The first qualifications are now available on the UK Register of Regulated Qualifications and others are expected to follow in 2019. They are designed in such a way as to encourage the development and recognition of the following creative thinking skills in students:
- Written articulation
- Verbal articulation
- Non-linguistic images in 2-dimensions
- Structures and metamorphoses in 3-dimensions and over time
- Resonance and patterns in thinking
- Heuristic thinking / improvisation
- Observational thinking
- Co-ordinated thinking
- Critical analysis
- Reflection on Perception
This ACTS project work has been founded upon a broad range of specific creative thinking skills that enhance and enable meaningful creativity across all disciplines in education and the workplace. While some of these creative thinking skills are already recognised and acknowledged through standardised testing, others are not. Because of this, these other skills are often overlooked in assessment practices, they are also often under-developed and poorly integrated in primary and secondary (high school) education, leading to the current shortage of effective creativity and innovation so needed in higher education, society and the workplace.
The qualifications take a trans-disciplinary approach and are designed to encourage students to think beyond the usual separate “strands” of learning and to develop their experience of interconnection and context. They will also enable and enhance the students’ capacity to use creative thinking across the entire curriculum.
There will also be a strong independent project element where students will need to direct their own learning and take greater responsibility for that. Alongside the more traditional, formal elements of education, the qualifications will enable non-formal and informal learning to be included and recognised, in order to allow the unique talents and interests of each student to be acknowledged.
The qualifications will be at level 2 UK (level 3 EQF), and at level 3 UK (level 4 EQF) and are designed to also meet national curriculum requirements of each of the partner countries.
Erasmus+ programme assessors described this project as “a forward looking, highly strategic proposal… based on research and solid analysis with ambitious outputs”. Furthermore, it includes “Novel working methods to motivate students…. and is a “highly credible, valid, portable alternative.”
The Creative Thinking Skills Spectrum as outlined above also has potential for development within higher education and the workplace.
Creative Thinking Skills
Over fifty delegates participated collaboratively in the ACTS dialogic research and development conferences held in the United Kingdom, Finland, Norway and Denmark. Their invaluable collaborative working helped identify key shared aims and requirements. Without their outstanding efforts, in good faith, this project would have not been able to manifest so quickly or successfully.
The participants included
Alison Richards, Alistair Pugh, Allegra Brunnborg,Andrea Brandao-Berglund,Charlotte Rostrup, Charlotte Von Bulow, Christine Reier-Røberg, Claus Dahl, Connie Wagner, Eeva Raunela, Eli Vantoch-Wood, Elisabeth Zoellner, Hanne Alterhaug, Hanne Teigen, Helle Alesci, Henrik Thaulow, Ingvild Øverland, Jason Pond, Jon Syed, Judy Foster, Juha Eskelinen, Kai Koskimies, Kati Heikkilä-Huhta, Kerstin Bruggemann, Kevin Avison, Kirsi Peräjärvi, Kjell Helge Johansen, Kjetil Sørensen, Lars K Thetmark, Liisa Poikkimäki, Liz Attwell, Louise Tiley, Maria Virkkilä, Marianne Law-Lindberg, Martin Lauesen,
Mervin Wiik, Mette Petersen, Miia Bergman, Morten Klinkvort, Ole Graf, Ole Graf 2, Oren Lieberman, Outi Rousu, Pia de Leeuw van Weenen, Rachel Gatehouse, Sørren Devarc, Trond Skaftesmo, Tuire Matikainen, Tuula Karkia, Tytti Mecklin, Ulrike Mὒller, Vivienne Kravik, Wenche, Odegård, Randi Pisani, Frederikke Torpp-Larssons, Kirsi Perttola-Ylinampa, Henrikke Mørck, Elaine Holt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can any school use the ACTS suite of qualifications?
These Diplomas will be available to any schools that are interested in delivering them anywhere in the world. The key requirement for schools will be that they have a passion for innovative approaches to teaching and learning, an interest in teaching a broadly integrated curriculum, encouraging a transdisciplinary approach to education where students are challenged to think creatively, show initiative and take greater responsibility for their own learning.
Although the project was initiated by the Steiner Fellowships in the four partner countries, this is not a specifically Steiner Waldorf curriculum. Other schools that meet the requirements will be encouraged to participate. To date we have had interest from a variety of schools all over the world, including Southern Africa, Brazil and the USA.
Where can I find out more about Creative Thinking Skills?
What subjects will be included?
The proposed curriculum will include:
- Language and Literature (first/native language)
- Natural Science
- Movement and Physical Education
- Foreign (acquired) Language
- Global Awareness (Humanities)
- Art, Craft and Design
- Performing Arts
There will also be an Independent Project Module and a separate Creative Thinking Skills module which will draw evidence for assessment from all areas of the curriculum and be awarded as a standalone qualification or as the core of the Diplomas.
Can my child use it to get into university?
This qualification is equivalent in level and scope to a range of other access to HE qualifications.
What will it cost?
We intend that the costs will be broadly in line with those for similar high school qualifications. The qualifications will be awarded by Crossfields Institute, which is a charity so their intention is not to make a profit. There will be an annual school/centre approval fee for any participating school and a registration fee for each learner that registers to take the Diploma as is typical for any qualification such as this.
When will it be ready?
It is our intention to launch the Diplomas in a phased process from Autumn 2018 onwards, subject to specific regulatory requirements and internal pilots.
What will teachers need?
Any schools delivering these Diplomas will need to ensure that a minimum of two teachers undertake a specialist teacher education programme that we are developing to align with the needs of the qualifications. It will be a part-time, work-based learning programme which involves approximately 500 hours of learning over two years. Most can be undertaken as distance learning supported by a small number of intensive residential weeks. The programme will be certified within the Crossfields International University partnership and will be delivered as a Postgraduate Certificate in collaboration with Alanus University, Germany.
Who should I contact about piloting or adopting ACTS qualifications?
If you are interested in finding out more we suggest that you contact the national representative in your country or Crossfields Institute direct ,using the contact information below:
- UK: Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Crossfields Institute: email@example.com
- Norway: Steinerskoleforbundet: Henrikke.Morck@steinerskolen.no
- Finland: Steinerkasvatuksen Liitto: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Denmark: Sammenslutningen Af Frie Rudolf Steiner Skoler: email@example.com
What Qualifications are being developed?
The Acknowledging Creative Thinking Skills (ACTS) project is a 3 year project (2015 – 2018) sponsored by the Erasmus+ programme to develop a valid alternative suite of high school Diplomas. The aim is to create two levels of qualifications, one for 14 – 16 year olds, another for 16 – 18 year olds that will represent a widely recognised alternative to what is currently available in most countries. This process has reached the stage of formal piloting.
These Certificates and Diplomas will take a transdisciplinary approach to develop their experience of interconnection and context and develop their capacity to use creative thinking across the entire curriculum.
The proposal is that there will be a suite of qualifications called ‘Integrated Education: Creative Thinking Skills’ at UK Levels 2 and 3 (European Qualification Framework Levels 3 and 4), a Certificate in Creative Thinking Skills (CTS) which will include an Independent Project. This certificate can stand alone or form part of the Core Diploma at each level. The core Diploma, in turn, can stand alone or form part of the Extended Diploma. This will make it as relevant and accessible across the widest possible demographic including disadvantaged students.
We have developed a CTS Certificate module which can over-arch any content from which appropriate evidence can be drawn, alongside the personal project component, allowing schools or training courses to trial this approach in a managed way alongside existing provision. This has attracted positive interest in UK and overseas. The other diploma modules for piloting have content aims but with an emphasis on trans-discipline working, personal projects or studies and the incorporation of non-formal and informal learning, in order to allow the unique talents and interests of each student to be acknowledged. There will be no required exams as such.
The Erasmus+ bid was extensively reviewed by the Erasmus+ programme reviewers. They said our proposal was “a forward looking, highly strategic proposal… based on research and solid analysis with ambitious outputs”. Furthermore it includes “Novel working methods to motivate students….and is a “highly credible, valid, portable alternative.”
Why Creative Thinking Skills?
A number of reports from employers and research organisations including the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics have reported that whilst school leavers and university graduates are leaving with ever increasing qualifications, many are not well equipped for the world beyond the classroom. Employers in particular are noting this and recognise that in many ways the education systems internationally are failing to develop young people with the skills they need to succeed in the world such as good communication, the ability to work as part of a team, the ability to think creatively and situational awareness. This project represents a commitment to address this problem.
A set of creative thinking skills have been identified by researchers as being key to success, these include:
- Written Linguistic Articulation
- Verbal Linguistic Articulation
- Imaginative, Non-Linguistic Thought Pictures in 2 dimensions
- Imagined Inner Structure/systems in 3 dimensions and over time
- Resonance and Patterns in Thinking
- Heuristic Thinking/Improvisation
- Co-ordinated Thinking
- Observational Thinking:
- Critical Analysis
- Reflection on Perception
The diplomas are being designed in such a way as to encourage the development and recognition of the following core competencies in students:
- Social awareness
- Relationship skills
- Responsible decision making
- Sustainable, responsible action
The aim is to encourage independence, self-confidence, curiosity, problem solving, innovation, imagination and the ability to self-direct.
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