Creativity as a Critical Thinking Tool

Last week, I was blessed to attend and present a workshop at The 9th Annual International Creativity Conference for Educators (EduAcre9). The conference was hosted by The Creativity Foundation of South Africa, founded by Kobus Neethling. It was extraordinary to see how much this foundation (thanks to the MFC-division of Nedbank) is contributing towards improving education in South Africa as speakers, facilitators and teachers from all over the world and from South Africa all gathered at the Klein Kariba Resort in Bela Bela to share pieces of wisdom and inspiration. I truly gained a new found respect for teachers in South Africa. My hope for the future generation was genuinely restored after this conference.

The workshop that I presented was of an interactive nature with the intention to highlight Creativity as a Critical Thinking Tool in the classroom. I began with taking the teachers through a series of games and activities that could be used in the classroom in order for students to think ‘critically’ about certain subjects. Below are some of the points I covered around Creativity and Critical Thinking:

*Critical thinking involves asking questions and possessing the ability to question something in any subject;
*Critical thinking is about thinking in an expansive way. Creativity, in whatever form (not exclusively ‘art based’) is meant to encourage one to think in an expansive way. Creativity is a tool that stimulates and catalyses critical thinking;
*Critical thinking is a vital ability that is lacking in schools & education in South Africa. This is terrifyingly evident when a student leaves high school and enters into tertiary studies or into the working world;
*At school we’re taught that we need to only absorb a certain amount of information to get by, to ‘survive’. Many students don’t want to learn beyond the facts because that’s how they’re taught how to learn. They need to be taught how to learn beyond the facts. I believe that critical thinking should be a subject in school. Students need to be taught how to think critically. This valuable tool would help in developing negotiation skills and encourage a solution based mind frame as opposed to a problem-oriented one.

Let me remind you that The Creativity Revolution is a Young, Fresh initiative that aims to contribute to the upliftment of South Africa. At the EduAcre9 conference I noticed that there may be a bigger need for my type of workshops for teachers. I dream that in the near future, I am capacitated to spread this simple, yet effective workshop to teachers all over the country. I am holding thumbs! If you see a way of getting involved or are able to contribute to such workshops or know someone who knows someone…do shout .

-Chelsey May, founder of The Creativity Revolution

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