Jul 10th 2017

5 Engaging Ways of Developing Creative and Critical Thinking Skills

In our effort to prepare students for real world challenges and provide them with an opportunity to have a good career, creative and critical skills need to be in the focus. They are critical for developing problem-solving abilities that are highly valued by modern employers.

To ensure the best outcomes, these skills need to be practiced in the classroom. Teachers arrange special lessons to demonstrate how creative and critical thinking might be applied in real-world situations.

In this article, I've collected five great methods to help you empower your students to become problem solvers, critical thinkers, and creative thinkers who are ready to take on the most complex challenges.

1. Debate

The first method on our list is an exciting exercise. A teacher introduces the statement and encourages students to take a certain position (somewhat agree, strongly agree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree etc.). The students are divided into four groups according to their position.

The discussion begins, as the students explained why they chose their position, without the help of the teacher. After everyone is done, the outcome of the debate is analyzed and rules are introduced for the next one (it is recommended to conduct the first debate without any rules so the children get used to the concept).

Topics for debate:

  • How Young Is Too Young for an iPhone?
  • Does Class Size Matter?
  • When Do You Become an Adult?
  • Does Life Exist Somewhere Besides Earth?

More topics for debate can be found on Udemy Blog.

2. How is my hero like me?

A great creative exercise for elementary and middle school students. They are asked to identify the person who they consider their hero and prepare an oral report. In this report, students need to write at least five ways in which they are similar to their heroes.

A hero could be a parent, an athlete, a movie character, or someone who played a prominent role in the life of a student. The teacher needs to encourage the class to be figurative and creative.

3. Opposing debates

This exercise is a great variation of debates. We all know that one of the essential aspects of critical thinking is considering and refuting opposing viewpoints. This is the purpose of students in this exercise. Create a list of controversial topics or use the ones you debated earlier and ask the class who agrees with each side of each topic.

Surprise them by asking to defend opposing viewpoints in a short speech. As the result, the students will have to use their critical thinking skills to argue for the opposing side.

4. Tour guide for aliens

The last exercise on our list aims to test the creativity. The students are to pretend they need to conduct a tour for aliens who are visiting the Earth for the first time. Given that they are unfamiliar with human way of life, everything needs to be explained to them.

For example, the curious aliens asked to see the school's stadium and the students need to explain to them the following:

  • What is a game?
  • What is a ball?
  • Why people cheer watching others play games?
  • Why can't people in the seats join the players?

Let some of your students play the aliens! After the exercise, the students will realize that things around them are not always logical, this taking a deeper look at what we do every day.

Creativity and critical thinking are critical skills that should be developed in school because they give the opportunity to be a problem solver. Use the activities and tools described in this article to give your students a chance to be indispensable experts!

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