Miller–The Coming Apocalypse

I realize that not everyone might have read this particular article, but I wanted to ask a question pertaining to something that Miller states. He discusses writing as a tool for self-expression, and how today, students have access to many ways of self-sponsored acts of writing (i.e. poems, blogs, screenplays). He takes these ideas further saying that he is more interested in creative thought, rather than critical thinking (148).

Do you think that Miller has the right idea about creative vs. critical? Is this a one or the other situation? How can we, as teachers, generate the environment that promotes either one of these?

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32 Responses to Miller–The Coming Apocalypse

  1. lilypolo says:

    This is a great question! I think this is a multi-possibility situation. Teachers, and this is not limited to English teachers, can engage students in a myriad of ways that encourage both critical and creative thought. Just look at this blog as a tool. First, it is a public tool to allow student thought and ideas to be seen beyond the class room setting. Imagine if you took this tool, but instead used it as a creative outlet for poetry or short-fiction stories? Students could express themselves and share their work with an audience that may include other teachers, neighbors, friends, parents – the sky is the limit! It can, of course, remain anonymous depending on student’s preference. If not in an online form, teachers can either create a class or extra-curricular newspaper club. Students who want to share their voice can, and reach an audience of readers in the school and community. If you teach science, keep a science journal – much like a magazine – where students can write about interested articles they’ve found, share research projects or discuss the latest scientific trends. Whatever the topic, I believe if you think creatively and critically about the ways that ‘adults’ share thoughts in the ‘real world’, you can apply those concepts and ideas to student life. I do not think that creative and critical need to be exclusive ideas or expressions. Just offering students options leaves room for them to surprise you with their ingenuity.

  2. mwishee says:

    I really like this question because this quote is not necessarily something I would have picked out on my own. To me, it seems insignificant and easily overlooked. But I definitely think Miller is on to something important here. I do not, however, find his scenario to be a “one or the other” situation. Instead, creative and critical thinking can and should be treated as equally important – and not just in one discipline over another. There is room for critical thinking in a literature course just as there is room for creative thought in a statistics class. This blend or balance becomes particularly important in today’s classroom, with technology pervading almost everything.

    I really like what lilypolo had to say about the use of blogs in classrooms today. I definitely think this is a creative outlet that we can use for critical thinking – and creative thought as well. For example, for classes often associated with critical thinking, like mathematics and science, technology can be embraced in a way that allows both critical thinking and creative thought. Like lilypolo said, students can do research (critical thinking) and then write about what they found (still, critical thinking) but more importantly, there can be room for creative thought as well (such as reflections on the findings).

    So as teachers we must take on yet another role: showing our students that both modes of thinking are equally as important. One way to do this would be to teach and stress critical thinking in the earlier years of school. I think that by doing this, students can become confident in the ways in which they think. Once they have gained some confidence and opinions, creative thought can and should be embraced in the later years. This should take place especially in college because at this point, it should be expected that most can think critically. To differentiate one’s status as a student or to make a name for yourself, you should then use your creative abilities to show how critically you can think.

    Like most elements of education, however, this blend needs to start at an early age. It also has to be stressed just how equally important both modes of thinking are. Like I said, I really like the idea of an online blog as a creative outlet. Perhaps other modes of media can be used, such as an online chat room exclusively for a math class to work out specific, difficult problems. Or maybe a social studies teacher can somehow establish an online magazine for her class, where students can post weekly (or whenever the teacher dictates) a current event article or short piece on an important historical figure/event.

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