Ever heard of Divergent Thinking? Unless you’re a teacher or a counselor or psychotherapist, probably not.
And, according to parenting.com, it is the KEY to problem solving and is the backbone of creativity — understanding what the problem is, and then imagining the possibilities of what could be.
Divergent thinking is different, out-of-the-box, atypical, and maybe a little off-key. It’s the process of generating multiple related ideas for a given topic or solutions to a problem. It’s the study of things like fluency, originality, flexibility, and collaboration.
And in order to be successful in life, isn’t that what our kids really need to learn?
“The word creativity, in our society, tends to be applied to artistic endeavors. But divergent thinking is an essential part of everyday life, whether it’s navigating office politics or devising a new social-media network.” It’s essential to your child’s success.
Creativity scores have significantly decreased since 1990. In researching why that is, we realized that The No Child Left Behind Act has a relentless focus on performance and that it has seeped down to the earliest levels of education. Standardized testing in kindergarten? Schools are spending more time and effort drilling for exams and less time supporting creative, child-driven learning. In other words, rather than the answers being A or B or C, there is only one right answer.
While we were developing STORY CRAZE, we saw first-hand how divergent thinking, especially in a collaborative environment, creates something really special. Kids draw cards containing topics that are completely unrelated. Then, they’re challenged to collaborate with others while stretching their imaginations to the sky’s limit to create out-of-the-box solutions. And it doesn’t hurt that all the way through that divergent thinking there is laughter. Lots of laughter. And great friendships made.
What are your thoughts on relentless standardized testing? Would you like to see more divergent thinking and creativity used in the classroom?
Ellen Stebbins is a founder of StoryClub Games, where imaginations run wild! Our products create experiences where people connect and get to know one another better, stretch their imaginations and have loads of fun.
Our newest game, STORY CRAZE, is live on Kickstarter at www.storycraze.com. It’s the hilarious game that sparks imagination, creativity, and conversation in children to make up crazy stories. Developed with kids, it’s play-tested and kid approved! STORY CRAZE uses random PEOPLE, PLACES, and THINGS cards as cues to ignite outside-the-box thinking to make up outrageously funny stories. Kids UNPLUG from technology and have fun hanging out together!