Divergent thinking and my path to a bad grade.

I should have done this blog weeks ago, before I broke my leg and since I get the cast taken off in just over a week, well it’s been a long time. But I kept putting it off, and since I like to do my work in order I kept putting other work on hold till it was done. The work piled up and I didn’t know why, until I realised it’s a dire task.

The lesson was on Divergent thinking… I didn’t get it… we watched a two minute video… great video…. I still didn’t get it.

I’ve spent all day today trying to get the work done, or rather avoiding facing the work. I’ve watched three episodes of Voyager, slept for an hour around 3pm, spent ages feeding treats to the cat, sorted out my Amazon wishlist… anything but do this.

If you want to see someone who’s done the homework properly follow this link:


It’s my friend Sarahs blog task.

I’m going to lose marks, but, Y’know there’s some things in life that you know you just can’t face, and answering questions on paragraphs is one of them.

Instead I looked at Divergent thinking.

Here’s the link to the video we saw in class:


It’s a talk by Sir Ken Robinson on Divergent Thinking and education. The video we were shown stops at 2 min 18, but this link shows a minute more.

This idea that as we get older we become less and less creative really interested me for two reasons.

1. I’m classed as a mature student, although my maturity can be questioned.

2. Not everyone loses this skill over time.

I’m statistically less creative than the majority of people on my course, but there’s something I can do about it.

My search for divergent thinking understanding led me to Tina Seelig from Stanford University.


She talks about creative people and the decline of creativity. One thing she brought up is the change of learning space as we age.

For example, my primary school classroom looked like this:

Image 1: AIS, . (2012). Kindergarten classroom. [Online image]. , http://www.ais-uae.com/en/Menu/index.aspx?PriMenuID=8&CatID=18&RefID=0&mnu=Cat.

Well, okay, we had a seperate room for our bags, we had a blackboard not a white board, There were no computers, and the TV was wheeled in on a huge trolley, and there was a play house in the corner.

Then high school

Image 2: BBC, . Starting secondary school. [Online image]. , http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/find_out/guides/uk/back_2_skool/newsid_2188000/2188695.stm.

Pretty accurate, except for the art room where tables faced the wall. The TV was still on a locked trolley, but we rarely saw it.

Workplace courses

And suddenly I’m not as surprised with the age/loss of creativity connection.

Then I came across a talk by Michael Bahr, He talks about thinking about the box. His idea for creativity is that we need more rules instead of less rules.

For example, a drama teacher might ask students to create a scene.

But the students need rules, the more rules means the more creative we become.

So the same teacher might say, create a scene, but…

It has do be about a penguin… in the desert… eating ice cream…

and suddenly creativity begins.


Finally, in writing this I found another video of a Ken Robinson talk.


He interviewed Paul McCartney and asked about his schooling. He asked Paul whether he enjoyed music at school and whether the music teacher thought Paul had any talent. Paul said No.

Elvis Presley, while at school, wasn’t allowed in the glee club because it was thought he would ruin his sound.

This gives me hope.

So, I will probably lose marks for not doing my homework as asked, but I’ve enjoyed the process of discovery.

Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

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