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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.

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French (CRI) Team

The French (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research, CRI) team participated in both rounds of the project, with the first round administering an intervention in science and the second in the social sciences. The intervention took place only in primary education and was mostly carried out in public schools, with the exception of one private school. Data collection lasted from November 2015 until June 2017. It is worth pointing out that both the intervention and control classes had already been working on creativity and critical thinking skills. However, only the intervention teachers were given access to the OECD rubrics and resources. The intervention with students ran in the second semester for several months, with at least one occurrence per week. Les Savanturiers, a French programme of the CRI aimed at promoting teaching and learning through scientific research, acted as the channel for the intervention. The French team thus used research-based learning as its signature pedagogy (a derivative of Project Based Learning). See Chapter 3 for a more detailed discussion of the different signature pedagogies.

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