Title

Paint This Picture: Infusing Creativity Through Divergent Thinking Across All Content Areas

First Presenter's Institution

Clemson University

Second Presenter's Institution

Clemson University

Third Presenter's Institution

Clemson University

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Percival

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Relevance

Paint This Picture: Infusing Creativity Through Divergent Thinking Across All Content Areas relates to the first strand, Academic Achievement and School Leadership, through providing classroom teachers and after school program coordinators with helpful information on how to incorporate creativity across the curriculum. This proposal highlights how creativity and divergent thinking can empower students to use their creative skills academically to help them to improve in all subject areas. Divergent thinking techniques help students to open their minds to all possibilities and creates alternative understanding to help them solve academic challenges in the classroom. This presentation will give teachers the tools to understand and implement divergent thinking and creative ways for their students to connect to content.

Brief Program Description

Can a creative classroom environment and divergent thinking strategies foster student achievement and performance? This presentation will highlight divergent thinking, its connection to creativity, and cover strategies on how teachers can implement them in all content areas to improve learning. Teachers will learn the importance of utilizing divergent thinking to help students gain different perspectives and knowledge on how to tackle academic challenges.

Summary

Creativity is a process that produces unusual ideas, makes different combinations, and adds new ideas to existing knowledge. Divergent thinking, a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions, connects creativity to classroom academics through problem solving, and helps students to tackle challenges through using alternative perspectives to create multiple pathways to a solution. Patti Drapeau, in her book, Sparking Student Creativity, provides a clear understanding of how students can utilize creativity for problem solving and divergent thinking. Drapeau (2014) believes divergent thinking can be taught, and that divergent thinking requires students to think of many different ideas, as opposed to convergent thinking, when there is only one right idea. Both are necessary for creativity; a student uses divergent thinking to generate different solutions to a problem or challenge, and then uses convergent thinking to decide which one will provide the best results (Drapeau, 2014).

In the after school program, GoalPOST (Goal-oriented Performance in Out of School Time, 21st CCLC), in which Ms. Lewis and Ms. Allen are project directors, students are to be given a valid tool to assess their understanding and personal definitions of what creativity is, and how they use it in their classroom. During the intervention, the project directors will provide the teachers tools and techniques on how to implement and utilize creativity and divergent thinking into activities, and to help students foster these skills when taking on academic challenges. For example, providing students with a prompt or short story without an ending and creating their own can foster divergent thinking. Students have the opportunity to find multiple pathways to a reasonable solution.

By having these skills incorporated into the classroom environment, students will think differently and find their own creative voice in all content areas. Allowing students to be able to understand their thinking (divergent thinking) and how it connects with their education can have a major impact on problem solving, and can help students to utilize their creative mind in solving difficult challenges in the classroom.

Evidence

Divergent thinking and creativity have been shown to improve academics in children, and are often an indicator of high achievement. These two components are also closely linked with academic success. The research on divergent thinking is particularly important for those interested in gifted children. Creativity is a vital component of giftedness )Albert & Runco, 1986. 1989; Feldusen & Treffinger, 1990; Renzulli, 1978; Runco & Okuda, in press), and for many years the creativity of children has been more often than not estimated with divergent thinking tests. Divergent thinking is also an important topic because it seems to contribute to academic success (Feldhusen, Bahlke, & Treffinger,1969). Along with this evidence, Amabile (1989) suggests, in the educational setting, that an environment that fosters creativity should include the following components: allowing time for creative thinking, rewarding creative ideas and products, encouraging sensible risks, allowing mistakes, imagining other viewpoints, exploring the environment, questioning assumptions, finding interests and problems, generating multiple hypothesis, and focusing on broad ideas rather than specific facts. By incorporating divergent thinking and creativity into all content areas in the classroom, teachers can help students to achieve academic success, and help them to improve their overall ability to use this type of thinking in the classroom and everyday life.

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Melanie Lewis is the Project Director for GoalPOST 4. She graduated from Clemson University with a BA in Early Childhood Education, and holds a Masters Degree in Education from Anderson University. She has extensive experience with afterschool programming, working for Clemson University with the GoalPOST program for the past 5 years, and has presented at the National Youth at Risk Conference in Savannah, GA in 2015 and 2016.

Courtney Allen is a second year full time doctoral student in Educational Leadership (Higher Education) program at Clemson University. She is the Director of Engagement for the Graduate Student Government Cabinet, VP of Black Graduate Student Association (Clemson Chapter), Member of the MLK Planning Committee, and the Project Director for Goal POST(after school program for academically at risk youth).

Dr. David Fleming is the Associate Dean of the Graduate School at Clemson University. Dr. Fleming's research and service has culminated in the primary or co-authorship of over 120 articles and technical reports and over 100 state, national, and international presentations in the areas of teaching/learning processes in physical education/activity, program evaluation, and out-of-school time education programming.

Keyword Descriptors

Creativity, divergent thinking, increased academic performance, after-school programming

Presentation Year

2017

Start Date

3-6-2017 10:30 AM

End Date

3-6-2017 11:45 AM

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Mar 6th, 10:30 AM Mar 6th, 11:45 AM

Paint This Picture: Infusing Creativity Through Divergent Thinking Across All Content Areas

Percival

Can a creative classroom environment and divergent thinking strategies foster student achievement and performance? This presentation will highlight divergent thinking, its connection to creativity, and cover strategies on how teachers can implement them in all content areas to improve learning. Teachers will learn the importance of utilizing divergent thinking to help students gain different perspectives and knowledge on how to tackle academic challenges.