Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo

Second Advisor

Steve Schwartz


In the field of education, there is much discussion around the subtleties of teaching critical and creative thinking. Surrounding the controversy are questions such as, are certain skills are subordinate to others, and can best practices be fully described. Amidst this continuing discussion, most students are not being taught the necessary, fundamental skills that will allow them to become good thinkers; nor is curriculum being aligned to explicitly and systematically include thinking skills. In the interim however, teachers can become aware of what is involved in critical and creative thinking and the dispositions, skills, strategies and environment that foster good thinking. Armed with this knowledge and understanding, teachers can mindfully and skillfully implement critical and creative thinking as part of the regular, mandated curriculum. My concern with this issue, along with my belief that critical and creative thinking are crucial to reaching one's full potential, impelled me to review various conceptions of critical and creative thinking by leading practitioners in the fields of education, philosophy and psychology. The writers include Paul, Ennis, Davis, Tishman, Starko and Marzano among others. From the literature I present a characterization of critical and creative thinking, a succinct description of the necessary dispositions for thinking in this manner, along with the skills involved. I also propose a number of strategies for instruction geared toward the development of critical and creative thinking. Based on the literature review, I have distilled eight pervasively significant principles that teachers can employ to invite and implement critical and creative thinking in their classrooms regardless of grade level, subject area or the particular frameworks that dictate teaching. The principles, presented in the form of a practical handbook as my original contribution, are intended to provide teachers with knowledge and understanding of critical and creative thinking and the essential elements that sustain and propel such thinking.