Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking Skills

Following Calvin Taylor's Model

A young girl thinking

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The Calvin Taylor creative thinking model describes the talent areas as productive thinking, communication, planning, decision making, and forecasting. This model is best known as Talents Unlimited, a program of the National Diffusion Network of the U.S. Department of Education. The Taylor model incorporates both the critical and creative elements of thinking.

Rather than a taxonomy, this is a thinking skills model that describes the essential elements of thinking, beginning with the academic talent and then incorporating the other talent areas, as described in more detail below.

Productive Thinking

Productivity promotes creative thinking in the Calvin Taylor model. It suggests critical and creative thinking of many ideas, varied ideas, unusual ideas, and adding to those ideas.


Communication has six elements which include:

  • Give many, varied, single words to describe something.
  • Give many, varied, single words to describe feelings.
  • Think of many, varied things that are like another thing in a special way.
  • Let others know that you understand how they feel.
  • Make a network of ideas using many, varied and complete thoughts.
  • Tell your feelings and needs without using words.


Planning requires that students learn to tell what they are going to plan:

  • The materials that they will need.
  • The steps that they will need to accomplish the task.
  • The problems that might occur.

Decision Making

Decision making teaches the student to:

  • Think of the many, varied things that could be done.
  • Think more carefully about each alternative.
  • Choose one alternative that they think is best.
  • Give many, varied reasons for the choice.


Forecasting is the last of the five talents and requires students to make many, varied predictions about a situation, examining cause and effect relationships. Every element of the Calvin Taylor model is used when a child invents.

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Bellis, Mary. "Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking Skills." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Bellis, Mary. (2021, February 16). Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking Skills. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "Critical Thinking and Creative Thinking Skills." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).