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Creativity Module 10:

Resistance to Premature Closure

Team Building Session

Background Information:

Resistance to premature closureinvolves keepingan open mindand weighing several alternatives before coming to a decision. Here's an example...

It appears that “experts” in a field become so committed to a standard way of doing something that they do not even consider alternative approaches. This is currently referred to as functional fixedness. This is an example of coming to premature closure due to blindly accepting the status quo. Torrance (1979, p.74) stated that when “faced with any incompleteness or unsolved problem, almost everyone tends to jump to some conclusion immediately. Frequently, this jump is made prematurely—before the person has taken the time to understand the problem, considered important factors involved in the problem, and thought of alternative solutions.” It is necessary to defer judgment, in order to resist premature closure and remain open.



Role play helps make abstract problems more concrete and real, allows for immediate feedback, facilitates expression of attitudes and feelings, provides opportunities to speculate on what if situations, and involves applying knowledge to solving problems. In role-playing, a student may assume the perspective of a participating character in a scenario designed to create greater understanding of a topic, surrounding issues, and human interaction. To implement role play the teacher does the following:

i.Identify the goal of the activity (e.g., non-challenged students in collaboration with challenged peers engage in understanding each other’s perspectives and emotions, students become aware of issues motivating behavior, and agree upon expected outcomes ofthe role play)

ii.Before the play begins, students should research the topic at hand (e.g., dyslexia, shyness, bullying, etc.), discuss their anticipated roles, and have a preliminary knowledge of the context and meaning of the situation presented (e.g., how can we as a class be more accepting of those with learning challenges so that we become a community of learners that support one another?).

iii.This preliminary preparation allows the students to express the perspectives they represent in a safe practice environment and identify changes they want to incorporate as a result of the practice run.

iv.The role-play activity should culminate in follow-up class discussions that emphasize that all of us have some sort of need (e.g., see discussion of cognitive, social, emotions, physical and sensory, or psychomotor generic influences in Chapter Four) and that implementing knowledge of special learning needs will enhance everyone’s learning.


Role play is related to DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats exercise described next.Hats may be found in costume stores or represented by other means e.g., participants holding an index card with the color indicated or some other option to indicate the hat colors..

Six Thinking Hats Used as a structure for role play, Six Thinking Hats is an effective thinking process that helps students use different types of thinking. The activity shows how to separate thinking into six clear functions and roles. Each thinking role is identified with a colored symbolic "thinking hat."


By physically or mentally wearing and switching hats, students can redirect their thoughts and subsequent discussion.The Thinking Hats creative activity is a way for students to approach problems and ideas from different points of view and to contemplate an issue from a different perspective.



Using the Six Thinking Hats activity, participants will learn how to use a disciplined process that will:

  • Maximize productive collaboration and minimize counterproductive interaction/behavior

  • Consider issues, problems, decisions, and opportunities systematically

  • Use Parallel Thinking as a group or team to generate more, better ideas and solutions

  • Make meetings much shorter and more productive

  • Reduce conflict among team members or meeting participants

  • Stimulate innovation by generating more and better ideas quickly

  • Create dynamic, results oriented meetings that make people want to participate

  • Go beyond the obvious to discover effective alternate solutions

  • Spot opportunities where others see only problems

  • Think clearly and objectively

  • View problems from new and unusual angles

  • Make thorough evaluations

  • See all sides of a situation

  • Keep egos and "turf protection" in check

  • Achieve significant and meaningful results in a less time.


There are endless teaching scenarios where it would be appropriate to use the Six Thinking Hats Strategy to encourage students to think creatively.



Engage learners in role play and record instances where resistance to premature closure is apparent.

Have the learners write a short scenario where they engaged in either resisting premature closure or not, and describe the consequences.

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