Indicators of the Creative/Divergent Child
Most educators 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 association drawn.
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.
- They 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.
- They often are aware of their own individuality and show emotional sensitivity.
- They 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 spirited disagreement.