Thank you for following our series about the 9 Traits of Critical Thinking™ and how each trait contributes to the development of skillful thinking in academics and in social interactions. The previous posting in this blog series presented a brief overview about the trait communicate. This post features the critical thinking trait create.

I use my knowledge and imagination to express new and innovative ideas.

When students have a firm understanding of the trait create, they generate and seek novel solutions, products, techniques, and ideas. You might observe students pushing themselves to think outside of the box, searching for clever solutions or alternative solutions. Opportunities must be provided where the answers or solutions are not obvious, inviting students to show initiative. This in turn leads them to take intellectual risks and push beyond their perceived limits.

Feedback is essential in the application of the trait create. Students should be encouraged to seek critiques from others to refine their ideas and to test their thinking. As students become skilled in demonstrating the create trait, they discover there are multiple solutions to solving a situation, completing a problem, resolving an issue, or constructing a product. This discovery serves as evidence as to why students must move beyond thinking only a single correct response exists.

Students are presented with a wide range of experiences to apply the create trait. In mathematics, they are given the opportunity to create different ways to solve the same problem. A writing assignment may require them to create a different ending to a story than the author chose that would still entertain the reader. In a science investigation, students may be asked to create graphs and plot data to summarize findings in a different way. Other opportunities that apply the create trait are to create lyrics, poetry, or movements to summarize and demonstrate learned information.

In the world outside of school, many occasions arise to use the create trait include contributing new ideas to improve processes or products, solving conflicts with friends, inventing games to play with peers, exploring ways that motivate an audience to participate, or seeking different uses for common items in the home. The list is limitless for how to display the trait create, no matter your age or situation.

How can I help students develop the Create trait?

The following questions can be asked of students to facilitate focus and application of the trait create. Feel free to adjust the vocabulary to promote understanding among students.

  • Do you search for ways to improve things around you?
  • Why should you seek alternative solutions or multiple options?
  • How does feedback from others help you test or improve your ideas?
  • How can problems become opportunities to improve your use of the create trait?
  • What helps you think of novel, clever, or unique products, ideas, or solutions?
  • How do you evaluate the effectiveness of what you create?
  • How does criteria help you select or justify reasonable solutions or ideas?
  • How does the exploration of your interests or new topics contribute to using the trait create?
  • What are examples that show how the trait create might be used in school, at home, in the workplace, or elsewhere in life?

In the next blog post, we’ll explore a fifth trait examine.