Critical Thinking & Problem Solving

Using Art to Develop Critical Thinking and Creative Problem Solving Skills

Using art to develop critical thinking and problem solving


Arts Education teaches students to explore materials, make decisions, set up problems of their own, think things through, to visualize, and how to think about concepts in a non-liner fashion.   Works of art pose problems for students to solve, that can usually be resolved in several ways (Lampert, 2007).  By critiquing and interpreting someone else’s work, students must consider multiple perspectives when examining content (2007).  Arts education strengthens several critical thinking disposition subsets, including truth-seeking, maturity and open-mindedness (2007).

Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.  The arts are extremely valuable when teaching these skills (Lowenfield & Brittain, 1987).  By asking students open ended questions, art teachers stimulate this kind of thinking, forcing students to examine a variety of possibilities.  As noted in previous sections, this skill directly translates into better problem solving skills in other content areas.

"The value of the divergent question is that it requires the student to look at a content area from a variety of viewpoints and to participate in an imaginative way in answering the question" (Burkhart, 1962).  


This video features the perspectives of two different art teachers, discussing critical thinking and problem solving in the classroom.