acknowledge divergent thinking as a desirable trait. A divergent thinker will
often arrive at apparently erroneous answers but, when asked to explain such answers,
can usually prove the "wrong answer" is valid if looked at from another
point of view. Often the divergent thinker is also the person with the strange
sense of humor, the person whose remarks are humorous in retrospect after one has
an opportunity to realize the subtleties of the statement or comment, or the unusual
This ability to see relationships among seemingly disparate
ideas leads these individuals to paths not usually followed by peers, or even
by teachers. Consequently, they are perceived as different from others, usually
in a negative manner. Unless they are strong individuals who receive support from
other aspects of their lives, such as home, they sometimes shelter their egos
by attempting to become conforming thinkers, following the same path as everyone
else, withdrawing mentally. Some may rebel in the classroom setting and achieve
the questionable status of troublemaker.
Look carefully at the following list
of divergent thinking characteristics as possible indicators of giftedness:
They are fluent and abstract thinkers, able to produce a large quantity of
possibilities, consequences, or related ideas.
They are flexible thinkers,
able to use many different alternatives and approaches to problem solving.
are original thinkers, seeking new, unusual, or unconventional associations and
combinations among items of information. They also have an ability to see relationships
among seemingly unrelated objects ideas, or facts.
They are elaborate
thinkers, producing new steps, ideas, responses, or other embellishments to a
basic idea, situation, or problem.
They show a willingness to entertain
complexity and seem to thrive in problem situations.
They make good guesses
and can construct hypotheses or "what if" questions readily.
often are aware of their own individuality and show emotional sensitivity.
demonstrate leadership qualities.
They have a high level of curiosity
about objects, ideas, situations, or events.
They often display intellectual
playfulness, fantasize, and imagine readily.
They can be less intellectually
inhibited than their peers in expressing opinions and ideas and often exhibit