Creative & Critical Thinking

Learning at DCU

Creative & Critical Thinking

Introduction: understanding why creative and critical thinking skills are important

Image of statueIn the introductory unit: 'The academic environment: adjusting to university life', the differences in approaches to learning in university were outlined. In order to develop the requisite deeper, more holistic approach to learning, it is essential to foster creative and critical thinking skills.

Many great breakthroughs and discoveries in art, science and innovation have resulted from combining creative and critical thinking skills. Approaches differ considerably between the skills used in creative thinking and those used in critical thinking. However, it is because of the synergy created by the combination of both sets of skills that they are being discussed in conjunction with one another in this unit. By applying creative and critical thinking approaches to your subject area you will enrich and deepen your learning experiences. Furthermore, creative and critical thinking skills can benefit many other areas of your life from problem solution to decision making.

This unit will introduce the processes and approaches involved in critical and creative thinking and explain how, when used together, they can benefit and enrich your learning. It is important to point out that the guidelines provided in this unit are introductory and generic (in so far as that is possible!). You need to be aware of discipline-specific conventions in this regard. It may be that there are preferred ways of thinking in particular subject areas. All learning skills should ideally be developed within the particular parameters of your discipline(s). As you engage in the university learning experience you will progressively develop knowledge of subject-specific discourse, and through participating in it come to understand its particular conventions. In the meantime, if in doubt, check with your lecturers.

Learning objectives

At the end of this unit, you will:

  • understand what is meant by creative thinking
  • have had an opportunity to engage in some creative thinking activities
  • understand what is meant by critical thinking
  • have learnt some strategies that you can apply to foster both creative and critical thinking skills
  • understand how you can combine approaches from both critical and creative thinking skills to enrich and deepen your learning experience
  • be able to establish the preferred ways of thinking in your subject area(s).

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