The neglected middle of thought.
While there is no agreed upon definition for these two types of thinking, a comprehensive body of literature confirms the fact that creative and critical thinking are not identical. They involve, more or less, different cognitive processes and have different strategies (see this page for references). Here is how Beyer (1987) compares the two processes:
“Creative thinking is divergent, critical thinking is convergent; whereas creative thinking tries to create something new, critical thinking seeks to assess worth or validity in something that exists; whereas creative thinking is carried on by violating accepted principles, critical thinking is carried on by applying accepted principles. Although creative and critical thinking may very well be different sides of the same coin they are not identical p.35).”
The above chart (click it for the teacher’s image) and the above linked pretty much stands without comment in their understanding of these two types of thinking.
They also stand as a definition of so much of what is wrong with our society:
We have lots of both the left (creative) and the right (critical) and an abject poverty of what is in the middle…
The ones in the middle mostly are the ones we are afraid of. They are neither starting with the approved, “Yes and,” or, “Yes but,” choose to instead lead with, “Can you really not see it?,” and, “Are you completely out of your minds?” and also have the critical skills needed to then create revolution.
That we really appear to be disinterested in teaching towards…