Role of a Teacher in Developing Convergent and Divergent Thinking

Thinking is an important part of teaching learning. The child’s ability to solve problems depends on his thinking. According to Teacher Training Institute the educational implications of the thinking process are:

  1. Adequacy of experience and knowledge: Convergent Thinking cannot occur in vacuum. It needs knowledge and experiences. Concepts play a major role in thinking. Care should be taken to equip the learner with adequate experiences and knowledge through self study, experiments and discussion.
  2. Motivation and definiteness of aim: convergent thinking is purposeful and goal directed. If the n lacks purpose thinking is difficult. Hence train the child to think with a definite end in view. Aimless thoughts and day dreaming should be discouraged.
  3. Adequate language and concepts: Good language and proper concepts enhance convergent thinking. These tools of thinking stimulate the thought process.
  4. Freedom and flexibility: Freedom and flexibility enhance divergent thinking. This can be fostered thro essay writing, craft, painting and other creative work. Stereo typed responses should not be encouraged. Encourage the learner to see new associations and relationships by emphasising on application and other higher objectives of learning.
  5. Illogical thinking must be discouraged. Allow students to reason out, use scientific attitude when think. No response should be accepted if it is based on illogical thinking. Mere guess work should be discouraged. Prejudices, superstitions and biases come in the way of thinking and should be dealt with carefully.

Critical Thinking: “Critical thinking is careful and deliberate determination of whether to accept, reject, or suspend judgment” Moore and Parker. It involves a sort of reflective thinking done to achieve some objectives. It involves understanding, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Critical thinking involves the use of a group of interconnected skills to analyze, creatively integrate, and evaluate what one reads and hears. Two important aspects of critical thinking are (i) need for intellectual skills and abilities (ii) An intellectual commitment to be ready to revise one’s thoughts and ideas.

Early Childhood Care and Education has given below some characteristics of critical thinking:

  1. being able to differentiate between facts and opinions
  2. being able to verify authentic data from unauthentic data
  3. being able to test the truth of a statement
  4. being able to differentiate between necessary and unnecessary data
  5. being able to find logical inconsistencies in a statement

Process of critical thinking: There are five steps in this process:

  1. Understanding a problem: For this sense organs are used. Analysis separates essential and non essential data. Observation, experience and logic are used.
  2. Check accuracy and validity: A critical thinker always checks the validity of the data before he/she makes any conclusions
  3. Drawing conclusions based on unbiased thinking: no bias must be involved in critical thinking.
  4. Determining a plan of further action: based on what has been drawn out of the critical thinking a plan is drawn up
  5. Review and revision of plan: the plan can be tested and revised if required.

E.g. of critical thinking: In Science, students can be made to carry out some experiments and draw their own conclusions. In Mathematical complex problems need to use critical thinking. While teaching history, ask questions that need critical thinking. Use newspaper articles to connect with events of the past.