By Lucinda Presley, Collaborative Executive Director
Nationally recognized researchers, educators, businesses, in addition to research studies, point out that the United States’ future in the global economy could be significantly impacted by how well today’s students are taught to think creatively and innovatively.
The foundation of the work done by the Innovation Collaborative is the promotion of these creative and innovative thinking skills in today’s students. A collaborative team of representatives from national arts, STEM, and humanities institutions developed the Collaborative’s list of these skills over a year and a half when the Collaborative was founded. These thinking skills now form the foundation of the Collaborative’s Effective Practices Rubrics that are used to assess effective practices in STEAM education in K-12 classrooms in all disciplines. They also have been studied and successfully statistically validated. They are important thinking skills that our students need from Pre-K throughout their education careers to enable them to be effective contributors to our future workforce.
Interestingly, to successfully navigate the myriad and highly interconnected aspects of our lives impacted by the COVID-19 virus sweeping our nation, all of these Collaborative creative and innovative thinking skills are needed.
Here are some examples of how workers and leaders can use these thinking skills to address the impact of COVID-19.
Define the problem. For example, define their specific problem to solve in areas such as medical supply shortage, food shortage, and disease transmission (and each of these problems has many sub-problems to address)
Evaluate all the necessary information. For example, determine which is the most important - and accurate - information to use in solving the problem
Use visual thinking. For example, look at charts and graphs, especially statistical modeling, look at patients to visually assess symptoms, and also use other arts thinking skills such as persisting, envisioning (seeing a picture of the solution), thinking outside the box for solutions, and taking risks. The other art forms like movement, auditory imaging, and kinesthetic learning are just as important as visual thinking
Reflect on a variety of sensory imagery. For instance, some students learn kinesthetically
Change perspectives. For example, take a holistic view and switch perspectives from the medical to the economic to the social
Compare/contrast. For example, use this skill to evaluate possible solutions
Synthesize. For example, synthesize such aspects as the medical, the economic, the social, and the logistical
Evaluate statements and respond. For example, evaluate information and respond to it appropriately
Collaborate. For example, leaders are having to collaborate more than ever across governmental institutions and workers are having to collaborate across departments
Create. For example, create effective solutions and then use visuals to present these in understandable formats to customers and to the public
Persist. For example, no matter how exhausted or frustrated, workers and leaders in all fields are now having to persist to find solutions
Communicate. For example, workers and leaders more than ever need to communicate their important information to the public in ways that not only are understandable and actionable, but also are motivational
HOW ARE YOU USING THESE SKILLS IN YOUR DAILY LIFE?
By supporting each other and working together to create a safe and effective resolution to these challenging times, we will emerge stronger, healthier, more mentally resilient, and more connected than ever before.