A couple of weeks ago my friend’s son had a job interview at a multinational company and they asked him to give examples from his own life based on Arthur Clarke’s quotation above. This is a perfect example for the profile of workers the companies are looking for today. However, I don’t think there are many students around who can give satisfactory answers to this question.

In his famous TED speech, How Schools Kill Creativity, Ken Robinson says, “Creativity is as important in education as literacy; so, fostering creativity in education is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity.”  By analyzing, synthesizing and applying what they have learned, students can become effective creators or innovators, making original contributions to society.

Helen Buckley gives us the same message in her poem, The Little Boy. Unfortunately, what many children learn at schools even today are: competition, rules, control and conformity. They don’t learn much about the joy of exploration, the art of discovery, how to solve problems and how to innovate.

Effective creators are critical thinkers who are able to “think outside the box” and analyze systems to identify and solve problems. Therefore, effective student learning should always include critical and creative thinking skills. Competencies like creativity and innovation can be improved by the systematic teaching of thinking. The websites below may help you do that:

THE CRITICAL THINKING COMMUNITY provides resources on critical thinking for all levels. Please click on the Begin Here tab at the top. They also have a series of videos for students. This five- part series introduces deep concepts of critical thinking in a clear, engaging and accessible manner. They say while this video is intended for use in grades K-6, it may be useful for students of all ages. For information on the Center’s approach to critical thinking, please see Our Concept of Critical Thinking.

EDUCATIONAL WEB ADVENTURES: Eduweb’s award-winning creative portfolio offers exciting and effective learning experiences. You may try some of them with your students or these creative resources may inspire you to prepare your own web adventures for your students.

CRITICAL THINKING TOOLKIT: The University of British Colombia Learning Commons site offers valuable resources on critical thinking.

EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY AND MOBILE LEARNING: This must-see blog by Med Kharbach provides resources on everything about being a 21st century teacher. Please click on All Categories section to see all types of resources, including critical thinking and creativity.

TEACHING THINKING & CREATIVITY is the website of Robert Fisher, a teacher, researcher and writer on teaching thinking and creativity. You can find sample stories and poems that you can use to teach thinking and creativity to your students. Talking Music: Music for Thinking with Children can be quite interesting to teach.

CRITICAL & CREATIVE THINKING is a directory of critical and creative thinking educational resources on the web.

THE GATEWAY TO 21ST CENTURY SKILLS contains a variety of educational resource types from activities and lesson plans to online projects and assessment items.

Poster created by Malaysian illustrator Tang Yau Hoong.

INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES FOR THINKING, COLLABORATION & MOTIVATION: Indiana University’s website on creativity, creative thinking and critical thinking.

WONDERAPOLIS: is an informational site that asks and answers interesting questions about the world. Every day, a new ”Wonders of the Day” question is posted, and each is designed to get kids and families to think, talk, and find learning moments together in everyday life. Great as a lesson starter and for inquiry – based learning.

Mike Fleetham’s THINKING CLASSROOM offers high-quality resources on thinking and learning.

MYCOTED CREATIVITY & INNOVATION WEBSITE: Dedicated to improving Creativity and Innovation for solving problems worldwide, Mycoted provides a central repository for Creativity and Innovation on the Internet as a summary of tools, techniques, mind exercises, puzzles, book reviews. Please read the quotations in Part 1 🙂

Please check my Pinterest board on Fostering Creativity and Innovation in Education for additional resources.

Creativity and innovation are the keys for effective learning.  Moreover, they are two important traits that all 21st Century teachers should have. I strongly believe that, as leaders we should provide models for our colleagues and as teachers we should model for what we want to see in our students. Therefore, we should constantly come up with new ideas to reconstruct and adapt our teaching methods to the learning needs of our students in order to engage them in the learning process and to maximize each student’s learning potential.

Designed by Krissy Venosdale on Flickr

What do you do to be an effective 21st Century teacher?

How do you influence others to challenge themselves to change and grow?

I would love feedback from you and I look forward to your comments.