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OCTOBER 9, 2015 Complex Cognitive Processes Orrin Hawke, Eric Bakker, Rudi Kronhardt, Janelle Leegstra, and
Complex Cognitive Processes
Orrin Hawke, Eric Bakker, Rudi Kronhardt, Janelle Leegstra, and Amanda High
Metacognition can be defined as “thinking about thinking”, and it
involves being aware of one’s own cognitive abilities. Metacognition
in the classroom takes place when students look back on their
learning and think about what they learned and how to go forward.
Teachers apply metacognition when they journal or make
observations about their lessons. Metacognition is important for self-
evaluation and can be a great motivator towards success.
Creativity in the Classroom
Creativity is the ability to produce original work that is
appropriate and useful. It is imaginative, original thinking or
problem solving. To be creative, an invention must be intended.
Most psychologists agree that there is no such thing as “all-
purpose creativity. They believe that people are creative in a
particular area. Although we associate the arts with creativity,
any subject can be approached in a creative manner. Paul
Torrance developed two creativity tests, verbal and graphic
tests. In a verbal test, you might be instructed to think up as
many uses as possible for a paperclip. On a graphic test, you
might be given twenty squares and asked to create twenty
different drawings with at least one square. These tests are
scored for originality, fluency, and flexibility. Possible
indicators of creativity include inventiveness, curiosity,
concentration, adaptability, willingness to fantasize and
daydream, and independence.
Teresa Amabile proposed a three-component model of
creativity. Individuals or groups must have domain-relevant
skills, creativity-relevant processes, and intrinsic task
motivation. Having a rich store of knowledge is the foundation
for creativity but it is not enough. Something more is needed.
There is a need to restructure the problem –which leads to
insight. This process occurs after a problem has been left for a
while, and then returned to.
Creativity and Diversity
White males have been the focus of creativity research and
writing, ignoring women and minorities. It is suggested that
being bilingual or being exposed to other cultures might
encourage creativity. Multicultural experiences support creative
processes, such as retrieving novel or unconventional ideas from
memory, and creative performance, such as generating
insightful solutions to problems. Teaching students about
Creativity is important for an
individual’s psychological, physical,
social, and career success. Some tips
for encouraging creativity in the
classroom are:
• Accept & encourage divergent
o Ex. Offer choices on
topics for projects or
modes of presentation
• Tolerate dissent
o Ex. Ask students to
support dissenting
• Encourage students to trust their
own judgement
Ex. Give ungraded
assignments on occasion
• Emphasize that everyone is
capable of creativity in some
o Ex. Recognize creative
efforts in students work
• Provide time, space, and
materials to support creative
o Ex. Collect "found"
materials for collages or
• Be a stimulus for creative
Ex. Brainstorming or
model creative problem
Brainstorming Brainstorming is generating ideas without evaluation because evaluation often inhibits creativity. It is
Brainstorming is generating ideas without evaluation because evaluation often inhibits creativity. It is
beneficial for both groups and individuals. Some rules for Brainstorming are:
• Feel free to "hitchhike" on other ideas by taking elements from other ideas
• Encourage wild ideas as they lead way to other ideas
• Defer judgement of opinions by other students
• Avoid ownership of ideas as ego of ideas makes it difficult to take criticism of ideas later on in the
brainstorming process
"The Big C": Revolutionary Innovation
"Big-C creativity" or innovation that establishes a new field or revolutionizes an old one. Trying to
create prodigies and innovators. A prodigy is one that has mastered a well-established domain very early
on, whereas an innovator has changed an entire domain. To avoid inhibiting creativity in these students:
• Avoid pushing so hard a child feels as if they have missed out on their childhood
• Avoid freezing the child into a safe, technically perfect way of performing
• Avoid pushing a child to hard to master a field
• Be aware of the psychological wounds that can occur where a child is used to performing and
becomes forgotten as an adult
Critical Thinking

Being a Critical thinker is not learned in one day. A teacher should follow up lessons on critical thinking with additional practice. A critical thinker is:

ó Open-minded and mindful of alternatives

ó Tries to be well informed

ó Has strong judgment of what is a credible source

ó Identifies conclusions, reasons, and assumptions

ó Judges quality of argument, including acceptability of reasons, assumptions, and evidence

ó Can develop and defend a position in proper manner

ó Asks appropriate clarifying questions

ó Formulates plausible hypotheses and plans experiments well

ó Define terms in a way that is appropriate for the context

ó Draws conclusions when warranted but with caution

A teacher should be able to apply principles of critical thinking into their teaching subject. Students should learn how to verify sources, asking questions and connecting the information they read with previous knowledge in mind. Corroboration is making connections between what is being read or viewed in one text

with that from another text. This is where students will note the differences and the similarities about what they are researching. Contextualization has the student view the content in the context it was given, meaning that political, economical, social, spiritual pressures from the time and area where the text was created are additionally analyzed with the information provided. Critical thinking is defined as evaluating conclusions by logically and systematically examining the problem (evidence, and solution). There are several different ways to develop critical thinking in the classroom. The most significant way to do this is to create a culture of thinking within the classroom. This means the teacher should emphasize analysis, problem solving, and reasoning skills. Furthermore, the teacher should encourage a spirit of inquisitiveness within the classroom. Stand Alone teaching programs are designed to teach children critical thinking skills without the students needing extensive knowledge of any subject matter. Argumentation is the ability to construct and support a position and is a by-product of critical thinking. Argumentation requires very similar skills as critical thinking and uses evidence, understanding, and reasoning to support and defend a claim. These skills can be applied to any subject in virtually any grade. KSA: Critical thinking relates to KSA # 6 the most. Translating curriculum into reasoned and meaningful learning with critical thinking being the meaningful outcome.