At school, we rarely value creativity. The focus is always set on the analytical process, both during the study phase and the evaluation phase. The further we advance in our studies, the less we are able to think outside of the box, resulting in a big waste of potential, since divergent thinking can be a life-improving skill.
The new edition of the course “Promoting Creativity, Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving in the classroom” took place in Palermo from 17/09/2023 to 23/09/2023. The participants came from all across Europe, with Greta, Katrin, Bergit and Merike from Merivälja School, Estonia; Amélie from HEPL University College, Belgium; Diandra from St. Monica School, Gzira, Malta; Beáta from Nyíregyházi SzC Wesselényi Miklós Technikum és Kollégium, Hungary.
Traditionally, creativity is seen as a “gift”, either you have it or you don’t. Actually, as it is shown by studies, creativity is a skill and as such, it can be trained. Furthermore, it is one of the most required skills of 21st century, both for personal and professional growth.
Our training course started with a focus on the most required 21st century skills and the “4 Cs”: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration. The theoretical contents were learned through practical activities, such as the creation of crosswords and visual brainstorming.
The latter, in particular, marked the starting point of a reflection on the differences between convergent and divergent thinking, as for their characteristics and principles. Moreover, starting from the analysis of concrete examples, we could think about the interrelation of these two elements and see that they are both necessary to perform efficiently at every kind of task.
During the week, a lot of challenges on how to think outside of the box were presented to our participants and met by them. These activities were also useful to find out the barriers to creative thinking.
To foster lateral thinking (but also critical thinking) we trained in the use of the “6 thinking hats technique” and tried to apply it to the different subjects and needs of teachers, from assignments to self-evaluation and also formative assessment. Concerning assessment, we also investigated the topic of peer assessment and review and how to give feedback.
During the second part of the course, the focus shifted towards visual strategies and the 5 steps of the creative process. A series of activities and digital examples were presented, followed as usual by practical work, reflection, implementation and again reflection on the topics covered.
Critical thinking was a core topic of the training course. We analyzed the power of questions and the participants engaged in a series of activities on how to make good questions and also activities that challenged their usual perspective, designed to foster critical thinking itself. For the same reason, a lot of time was devoted to debates and sharing sessions on best practices.
During the whole week, the participants were open to dialogue and their contribution was really valuable. While working on the different tasks and activities, they were able to create an amazing team, and it showed during the last day of our course, which was focused on problem solving games (both traditional and innovative) and on teamwork.
It was an incredible week. We are sure that all the participants will be able to apply what they learned during this training course in their professional environment and that it will have a good impact on the promotion of creativity, problem solving and critical thinking as key skills.
Discover more about this course here.
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.