Divergent Thinking? Hm…

This past week has found my mind whirring into a tizzy of twirling, whirling thoughts. Too many thoughts!, I thought. My one friend took the time to point out, however, Better many thoughts than no thoughts. I now take my sometimes over-creative mind as a blessing now that I really think about it.

How the story goes with me and writing papers, you see, is that I am excited to write, but then I have so many ideas, ways of writing, things to write about, and things to read to write about that I can’t seem to gather all my thoughts to make my paper happen efficiently. What I have to realize though is that it is an amazing thing that as a student I am willing and eager to continue brainstorming new ideas for my assignments. It should make my teachers happy at any rate!

I think this way now as a student, but it causes me to reflect more as a soon-to-be teacher. Another friend of mine, Rachel, posted a video online for me called Changing Education Paradigms, and besides being an extremely artistically well done video, it really got my wheels turning.

Rachel warned me that it was long, yes, but VERY good and worth my time since I’m going to be a teacher. And boy was she right! The professor brings up so many interesting points with education today, but the one which I found most thought-provoking was his bit about divergent thinking. This is basically students ability and willingness to think off the beaten path, or creatively. The way I put it in a paper I just wrote was in explaining how schools try to fit students into a cookie cutter mold to prove they’ve learned. What divergent thinking is, is a student who can instead look at that cookie cutter mold and come up with hundreds of different things for which we can use cookie cutter molds.

The professor says we are all capable of genius levels of divergent thinking at Kindergarten, which amazed me, but by the time we are wrung through the various machines in education, we are stripped of our divergent thinking abilities. What if we were to encourage our students creativity? What if we were to take this raw genius in Kindergarten and nurture it throughout students’ time in school?

We all have the potential to be genius divergent thinkers, innovators, and inventors. We all have the potential to change the world. All we need to do is harness this ability in education and tease it out, refine it, give it life, and keep it for life. If we can draw this out of our students, there’s no telling what the future might hold for them.

And it is these kinds of ideas that keep little teacher me up at night, thinking and excited for the future. These are the ideas which prompt me to talk with other beginning teachers online to share feelings of what the classroom might offer.

I struck up a conversation with one beginning teacher on English Companion Ning, in which she explained some troubles she had with her first year of teaching, but then went on to explain that everything has been a bit smoother since. Phew! She also recommended a book called ‘The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide’ by Julia G. Thompson.

I’m looking forward to checking this out, and hope that this might be helpful to the rest of the beginning teachers out there! We may not know what our first year of teaching will have in store for us, or just how far our students can go if we give them the chance, but I believe we can all have a little more hope so long as we just keep thinking, thinking, thinking…


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