Topics in Early Childhood Education

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There's More Than One Answer

While teaching a creativity workshop recently, the discussion turned to how important divergent thinking is to problem solving skills. Divergent thinking allows children to look at a problem and explore the many ways it can be solved. I dislike scenarios where there is only one answer. I know that 2 + 2 will always equal 4, but for problems that offer the possibility of multiple answers, we should give children that opportunity.
I am a big believer in classroom meetings and introducing problems to children. Teachers often try to solve all the problems and make all the decisions. Parents do the same at home. I often use one example from my own classroom. In exasperation one day I noticed that the art center was a mess after we 'cleaned up' the room. I could have lectured or told the children how disappointed I was in their lack of follow-through. Instead, I drew the students' attention to the art center and asked if they could identify what was wrong. Of course they knew the center was not cleaned up properly. I asked for volunteers to clean the center. After it was appropriately cleaned I drew attention to how it should look after clean up. I then asked the children what we were going to do about the problem of having centers left in disarray. They had a variety of ideas, which we adopted as our procedures, and the problem of messy learning centers improved 100%.
Lecturing to the children was one ineffective approach to the problem. However, using several suggestions from the children solved the issue. Divergent thinking can rule the day!


At 9:56 AM, Blogger Justine's Teaching Tips said...

I agree, lecture is not the answer for young children. They through on hands experience and opportunity. In your situation you gave them the opportunity to problem solve and give their input which showed them their ideas are valued. Great job. I also have a blog, please visit me at

At 11:58 PM, Anonymous Texas Driving Record said...

John you are one among the best teachers in the world. You think in a right way and make kids to think in that way. This is what expected from education. After completing you Graduation or PHD you are not not called an expert, you are called expert in your industry only when you start working and start thinking different. If you are not habituated of think different then how you can win in your career.

I wish you all the best and make the kids to think and come out with good ideas.


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