Students’ Questioning and Creativity: How are These Related?

Students’ Questioning and Creativity: How are These Related?

Patrícia Albergaria Almeida (University of Aveiro, Portugal), José Joaquim Teixeira-Dias (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Jorge Medina (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4157-0.ch012
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University students must develop several higher-order skills along their higher education route. One of these fundamental skills is creativity. The practice of questioning is one of the modes to enhance creativity. In this paper, the authors illustrate how students’ approaches to creativity can be linked to the types of questions they ask in Higher Education. Several teaching and learning strategies were implemented in a geology course and a chemistry course, at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, as a way of promoting students’ questioning competence. The relationship between the kinds of questions asked and the students’ approaches to creativity is analysed and discussed.
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1. Introduction

Is it possible to organise life in schools and classrooms in such a way that young people not only have the opportunity to express their creativity, but systematically become more creative? (Claxton et al., 2006, p. 57)

Presently, universities are expected to develop student degree of deep, conceptual, and integrated learning (The Quality Assurance Agency, 2007). This kind of learning involves being creative, and the context of our research, of asking quality questions. Force (2000) sees the process of question-generating and, in particular, the design and use of higher-level questions as exercises in the improvement of creative skills: “to enhance creativity, we must develop and maintain an attitude of creative questioning” (p. 1).

Carin and Sund (1985) also demonstrated that students reach significantly higher levels of thinking when they are encouraged to develop skills in generating creative questions and when they are provided opportunities for dialogue with peers about the questions raised.

We perceive creative thinking to require an obvious tendency to ask questions. Actually, in our view, one of the most important indicators of creativity, along with experimenting, thoughtfulness, attentiveness, environment-setting and resilience (Claxton et al., 2006), is the capacity to question, leading in sequence to a deep approach to learning. Thus, in this paper, we intend to investigate the kind of questions university students ask, as indicators and consequences of creativity. In particular, we propose to:

  • Describe teaching and learning strategies used to foster students’ creative thinking.

  • Identify and characterise the different types of questions students ask during their learning.

  • Characterise and map students’ approaches to creativity.

  • Discuss the relationship between students’ questions and students’ approaches to creativity.

This paper starts by exploring the role of students’ questioning in the development of higher-order thinking skills, such as creativity (Ten Dam & Volman, 2004; Zoller & Pushkin, 2007), followed by a discussion on how to develop students’ questioning in higher education. The study presented in this paper was developed with first-year Chemistry students in Science and Engineering courses, and Geological Engineering master students, at the University of Aveiro, in Portugal. This study intends at contributing to the development of pedagogical models that promote student-focused approaches, stimulating university students to become active participants in their learning process, and teachers to act as promoters of innovative teaching strategies.

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