that this can be done by using the confirmation of other people.
Csikszentimihalyi suggests the following for improving creativity. First of all he suggests both keeping notes of your interests and having specific goals. He also suggests that a person interested in improving their creativity do things that are enjoyable but also have some challenge to them. Also, by taking charge of your time, being open and focused, allowing time for relaxing and making a space conducive to the creativity you are trying to achieve you will be able to be more creative. Both Chaffee and Csikszentimihalyi feel that establishing a creative environment is important.
This would be a physical environment that allows the person to be more creativ Chaffee feels that in order to improve creativity, one should begin by understanding how the creative process works. He also states that by allowing yourself to be absorbed by the task and the more knowledge you have on the subject in which you wish to be creative the more prepared you are to be creative. Chaffee feels that it is also important to stop thinking about the subject and let the subconscious take over. A person’s mind will continue to work on the subject in the background.
He also says in his book to become aware of our negative voice which he calls the “voice of criticism”. This is a danger to a person’s creativity and the creative person has to learn to recognize the voice of criticism and to ignore it. A person can create a positive voice to put in place of the voice of criticism. When a person thinks of different ways to solve a problem, they are using creative thinking. The evaluating of these alternatives is the critical thinking process. Beyond critical thinking, having the ability to choose freely and decide in what area you choose to be creative facilitates creativity. To exercise genuine freedom, you must possess the insight to understand all of your options and the wisdom to make informed choices. ” (Chaffee p. 293) Chaffee goes on to state “You can learn to redefine your daily life in a new light and enhance its value through free choices derived from thinking critically and creatively. “ (Chaffee p. 293) Sources Chaffee, John. Thinking Critically A Concise Guide. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. Print. Csiksentmihalyi, Mihaly. Creativity:Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1996. Print.