Creativity and Critical Thinking in EFL Teacher Education

There is a saying which states “a person who reads thousands of books without thinking can be defeated by a person who thinks.” This could be true as advanced technology pampering humans nowadays is the product of thinking. The quality of thinking depends on how deep the thinking is. Deep thinking process being then known as critical thinking has been widely believed as the skill for the twenty-first century. Many countries has adopted critical thinking in their educational agenda, starting from elementary to higher education. This has also been a trendy topic in academic forum and discussion even though critical thinking seems to be difficult to define.

Creativity, which is considered to be the part of critical thinking by some authors, also plays an important role in education. Whether critical thinking needs creativity or critical thinking generates creativity is not a point for debate here; what most educators believe is that students’ creativity need to be enhanced. Together with critical thinking, creativity paves the way for innovation. Fast development of electronic devices, for example, should not be impossible without the involvement of creativity. No wonder it has also been included in school curriculum and has become a fashionable term for promoting learning institution. Even though it is a difficult-to-define term, just like critical thinking, creativity cannot be ignored in education.

Both creativity and critical thinking have penetrated all disciplines, including the discipline of EFL (English as a Foreign Language). Studies investigating creativity and critical thinking in EFL, for example textbooks, teaching strategies, and students & teachers’ perceptions, have been conducted all over the world. Findings show the two concepts are needed in EFL and give positive contributions. No single study denies critical thinking and creativity. Since most previous studies are dominated by how to encourage students’ critical thinking and creativity, what still lacks may be the empirical studies on how to improve prospective EFL teachers’ critical thinking & creativity and how critical thinking & creativity can be infused in the EFL teacher education. This is important because they should promote students’ critical thinking and creativity, and this is impossible if they themselves are not critical, at least being critical to teaching strategies they will apply in the EFL classroom.

This conference therefore facilitates the discussion on critical thinking and creativity in EFL teacher education. The two topics may generate different perspectives, but this is what academics expect from conference: finding perspectives and negotiating meaning. There is indeed no single recipe to any problem. EFL teachers should be critical to critical thinking and creativity. The conference is dedicated to this end.