CSS=Creative Slice of Self
While the course I presently teach, Thinking Critically and Creatively, will no longer be offered as a general studies course after this semester, spring of 2018 – I do hope all courses will include the elements of critical thinking and creative thinking. I have written essays on the importance of critical thinking as being fundamental to learning, understanding, and application of one’s knowledge base. It is equally important to become a creative thinker in order to develop a life philosophy that truly reflects who you are, a thinking framework that you can rely on to guide you through difficult and challenging problems.
The creative thinking process produces ideas that are unique, useful, and worthy of further elaboration, while the critical thinking process is used to evaluate the worthiness of ideas and to organize plans for implementing them. Creative thinking and critical thinking thus work as partners to produce effective thinking, enabling you to live a fulfilling and successful life. Living your life creatively means bringing your creative talents and critical thinking abilities to all the dimensions of your life.
In my thinking critically and creatively course, each student is required to present a CSS = Creative Slice of Self to the class based on the following rubrics:
Describe a Creative Area in your life in which you are able to express your unique personality and talents. Be specific and give examples.
- Why do you feel that this area is creative?
- How would you describe the experience of being engaged in a creative activity?
- Where do your creative ideas come from?
- How do they develop?
- What strategies do you use to increase your creativity?
- What obstacles block your creative efforts?
- How do you try to overcome these blocks?
The following are examples of two students’ CSS presentations – the presentations usually take the form of a power point for visual effect.
CSS= Creative Slice of Self
- Why do you think and feel that this area is creative? I believe crafting décor and scrapbooking are creative areas because you can get inspired from books and every day experiences, and then make it your own.
- How would you describe the experience of being engaged in a creative activity? I think creative activities are exhilarating. I feel most relaxed when I am striving to be creative with some new perspective or idea.
- Where do your creative ideas come from? My creative ideas come from trial and error, snippets from other people, and sources that I discover; and an internal spark that ignites inside of me – Eureka!
- How do your ideas develop? They develop rather quickly – something triggers a new image, perspective, or vision in myself; where exactly? I do not know.
- What strategies do you use to increase your creativity? My strategies for increasing my creativity are reading or looking at pictures about the subject matter that I am interested in, a curiosity about it, or brainstorming.
- What obstacles block your creative efforts? Noise and distractions block my creative efforts.
- How do you try to overcome these blocks? I seek out alone time in another place or outside the house in a natural setting.
CSS= Creative Slice of Self — I am creative when it comes to designing lighting control systems for buildings where I work.
- Why do you feel that this area is creative? Because every space can be lit and controlled differently. I would like to think I’m creative when it comes to different ways to design a space.
- How would you describe the experience of being engaged in a creative activity? Fun & challenging would be a good word for it; it’s one of my favorite tasks about my job. I enjoy getting calls for help designing a system for a particular room or building.
- Where do your creative ideas come from? Mainly from past experience; I’ve learned from trial and error. Also from continued education, I am always staying up to date on current technologies and ideas.
- How do they develop? I usually formulate a number of scenarios in my head and then transfer them to paper. I also ask a number of questions from the customer to understand what their needs are.
- What strategies do you use to increase your creativity? I am constantly learning about new products and attending sales conferences & webinars. I like to discuss with others in the industry to see what they are doing and share ideas. I appreciate constructive feedback.
- What obstacles block your creative efforts? Time constraints, excessive workload, and rude customers.
- How do you try to overcome these blocks? I try to keep up a calendar with the due dates and prioritize deadlines, share workload with others as needed; however, there is not much I can do about rude customers other than try to be polite, and get it over with quickly.
Finally, defining or explaining Creativity can be like nailing jello to the wall – here are some quotations which may help you get in touch with your own creativity.
- “The artist is not a different kind of person, but each one of us is a different kind of artist.” Eric Gill
- “Creativity is the search for the elusive ‘Aha,’ that moment of insight when one sees the world, or a problem, or an idea, in a new way.” Lesley Dormen
- “Creativity is a marriage between ideas which were previously strangers to each other.” Arthur Koestler
- “Creativity is the magical, unreasonable leap that imagination willingly makes, allowing new, original ideas to be born.” Jerome Bruner
- “Creativity is ‘firing of my soul.’” Mozart
- “The key to successful methods comes right out of the air. A real new thing like an idea, a beautiful melody, is pulled out of space.” Thomas Edison
- Concerning the invention of the light bulb: “Why do you persist in this folly? You have failed more than nine thousand times.” Edison was astonished at the question, replying, “I haven’t even failed once; nine thousand times I have learned what doesn’t work.”
- “Every human being is the architect of his or her own future.” Anon.
- “You better start swimming or you’ll sink like a stone/For the times they are a-changing.” Bob Dylan
- “The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.” Oscar Wilde
- “He who is not busy being born is busy dying.” Bob Dylan
- “You must expect the unexpected, because it cannot be found by search or trail.” Heraclitus
- “Look and you will find it – what is unsought will go undetected.” Sophocles
- “The creative mind is a continuum of layers between the conscious and subconscious. We, as archaeologists, have to sometimes dig to find our creativity.” Arthur Koestler
- “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Edison
- “Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- “The quality of imagination is to flow.” Emerson