TKG KNOW: Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School about Creative Thinking

Twelve Things You Were Not Taught in School about Creative Thinking

Aspects of Creative Thinking that are not usually taught.

Author: Michael Michalko

We’ve been educated to process information based upon what has happened in the past, what past thinkers thought, and what exists now. Once we think we know how to get the answer, based on what we have been taught, we stop thinking. The Spanish word for “answer” is “respuesta,” and it has the same etymological root as “responso” (responsatory), the song people sing to the dead. It’s to say something to what has no life anymore. In other words, when you think you know the answers, based on what has happened in the past, your thinking dies.

We are conditioned to circumvent deliberate and creative thinking wherever possible through rote memorization and robotic learning of formulas and principles. We have not been taught how to think for ourselves. We have been taught what to think based on what past thinkers thought. We are taught to think reproductively, not productively. We have been trained to seek out the neural path of least resistance, searching out responses that have worked in the past, rather than approach a problem on its own terms.

Instead of being taught to look for alternatives and other possibilities, we are taught to look for ways to exclude them. This is because educators discourage us from looking for alternatives to prevailing wisdom. When confronted with a problem, we are taught to analytically select the most promising approach based on past history, excluding all other approaches and then to work logically within a carefully defined direction towards a solution. Instead of being taught to look for possibilities, we are taught to look for ways to exclude them. This kind of thinking is dehumanizing and naturalizes intellectual laziness which promotes an impulse toward doing whatever is easiest or doing nothing at all. It’s as if we entered school as a question mark and graduated as a period.

Once when I was a young student, I was asked by my teacher, “What is one-half of thirteen?” I answered six and one half or 6.5. However, I exclaimed there are many different ways to express thirteen and many different ways to halve something. For example, you can spell thirteen, then halve it (e.g., thir teen). Now half of thirteen becomes four (four letters in each half). Or, you can express it numerically as 13, and now halving 13 gives you 1 and 3. Another way to express 13 is to express it in Roman numerals as XIII and now halving XIII gives you XI and II, or eleven and two. Consequently one of thirteen is now eleven and two. Or you can even take XIII, divide it horizontally in two ( XIII ) and half of thirteen becomes VIII or 8.

My teacher scolded me for being silly and wasting the class’s time by playing games. She said there is only one right answer to the question…READ MORE at

Comments are closed.