Critical Thinking And Creative Thinking Similarities Between Obama

Critical Thinking vs. Creative Thinking


Creative thinking is a way of looking at problems or situations from a fresh perspective to conceive of something new or original.

Critical thinking is the logical, sequential disciplined process of rationalizing, analyzing, evaluating, and interpreting information to make informed judgments and/or decisions.


Critical Thinking vs. Creative Thinking – Key Differences

  1. Creative thinking tries to create something new, while critical thinking seeks to assess worth or validity of something that already exists.
  2. Creative thinking is generative, while critical thinking is analytical.
  3. Creative thinking is divergent, while critical thinking is convergent.
  4. Creative thinking is focused on possibilities, while critical thinking is focused on probability.
  5. Creative thinking is accomplished by disregarding accepted principles, while critical thinking is accomplished by applying accepted principles.



About Creative Thinking

Creative thinking is a process utilized to generate lists of new, varied and unique ideas or possibilities. Creative thinking brings a fresh perspective and sometimes unconventional solution to solve a problem or address a challenge.  When you are thinking creatively, you are focused on exploring ideas, generating possibilities, and/or developing various theories.

Creative thinking can be performed both by an unstructured process such as brainstorming, or by a structured process such as lateral thinking.

Brainstorming is the process for generating unique ideas and solutions through spontaneous and freewheeling group discussion. Participants are encouraged to think aloud and suggest as many ideas as they can, no matter how outlandish it may seem.

Lateral thinking uses a systematic process that leads to logical conclusions. However, it involves changing a standard thinking sequence and arriving at a solution from completely different angles.

No matter what process you chose, the ultimate goal is to generate ideas that are unique, useful and worthy of further elaboration. Often times, critical thinking is performed after creative thinking has generated various possibilities. Critical thinking is used to vet those ideas to determine if they are practical.


Creative Thinking Skills

  • Open-mindedness
  • Flexibility
  • Imagination
  • Adaptability
  • Risk-taking
  • Originality
  • Elaboration
  • Brainstorming
  • Imagery



About Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the process of actively analyzing, interpreting, synthesizing, evaluating information gathered from observation, experience, or communication. It is thinking in a clear, logical, reasoned, and reflective manner to make informed judgments and/or decisions.

Critical thinking involves the ability to:

  • question
  • use logic
  • remain objective
  • examine
  • analyze
  • interpret
  • evaluate
  • reason
  • reflect


In general, critical thinking is used to make logical well-formed decisions after analyzing and evaluating information and/or an array of ideas.

On a daily basis, it can be used for a variety of reasons including:

  1. to form an argument
  2. to articulate and justify a position or point of view
  3. to reduce possibilities to convergent toward a single answer
  4. to vet creative ideas to determine if they are practical
  5. to judge an assumption
  6. to solve a problem
  7. to reach a conclusion


Critical Thinking Skills

  • Interpreting
  • Analyzing
  • Connecting
  • Integrating
  • Evaluating
  • Inferring
  • Comparing
  • Contrasting
  • Classifying
  • Sequencing
  • Patterning
  • Reasoning
  • Forecasting
  • Hypothesizing
  • Critiquing


Yet Chinese students showed virtually no improvement in critical thinking after two years of college, even as their American and Russian counterparts made significant strides, according to the study.

“It’s astounding that China produces students that much further ahead at the start of college,” said Prashant Loyalka, an author of the study. “But they’re exhausted by the time they reach college, and they’re not incentivized to work hard.”

The findings are preliminary, but the weakness in China’s higher education system is especially striking because Chinese leaders are pressing universities to train a new generation of highly skilled workers and produce innovations in science and technology to serve as an antidote to slowing economic growth.

The government has built hundreds of universities in recent years to meet soaring demand for higher education, which many families consider a pathway into the growing middle class. Enrollment last year reached 26.2 million students, up from 3.4 million in 1998, with much of the increase in three-year polytechnic programs.

But many universities, mired in bureaucracy and lax academic standards, have struggled. Students say the energetic and demanding teaching they are accustomed to in primary and secondary schools all but disappears when they reach college.

“Teachers don’t know how to attract the attention of students,” said Wang Chunwei, 22, an electrical engineering student at Tianjin Chengjian University, not far from Beijing. “Listening to their classes is like listening to someone reading out of a book.”

Others blame a lack of motivation among students. Chinese children spend years preparing for the gaokao, the all-powerful national exam that determines admission to universities in China. For many students, a few points on the test can mean the difference between a good and a bad university, and a life of wealth or poverty.

When students reach college, the pressure vanishes.

“You get a degree whether you study or not, so why bother studying?” said Wang Qi, 24, a graduate student in environmental engineering in Beijing.

The merits of the Chinese education system are a perennial subject of debate, in the United States as much as in China. The Obama administration has held up the stronger performance of Chinese high school students on international exams in math, science and reading as an example of stagnation in the United States.

Critics argue that Chinese teachers place an unhealthy emphasis on test preparation and rote memorization at the expense of critical thinking skills and creativity. They also say international exams overstate the strength of China’s system because they exclude students from poorer regions.

The Stanford study, based in part on exams given to 2,700 students at 11 mainland universities, has its own limitations. It does not account for people who are not enrolled in universities, a large swath of Chinese youth. It looks exclusively at students in computer science and engineering programs. And while it measures critical thinking, it does not offer insight into creativity, a topic often hotly debated in discussing the Chinese education system.

Still, the researchers found stark differences when they compared Chinese students with their overseas counterparts.

In addition to examining critical thinking skills, the study looked at how Chinese students compared in math and physics. While testing for the United States is not yet available, the researchers found that Chinese students arrived at college with skills far superior to their Russian counterparts.

After two years of college, though, the Chinese students showed virtually no improvement while the Russians made substantial progress, though not enough to catch up.

The Stanford researchers suspect the poor quality of teaching at many Chinese universities is one of the most important factors in the results. Chinese universities tend to reward professors for achievements in research, not their teaching abilities. In addition, almost all students graduate within four years, according to official statistics, reducing the incentive to work hard.

“They don’t really flunk anyone,” said Scott Rozelle, an economist who has studied Chinese education for three decades and a co-author of the study. “The contract is, if you got in here, you get out.”

The problems plaguing the higher education system have taken on new urgency as China’s ruling Communist Party tries to navigate a difficult transition from an economy fueled by manufacturing and assembly-line work to one led by growth in fields such as information technology and clean energy.

Eric X. Li, a venture capitalist in Shanghai who helped finance the Stanford study, said the success of Chinese secondary schools in teaching critical thinking could mean more innovation among younger Chinese that would help the economy.

“The common narrative that we hear is that Chinese educational system kills creativity and kills innovation,” he said. “But China is probably one of the most entrepreneurial societies in the world.”

The slowing economy has made it difficult for university graduates to find work, with about one-fifth remaining unemployed immediately after graduation and many settling into low-paying jobs.

Lu Jiawei, 22, who studies engineering management at Beijing Information Science and Technology University, said the gloomy job market was to blame for a lack of motivation among students.

“Some students just give up, because no matter how hard they work, they still will never get their dream jobs,” she said.

The shortcomings of the higher education system have left students struggling to find programs that match their aspirations.

Niu Fuzhi, an aspiring computer scientist at Harbin University of Commerce, had high hopes when she enrolled in 2014. But she was quickly disappointed. Professors focused on teaching high-level theories, she said, and classrooms were chaotic.

“I feel like the past two years were a waste,” said Ms. Niu, 20, who ranks near the top of her class.

But Ms. Niu is hoping to make up for the skills she failed to learn in college — by enrolling in graduate school.

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