Let’s continue education month here on Imagination Soup by looking at best practices for encouraging divergent thinking in children with reading and writing workshop.
Linear thinking, or convergent thinking, is about learning facts, follow instructions, and solving problems with one right answer.
Divergent thinking is generating unique solutions and seeing various possibilities in response to questions and problems.
To foster divergent thinking, learning activities must be designed for inquiry, reflection, pondering, wondering, curiosity, self-assessment, and no right answer. Divergent thinking is found with:
- Constructivist approach to learning
- Learning styles, multiple intelligences
- Learner-centered, learner-directed
So, I’d expect in a classroom that encourages divergent thinking to be one that implements reader’s and writer’s workshop.
Workshop Instructional Model
Workshop Approach to Writing and Reading
In a reading or writing workshop, you’ll see these basic elements:
1. Short lesson (5 – 10 minutes)
2. Application of lesson (30 – 60 minutes) with choices
2.5. Confer with individual students
3. Reflection, sharing (15 minutes)
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In a workshop model, thinking is valued and learning is individualized.
Merriam-Webster defines workshop as a “usually brief intensive educational program for a relatively small group of people that focuses especially on techniques and skills in a particular field.”
More writing workshop info.
Conferences in a workshop instructional model are valuable opportunities for the teacher to both assess and teach each child individually.
Conferring with a child, who is reading a book of his choice, allows you to differentiate, to teach him specifically within each workshop time. It’s essential in reading instruction – even in the older grades. I conferred with all my fifth graders every week.
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If you’re a homeschooler, how could you replicate this at home?
If you’re a teacher, are you teaching using workshops?
If you’re a parent and you’re not seeing workshopping in your child’s school, ask for it. It’s worth it.
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