Fostering Students' Creativity and Critical Thinking

What it Means in School

image of Fostering Students' Creativity and Critical Thinking

Creativity and critical thinking are key skills for complex, globalised and increasingly digitalised economies and societies. While teachers and education policy makers consider creativity and critical thinking as important learning goals, it is still unclear to many what it means to develop these skills in a school setting. To make it more visible and tangible to practitioners, the OECD worked with networks of schools and teachers in 11 countries to develop and trial a set of pedagogical resources that exemplify what it means to teach, learn and make progress in creativity and critical thinking in primary and secondary education. Through a portfolio of rubrics and examples of lesson plans, teachers in the field gave feedback, implemented the proposed teaching strategies and documented their work. Instruments to monitor the effectiveness of the intervention in a validation study were also developed and tested, supplementing the insights on the effects of the intervention in the field provided by the team co-ordinators.

What are the key elements of creativity and critical thinking? What pedagogical strategies and approaches can teachers adopt to foster them? How can school leaders support teachers' professional learning? To what extent did teachers participating in the project change their teaching methods? How can we know whether it works and for whom? These are some of the questions addressed in this book, which reports on the outputs and lessons of this international project.

English Also available in: French

Thai Team

The work in Thailand was carried out over two rounds of the project and data collection by the joint collaboration between the Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC), Ministry of Education and the Equitable Education Fund (EEF)2 , across two Thai school years. Data collection took place between November 2015 and May 2017. Most classes were in public schools (with a small share in private schools). All participating schools volunteered to take part in the OECD-CERI project. Allocation to the intervention or control groups followed a stratified random sampling, at both primary and secondary education level: stratification depended on the schools’ overseeing institution (either the Office of the Basic Education Commission or another institution), on their average national standardised test score (either high or low), and on the size of schools (small, medium, and large). National policy makers expressed deep interest in randomising control and intervention schools, so as to have better robustness of the findings, even if preliminary before validation. Following the results of this pilot, Thai policy makers implemented policy reforms continuing or aligned with this initiative to foster creativity and critical thinking – and, more generally, improve teaching and learning.

English Also available in: French


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