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Creativity Module 13:

Convergent Thinking

Art Class

Background Information:

Convergent thinking is the process of combining or joining different ideas together based on common elements, whereas divergent thinking involves separating topic components for the purposes of expanding and exploring the various parts. Closure may be interpreted as the resolution of tension. When we experience tension, we strive to arrive at a resolution. For example, the resolution or closure of a dangerous situation takes the form of some sort of protection. Reading an exciting, murder mystery novel results in closure with the knowing “who dunnit.” A long, thought-out purchase builds the tension of wanting and is resolved with the purchase, resulting in closure. Thus, the anticipation of pleasure is finalized when closure occurs.


We better remember that which is unfinished or incomplete. Russian psychologist Bluma Zeigarnik (2007) identified what became known as the Zeigarnik effect. In essence, the Zeigarnik effect describes how people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks (Mann, 2005). Thus, give folks a problem at the end of the day. By the next day, they will have thought hard about it. To remember things, do something that is incomplete, such that the ongoing thinking helps keep important facts in mind. Mann (2005) further shared that Zeigarnik theorized that an incomplete task or unfinished business creates “psychic tension” within us. This tension acts as a motivator to drive us toward completing the task or finishing the business. In Gestalt terms, we are motivated to seek “closure,” and creative thinkers resist premature closure. 



Practice making a choice from many options and explaining why, options include:

i. Given a menu of food choices, select one

ii. From an array of toys, (colors,  writing utensils, colored blocks, etc.) pick one and tell why

iii. Given 4 baby (girls, boys) names, pick the favorite

iv. Given a choice of pets, pick one

Create a situation where a choice must occur, e.g.,

i. Select homework buddy from a group of 5 options

ii. Create a situation where a learner must choose an answer to a difficult multiple choice question and must explain reasons for the choice made



Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Grid: Cardinality versus Ordinality

This activity is designed to help individuals or groups identify the root or real problem and then select the best solution. First, have the students brainstorm possible problems related to an issue. For example:

Why do students have difficulty grasping the teacher’s explanations of a particular concept such as cardinality (the how muchness of a set of objects) versus ordinality (the sequencing of objects according to a specific rule such as size, length, shades of a color, etc.).

Next, decide on the criteria that will be used to evaluate each possible cause. Rank the 9 possible problems within each evaluation criteria column, with 9 assigned to the most likely cause and 1 assigned to the least likely.  Then, add up the totals for each possible problem across the rows.

Creative Problem Solving (CPS) Grid: Innovation pedagogy

Table 9.6 has 22 elements (thus one would need to rank from 22 down to 1). The exhaustive 22 list are presented so the reader may select those that are most appropriate for their issue, i.e., do not try to rank 22 items!

i. Add across Evaluation Criteria by row and enter sum in Totals column.

ii. Consider the Characteristics of Possible Innovative Pedagogy with the highest total score as your first option for designing a creative pedagogy.

iii. If you are not comfortable with the option that obtained the highest score, then consider the next  highest. Remember, this grid is merely a heuristic (tool) for making a decision.

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