April 15, 2012

Myths about Critical Thinking and Art

Myth #1:

“Critical thinking applies to math and science.”

When you hear ‘Critical Thinking’, you probably think “math and science’.  Usually, when people hear the words “Critical Thinking”, that’s where their mind goes.  But when you think about it,  Critical Thinking at its core is problem solving.  That skill is integral in every art and writing activity that students engage in.  Personally, I pose art projects as ‘problems’ in my class that students have to solve. If I have 25 students. I will have 25 solutions to the problem, and no two are the same.

Myth #2

Critical Thinking means ‘remembering  things’.

Well, remembering things is important, but applying facts to specific situations is even better.  Artists and writers must go beyond what they know and make inferences from that data.  Inferencing involves making predictions- a high level, cognitive process.

Myth #3

To think critically, students must find one right answer or one solution.

Quite the opposite. Divergent thinking is the hallmark of making art.  That is why no two works are alike.  When students make art, or write a story for that matter, they must decide how and when they use their materials and how they are applied.  For example, students must make an infinite amount of decisions about what materials to use and how to use them, as writing students must decide on voice, point of view, details, choice of words, etc. The key is to choose wisely, and that is where Critical Thinking is in play.

Creating is the ultimate form of Critical Thinking.  Now go create!!

To teach Critical Thinking skills to your students, check out my art and teacher resources at 

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