What are creative thinking skills?
Creative Thinking Skills are presented here as a spectrum of thinking skills which facilitate the ability to generate, manipulate and refine, an imagination. They may be practiced like any other skill.
The manipulation or transformation of an imagination is the creative process. The raw material for an imagination can be drawn from immediate perception, memory and a multitude of collected associations including emotional responses. The greater the number of associations, understandings and experiences available, the richer and more fertile the mental environment in which a creative thought develops.
What are creative thinking skills?
Written Linguistic Articulation – is the ability to formulate appropriate written structure as a coherent whole using appropriate vocabulary.
Verbal Linguistic Articulation – is the ability to formulate spoken structure and coherence as a monologue and in reciprocal conversation using appropriate vocabulary and expression.
Imaginative, Non-Linguistic Thought Pictures in 2 dimensions – is the ability to generate original 2-dimensional pictorial imaginations that are available to be translated externally, for example into images or linguistic descriptions.
Imagined Inner Structure/systems in 3 dimensions and over time – is the ability to maintain in thought, an overview of 3-dimensional physical or conceptual mechanisms, systems, forms or metamorphoses. It is also the ability to co-ordinate a variety of perspectives including the ability to represent the point of view or experience of another person.
Resonance and Patterns in Thinking – is the ability to represent and place memories, experiences and associations into meaningful relationships, whether visual, or in terms of movement, music, mathematical ideas or related concepts.
Heuristic Thinking/Improvisation – is the ability to use common sense when working with unknowns. The thinker uses trial-and-error. Heuristic thinking is often an inspired attempt, and most importantly it entails being willing to fail. It may involve thinking through the practical application of the hands/body or ‘whole-body thinking’.
Co-ordinated Thinking – is the ability to multi-task ideas, concepts, strategies and approaches, while keeping an eye on deadlines, personal organisation and needs, and the associated internal and external ethical considerations associated with any potential action.
Observational Thinking: the commonplace in novel terms – is the ability to produce an innovative approach or insight to common problems or accepted wisdom. It involves seeing beyond the obvious, to reach the essence, the reality or the unseen potential.
Contemplation – is the ability to refrain from judgement or prejudice when considering, for example, information or experiences and maintain that position for a sustained period to achieve a full objective overview.
Critical Analysis – is the ability to make reasoned and coherent judgements on the basis of an informed understanding.
Reflection on Perception – is the ability to objectively compare and contrast a new perception with a previously held view, experience or understanding and support or adapt one or the other. This includes perception of the thinker’s own thought processes. Where this presents a paradox, the thinker uses his/her perceptive ability to recognise it.
Creative Thinking Skills in combination:
- Each of the thinking skills above require receptivity to both outer and inner perceptions including the perception of other thoughts.
- Each requires the use of an imagination as defined above if they are to be able to construct a new thought, idea or reflection.
- Each of the Creative Thinking Skills listed above can be applied to any or all of the others.
- Each can operate unconsciously, in a dream-like state or become fully conscious.
- Each can be applied as an external expression of thoughts or ideas through word, image, design, structure, set of educational principles, ethical systems, biography, spiritual conviction etc.
- The involvement of emotional responses and feelings help to embed a new creative thought so that it may be returned to in a wide range of contexts. Objective reflection upon those subjective responses gives integrity to any actions that come out of the resulting creative ideas.
Archimedes once said ‘Give me a long enough lever and a firm place on which to stand, and I shall move worlds!’
Creative Thinking Skills when actively working together, give the student that ‘firm place on which to stand’, through the possibility of an objective self-reflection, and also provide the lever with which to ‘move worlds’ by enabling them to understand and act with integrity upon external phenomena in an increasingly complex world. This was Steiner’s aim in Philosophy of Freedom.