Last week we talked about critical thinking skills in general, this time we are going to discuss how critical thinking ties directly into the Destination ImagiNation® program. Critical thinking is so important to Destination ImagiNation, in fact, that it is a part of the logo. The DI Brand Guide offers the official explanation of the box and ball, as follows:
“Our logo and wordmark debuted at the first Destination ImagiNation Global Finals in the spring of 2000.The ball in our logo was designed originally to symbolize team members, who were popping outside of the proverbial box by thinking creative ideas. Red was chosen to represent creativity and energy, and purple was chosen to represent the passion of our participants.
Over time, the box-and-ball logo has come to represent both Destination ImagiNation, Inc. and the Destination ImagiNation program. Additionally, our interpretation of the box-and-ball logo has changed. We now see the box as a symbol of developers—thinkers that prefer structure, think inside the proverbial box, and enjoy conforming to existing expectations and procedures. The ball has come to be a symbol of explorers—thinkers that find structure limiting, think outside the proverbial box, and choose not to conform to existing expectations and procedures. Both in our logo and our program, we recognize and encourage these two very different styles of thinking.”
DI’s emphasis on critical thinking is because it is one side of the creative problem-solving coin with creative thinking as the other. DI jargon calls brainstorming, or creative thinking, the “generating process,” and narrowing down your options, or critical thinking, the “focusing process.” Generating leads to focusing, which leads to more generating, and the cycle continues. In other words: teams are thinking about thinking when doing the process! The Roadmap, found in your DI Program Materials, re-affirms the dual nature of creative problem-solving by saying that “[creative problem-solving] consists of both creative thinking and critical thinking” (page 8). On the same page, this guide states the importance of using both thinking skill sets, because using both idea-generating tools and idea-focusing tools helps keep a team moving toward a final solution, instead of wandering aimlessly from idea to idea.
It is in this focusing process that one can use the Intellectual Standards of clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, and fairness (see last week’s post for more information). By applying the Standards’ questions to your team’s ideas, you can start to focus those ideas according to the focusing categories the DI roadmap lists on page 10:
- Organizing and analyzing possibilities
Your team can organize and analyze those possible ideas by questioning their relevance to the problem or goal or scoring element. Then try to group the ideas for a particular problem or scoring element together.
- Refining and developing promising possibilities,
Your team can refine and develop the most promising solution ideas by questioning how clear and precise each idea is and if the idea is broad and deep enough to encompass all aspects and views of the problem. Examine each idea within your group and then add to or cut out from the idea anything that in the end makes the idea better. Make sure that your idea can account for other’s (such as the appraisers’) interpretations of a particular problem or idea.
- Ranking or prioritizing options
Your team can rank those ideas by questioning if the idea is true and/or doable, if the idea makes sense and follows from the goal, and if the idea has no unfair advantage. Evaluating the ideas in a group and picking just one can be tough, no doubt about it. Your team should think about what they are actually going to be able to accomplish (do they have the proper time, skills, and equipment). The team should double check that the idea does in fact deal with the scoring element (i.e. make sure they refer to the challenge). The team should also make sure that they are not gaining an unfair advantage by using an idea that was not their own (such as from a TM, parent, or another student). If they are, that is an idea that they should not use (see page 17 of the Rules of the Road).
- Choosing or deciding on certain options.
If by the end of the process your team is left with two or three ideas and can’t pick just one, try restarting the focusing process to see if you can combine the best parts of each idea into a single solution.
Note: For more information on this generating and focusing process within DI, please look at the Roadmap pages 8 through 11.
Another way DI highlights critical thinking in its program is through the Connecting the Standards. This document (found HERE http://www.idodi.org/11-12downloads/11-12_connecting_standards7.21.pdf) points out what core areas the program intends to develop in its participants. One of those core areas is thinking and reasoning standards aka critical thinking. These skills are educational standards, because the ability to think critically is an important skill for everyday life (see The Critical Thinking Skills). Check out the below chart from the Connecting the Standards page 6.
As you can see, using critical thinking skills is essential to each and every one of the Challenges, including Instant Challenge.
One of the areas that DI is stressing critical thinking more overtly is Instant Challenge. While Students for a Creative Iowa is currently working on developing some of the critical thinking ICs for our 2012 Instant Challenger to be held on January 14th (check on our website for more details), there are very few such ICs currently in existence. But that does not stop your team from creating your own! Check out our IC Library and try to modify one of those IC so that it involves more critical thinking. Or just use that as a template to make your very own! Remember, any good critical thinking IC will have more than one way to solve its puzzle.
Hopefully, you now know why critical thinking is so important! For more information and ideas on how to develop critically thinking skills with your DI team check out The Critical Thinking Community and especially their K-12 Instruction Strategies and Samples found (http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/k-12-instruction-strategies-amp-samples/613).
For a scholarly article talking more about the importance of critical and creative thinking and the DI program, you can purchase “Building Creative Excellence” by Donald J. Treffinger and Grover C. Young from ShopDI for $1.00. Go HERE (http://www.shopdi.org/index.php?main_page=books_product_info&cPath=1&products_id=16) for more information.
Post Written by Alisha Heisterkamp, Co-Affiliate Director