The Thinking competency encompasses the knowledge, skills, and processes we associate with intellectual development. It is through their competency as thinkers that students take subject-specific concepts and content and transform them into new understanding. Thinking competence requires specific thinking skills as well as habits of mind and metacognitive awareness. These are used to process information from a variety of sources, including thoughts and feelings that arise from the subconscious and unconscious mind and from embodied cognition to create new understandings.

The Thinking Core Competency has two interrelated sub-competencies:

Communicating Core Competencies

Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking involves the generation of ideas and concepts that are novel and innovative in the context in which they are generated, reflection on their value to the individual or others, and the development of chosen ideas and concepts from thought to reality.

People who think creatively are curious and open-minded, have a sense of wonder and joy in learning, demonstrate a willingness to think divergently, and are comfortable with complexity. A creative thinker reflects on existing ideas and concepts; uses imagination, inventiveness, resourcefulness, and flexibility; and is willing to take risks to go beyond existing knowledge.

Critical and Reflective Thinking

Critical and Reflective Thinking encompasses a set of abilities that students use to examine their own thinking and that of others. This involves making judgments based on reasoning, where students consider options, analyze options using specific criteria, and draw conclusions.

People who think critically and reflectively are analytical and investigative, willing to question and challenge their own thoughts, ideas, and assumptions and challenge those of others. They reflect on the information they receive through observation, experience, and other forms of communication to solve problems, design products, understand events, and address issues. A critical thinker uses their ideas, experiences, and reflections to set goals, make judgments, and refine their thinking.