Critical and creative thinking is regaining its popularity in the global education scene. This resurgence in popularity can be attributed to the demands of the evolving economic, political, social and technological world in the 21st century. The competitiveness of the global market demands corporations to constantly innovate. To do so, corporations need employees who are able to think critically and creatively.
Barren of natural resources, Singapore depends on its human population for economic survival. Education then becomes a key instrument in promoting the state’s economic development. In 1959, the Ministry of Education issued a report, asserting that, ‘the government’s education policy is designed to equip the youth of the State with
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If thinking is viewed as behaviour, Skinner’s framework consisting of conditioning and reinforcement can be applied to foster critical and creative thinking skills. From Skinner’s point of view, teachers are seen as behavioural engineers. Teachers can get students to practice critical and creative thinking skills by manipulating follow-up stimuli. For instance, manipulating students’ preferred mode of learning or assessment. Applying this in the Singaporean context, the use of IT in the classroom could encourage critical and creative thinking. With the implementation of the Masterplan of IT in Education, such behaviour can be conditioned in the classroom. Positive reinforcements can be used to get students to think critically and creatively. However, rewards should be offered wisely. On the other hand, Singapore’s assessment system, which focuses on high stakes examinations, would not serve as a favourable form of reinforcement for critical thinking and creativity.
The Singapore education system has evolved over the years, shaped and reshaped to meet economic directives while at the same time, aimed to generate well-rounded students. Meritocracy prevails in the Singapore education system and it has advantages, as well as, disadvantages. I believe this aspect of the education system has the most influence in facilitating the development of critical and