Converging on Divergent Thinking

Picture the process:
1. Convergent Thinking Part I – Teacher leads learners to amass fact and themes, etc. This is all convergent, that is, specific type thinking.
2. Convergent Thinking Part I continued – Teacher leads learners to parse, merge, squeeze, synthesize the facts into questions and issues they are trying to solve.
3. Divergent Thinking – Teacher uses creativity techniques to encourage
  • fluency of thinking
  • variety of ideas
  • elaboration of ideas
  • combination of ideas
so that students have created new and fresh alternatives to the issue for solution.
4. NOW teacher switches back to convergent thinking┬áby inviting students to identify criteria that would help students assess their tentative – creative solutions in order to evaluate these for their potential success.
  • Using their criteria students begin to filter their ideas and to isolate those that appear to have the most promise.
  • Students use additional or previous research, canvas other individuals, poll, use feedback to refine their ideas.
  • Students use additional criteria to isolate the solutions they have created to choose the most likely ideas.

5. So that now the learners have created their own filters to sift the ideas that likely would have never been generated unless they had engaged the creativity process in the first place.

6. And now they can “rate these ideas” to CONVERGE on the optimal solutions.

Next post will speak to how to “gain acceptance” for their creative problem solving.


What is the First Thing you Thing you Think of When I Say “Ship”?

You’ve brought your students through the left brain distilling process where they’ve boiled off the detritus of excessive trivia and have narrowed down to the issues or questions they wish to solve.

Now it’s time to reverse engines and reverse thinking too. Because now you need to promote lateral, creative thinking.

What is the first thing you think of when I say “ship”? Try it on yourself and with others. Almost always it is “The Nina”, or “The Mayflower”. Something like that. Sooner or later, you will have to model this by offering up “The Starship Enterprise” or something like that. Doing so sends the message to your students to stretch their thinking beyond the obvious. If you really want to impress them, say, “CitizenSHIP”, or “FellowSHIP.”

That will get their attention and more importantly will begin to encourage some creative thinking.

For sure, there are many idea fluency, idea generating strategies! In another post I will offer up some specific references. The point here is that you are modeling and using strategies that are meant to encourage Divergent, that is spread-out thinking where they may likely be NO specific answer.

Could Goldilocks and the Three Bears have ended differently? What would have happened if the South had wind the Civil War? Are there more than one conclusion you can draw from that graph? From that slide specimen?

The possibilities are endless because creativity can be endless too.

Using this process even as in the next post we’ll return to Convergent Thinking, THAT Convergent Thinking will be a whole lot richer in complexity and in risk-taking than if the teacher had never empowered her students to think differently, to risk!