Creativity and Critical Thinking Community of Educators

By Dr Joy Whitton, Senior Project Coordinator - Monash Education Academy

There is a growing consensus that higher education should foster creativity and critical thinking skills to prepare students to tackle problems arising in complex and globalised societies of the twentieth century. But how to do this well is less clear.

Twenty-seven higher education institutions from 15 countries are involved in a four year Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Centre for Educational Research (OECD CERI) international project which aims to build a community of practice around how educators can foster and assess students’ creative and critical thinking. The project is advantageous to Monash as it will provide evidence about the development of creativity and critical thinking within our units, provide case studies and help to benchmark possibilities with international universities. Monash is the sole Australian university and staff from all ten faculties are involved.

Professor Debbie Corrigan, Associate Professor Janet Scull, Dr Kathleen Aikens from the Faculty of Education and Dr Joy Whitton from the MEA met in Paris in mid October for a project meeting with the OECD and other institutions in the project. Project leaders shared their institution’s progress on implementation, the range of disciplines involved, the professional learning of participant staff, protocols around data sharing, and contextual enablers or constraints in each institution. Central to the project is the use of creativity and critical thinking assessment criteria. Data sources for gauging the effects of professional learning, and changes in educators’ understanding of creativity-producing pedagogies were also sources of attention.

The project provides the opportunity to gain insights into the extent to which our units at Monash build students’ critical thinking and creativity skills. It also gives Monash the opportunity to do additional education research into how critical and creativity  skills are developed across a degree, and  the teaching and learning that supports this.

For more information, contact Joy Whitton