Guest Post from Creativity Expert, Educator, and Founder of Sparkitivity, Kathryn Haydon
Questions are at the core of learning. Socrates is one ancient philosopher that brings this idea to mind. As teachers, what are ways in which we can formulate questions that get to the depth and heart of learning, making it meaningful to students and thereby engaging them in deeper learning?
Fewer than 15 years ago, Bloom’s taxonomy was revised to reflect creative thinking as the highest and ultimate level of learning. Many years before, E. Paul Torrance identified creativity as the highest form of mental functioning and dedicated his life to designing methodologies that help teachers develop higher-level questioning. Both Bloom and Torrance would agree that the highest level of thinking is creative thinking, which is neither fluff nor lacking in discipline. Creative thinking asks for the thinker’s original thoughts, explorations, experimentation, discovery, analysis, and conclusions. Because they must delve deeply to provide original responses, creative thinking is likely to be more meaningful to learners and thereby they learn at a deeper level and are more apt to apply this knowledge in their lives (i.e., retain!). Creative learning is rigorous, and it combines content with creative and critical thinking. It also appeals to a wide spectrum of learning styles.
Take a look at this chart based on Torrance’s work. Easy, right? In our experience, teachers get very excited about these ideas because all we have to do is tweak the way we ask questions and we get a night-and-day response from students.
As an innovative organization that responds to the needs of its community, Bookopolis has been thinking about ways to bring this level of depth and creative thinking to its platform. Sparkitivity has been working with Bookopolis to develop higher level questioning for their online book reports for two reasons:
- To inspire and engage students.
- To model this method of deeper learning so you can apply it in your own classroom.
In this case, we have provided three levels so students can choose which question to answer, depending on their own interests. You might find that some students gravitate right to Level 3 and are more engaged in writing book reviews than you’ve ever seen them. Others might need some scaffolding and convincing that you do indeed want their original thoughts and there is no one “right answer.” They may not be used to being asked to expand their thought in this way, but can be trained to do so.
Check out a list of the new Leveled Book Report questions here.
You might wonder, How do I assess creative thinking and original thoughts? It’s very easy to do, and we will address assessment in a forthcoming post!
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