by Hanna Vock

 

Young, gifted children have many different extraordinary thinking abilities. What seems particularly important to me is their often very great ability to think divergently, which can manifest itself at an early age, i.e. at kindergarten age.

The opposite of divergent thinking is convergent thinking; it is comprehensible and moves in „normal“ paths. It is indispensable for many areas of life, for parts of learning, for many professions, for the sciences. And even the most talented person every so often thinks convergent.

As an appropriating, comprehensible learning process, it is also an important basis on which creative achievements become possible in the first place.
Nevertheless, we can observe that gifted children are „double-track“ early on: When they encounter something new which come into their focus of attention, divergent thought processes take place simultaneously within the framework of the appropriation process. They take a critical look at the new information and search for a creative fit into their world view. They explore ways of looking at and understanding things in a different way.

This is particularly clear when it comes to solving a problem. (The term „problem“ here does not necessarily mean an unpleasant situation, but the general desire to understand or change something specific.)

Joy Paul Guilford, an American psychologist, invented the term „divergent thinking“ for this kind of creative thinking.

In contrast to critical thinking, the (possibly better) alternative or even several other solutions are often considered here. So it has a high creative component.

Divergent thinking is risky for the child (as it is for adults):
– It can „get bogged down“ and loses sight of its (learning) goal due to a lot of deviating – or even further leading – ideas. For pupils, this can mean that they can no longer memorize the contents required for the test because they exhaustively think about a chapter from the history book, for example.
– It can overtax the others and thereby make itself unpopular.
– It can feel painfully that it is alone with its thoughts and receives no social confirmation for it.

If gifted children then lose their tendency to divergent thinking because they had to make the above mentioned experiences too often, then creative processes and achievements become rather unlikely.

See also: How to Promote Thinking
There you will also find a list of other ways of thinking.

See also: The Creative Personality

 

Date of publication in German: December 2015
Translation: Hanna Vock
Copyright © Hanna Vock, see imprint

 

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