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Creative problem solving is a deliberate research based
process for new thinking described originally
by Alex Osborn in the classic book, Applied Imagination.
It has grown into a well-developed,
effective process that's used worldwide
in both professional and personal arenas.
There are many divergent tools
that can be used throughout the CPS process, a short list
of some basic tools to generate options includes brainstorming,
brain writing, force connections, scamper, idea box,
why what's stopping you and visual connections.
Some convergent tools that can be used
in the CPS process include hits, highlighting, pluses,
potentials, concerns and overcoming concerns, card sort,
paired comparison analysis, criteria matrix and targeting.
These tools can be used as a standalone technique or used
as part of a traditional CPS process session.
Divergent and convergent thinking tools are often used
in education for the development of higher level thinking,
problem solving and metacognitive processing skills
for content enrichment, as well as the development
of better self-management and team skills.
Your work in developing your student's creativity is as much
about an attitude towards creative thinking
as it is the development of specific language
and thinking skills; the CPS process
in the individual divergent and convergent thinking skills focus
on the development of the cognitive factors in concert
with affective skill development to expand potential
in the entire education community.
I'm going to overview some points to keep in mind
when using deliberate creative problem solving tools
in the classroom, this includes what you do before,
during and after applying divergent
or convergent thinking tools.
Communicating the purpose, target why
and what tool you need to use
for what particular outcome you wish to achieve,
identify how it fits into your core standards,
Twenty First Century thinking framework
and any local curricular framework or requirements,
it's not fun extra, it's essential skills for the future
that expand the potential of your classroom functioning
and your curricular outcomes.
Preparing the learners, you
and your students are all creative learners;
work on your attitude, their attitude
and building a healthy relationship between all of you.
Appreciate and strive to understand the talents
of each student and help them see their strengths,
share with them the importance of creative thinking
and show them how it benefits their growth and development
in the classroom and outside of the classroom.
Building a creative climate,
without a safe trusting psychological climate
that is open to new thinking, tool use is very limited;
work on the daily interactions between everyone
to build a positive, successful learning environment.
Pay attention to the physical setup so communication is easier
and access to materials and freedom
of choice are considered.
During the application of the tool, it's essential
that the physical and psychological climate is set,
then you will begin a short warm up, overview the guidelines
for that type of thinking and engage in the use of the tool.
Setting up the environment, reinforce your expectations
of how to behave and model that behavior,
what you do is much more important than what you say,
take a look at the best ways to set
up that physical environment as well for teamwork.
Warming the group up, even if it's a two minute brain teaser,
engage them in something to get their brain going.
Overviewing the guidelines, effective use
of divergent tools requires the ability to defer judgment,
training in the divergent guidelines is a must,
effective use of the convergent tools requires affirmative
judgment, just like divergent thinking,
convergent thinking requires training
in the convergent guidelines.
Engage in the use of the tools,
follow the appropriate guidelines during the use
of the tool and engage as the teacher
and facilitator behaviors, these are distinct
from traditional teaching behaviors,
be aware of the dynamics of the group and as a facilitator,
ask appropriate questions to guide the use of the tool.
After you've applied the tool,
you must decide what will be done with the information
and what action steps are needed next.
Management of materials, there are materials that are useful
for engaging in certain tools, brain writing or brain drawing
for the very young children includes individual sheets
that are needed to effectively facilitate this tool.
For many other divergent tools, large chart paper, post its
and dark markers work well, check out the best way
to do each tool and gather the materials first.
If you send information home, decide what needs
to be sent home and what is working items
in the class that you keep.
It's important that families understand what you have done
and how it's important to the educational experience.
If you just send home a list of divergent ideas
that students generated, it can be misinterpreted as fluff,
and by the way, if you ever do brainstorming
and only do the ideas and never do anything with them,
it is fluff 'cause you've not done any converging
and you've not put the best ideas into action.
Follow through, put your process management hat on and think
about the next steps to enrich and expand the work completed.
If something else needs to happen
to finish the work started, it must be followed up with
or you risk losing the power of what you just did.
Some closing thoughts, CPS tools require training that means
to be an effective facilitator, you need to learn
and practice the use of the tools first.
There is skill involved so just like riding a bike,
the more you effectively do it, the better you get at it.
Using the tools effectively requires the same level
of knowledge and skill that master teaches employ every day,
these include, for example, effective questioning,
an appreciation of each learner as an individual of potential
and the management of the classroom.
Additionally, a creative teacher brings a heightened sense of joy
and their own curiosity to the classroom, a positive viewpoint
and a willingness to take a risk themselves to try something new.
What happens in the formal learning situation
in the classroom is greatly affected by the interactions
in the informal moments of the classroom, how you react
to new thinking, how well you listen to your learners,
how well you model you willingness
to be a creative learner and belie
in your students makes all the difference
so be a creative learner yourself first and engaged
in deep thinking through the development
of deliberate creative thinking in the classroom.