Tina Seelig: Divergent Thinking | Summary and Q&A

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October 6, 2011
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Stanford eCorner
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Tina Seelig: Divergent Thinking

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Summary

In this video, the speaker discusses the difference between convergent thinking and divergent thinking. The example of simple addition is used to demonstrate convergent thinking, where there is one right answer. However, when the question is altered to allow for multiple answers, it requires divergent thinking. The speaker also mentions how this concept is applied in the entrance exam for All Souls College in Oxford.

Questions & Answers

Q: What is an example of convergent thinking?

Convergent thinking is demonstrated in the video through the example of simple addition, such as five plus five equals ten. In this case, there is only one right answer.

Q: How many answers are there when the question asks for two numbers that add up to ten?

When the question is asked as "What two numbers add up to ten?", there are infinite answers. This is because it requires divergent thinking, allowing for various possibilities including negative numbers, fractions, and decimals.

Q: What is the difference between convergent thinking and divergent thinking?

Convergent thinking involves finding one correct answer to a problem, while divergent thinking allows for multiple possible answers to a question.

Q: How does the example of the one-word exam at All Souls College demonstrate divergent thinking?

The one-word exam at All Souls College in Oxford requires candidates to write an essay using a single word as a prompt. This type of exam assesses the candidates' ability to think creatively, connect ideas, and build an integrated story, demonstrating their divergent thinking skills.

Q: What does the one-word exam at All Souls College reveal about the candidates?

The one-word exam at All Souls College provides insights into the candidates' thinking process, how they can combine and connect ideas, and their level of creativity.

Q: How long do candidates have to write their answers for the one-word exam?

Candidates for the one-word exam at All Souls College are given three hours to write their answers based on the one-word prompt.

Q: What type of exam is the one-word exam at All Souls College?

The one-word exam at All Souls College is a written exam that requires candidates to demonstrate their critical thinking, creativity, and ability to integrate ideas.

Q: Why do some people find the one-word exam intimidating?

Some people find the one-word exam intimidating because it requires them to think creatively and generate ideas using only a single word as a prompt. This type of exam challenges traditional thinking patterns and pushes individuals to think outside the box.

Q: How is divergent thinking relevant beyond kindergarten?

Divergent thinking is not limited to kindergarten but is applicable in various aspects of life, including college. The speaker mentions Oxford University, specifically All Souls College, where the one-word exam is used to assess candidates' divergent thinking abilities.

Q: What is the purpose of asking questions that require divergent thinking?

Questions that require divergent thinking provide an opportunity to explore multiple perspectives, consider a range of possibilities, and encourage creative thinking. They help to broaden the scope of problem-solving and encourage individuals to think outside the box.

Takeaways

Divergent thinking is a valuable skill that allows for creativity, exploration of multiple solutions, and thinking beyond the confines of a single right answer. It is essential to nurture divergent thinking from a young age, as it remains relevant throughout life, including in academic and professional settings. By embracing divergent thinking, individuals can develop the ability to connect ideas, think critically, and generate innovative solutions.

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