Convergent/Divergent

If you can get humor and seriousness at the same time, you’ve created a special little thing… ~ Paul Simon

My goal in life is to inject a little humor into the seriousness of getting along in a sometimes scary world.  I can remember the occasion when I realized I was doing that.  I was teaching a Spanish III class when my principal came in to do an evaluation.  I could see that he was enjoying the class but I didn’t think much of it at the time.  Later, when I read his appraisal of my teaching, I remember thinking, “Yes!  That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”  He wrote something to this effect:  “Ms. S treats her teaching and her subject matter very seriously while using appropriate humor to make learning fun.”

Some of my happiest times are when I can make someone laugh.  On purpose.  I must say, though, that not everyone “gets” my humor.  I think I’ve finally figured out why that is.  Well, other than the fact that some people don’t have a sense of humor.  Seriously, I do think that what’s funny to me isn’t always funny to someone else.

I was in a workshop once and the facilitator divided us into groups of five.  We were then given an education “problem” to solve.  We had to put our heads together and work out a solution.  It happened that the facilitator sat down at our table to observe.  We started to talk about our little problem–I don’t remember what it was.  What I do remember is that all four of the others started with very similar ideas and I didn’t.  Compared to them, my response was from “out in left field.”  I felt like the red-headed stepchild.   The facilitator looked at me and started to laugh at my expression.  And she said to me, “These four are convergent thinkers and you are a divergent thinker.”

I was sitting there thinking, “OK, I know what convergent and divergent mean but what do they mean in terms of thinking?”  Of course, I went home and did some research.  I learned that most of us do some of both.  That convergent is more prevalent in the general population than divergent.  And that divergent is more creative.  This is over simplified but you get the idea.

This topic has fascinated me ever since that little incident.  I’m also very much interested in right brain/left brain activities.  They kinda/sorta go together, I think.  I have this theory that back in my school days, left-brain learning was preferred and encouraged by educators.  I think, too, that my brand of creativity was discouraged so I learned to do all those left-brain, nerdy activities because I didn’t have a choice.

I could go on and on about all of this plus the fact that I’m a tactile, kinetic learner and never had the opportunity to do my best learning until I left school for good.  And I’m never, ever going back!

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6 thoughts on “Convergent/Divergent

  1. i feel exactly the same way. at least we are realizing that now. and that is why teaching at my little school has been sooo challenging for me. it has become the type of school setting i thought i’d never have to see again. it’s like going from piedmont to a very traditional school. never would have worked…and my school…it aint working for me now. it’s awful. you just can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. we’ve been squeezed.

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  2. I think most of us do our best learning after we’ve left school! Life is a great teacher!! And to have a sense of humour (spelt the English way!!) is not only fun for us, but those around us too – and a great survival tool.

    To make others laugh is a gift. As my mum used to say – life is like plumbing – mostly made up of radiators and drains – the best people are the radiators.

    So continue being the radiator you are!

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