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Entries in brainstorming (4)


Celebrating Dr. Sydney J. Parnes, a Pioneer in Teaching Creativity as a Cognitive Skill

“Creativity can be considered a function of knowledge,
imagination, and evaluation.”

Dr. Sydney J. Parnes pioneered creative thinking in education and creative problem- solving with Alex Osborn, and was founder of the Creative Education Foundation (Where Brainstorming Began™) in 1954, for which he served as president for many years. Dr. Parnes died Aug. 19, 2013 at age 91. 

The concept that imagination is so important and that there are ways to stimulate it captivated Parnes for a lifetime. He became the world’s leading expert on the topics of creativity, innovation, and problem solving. This groundbreaking educator, researcher, author, and keynote speaker founded the International Center for Studies in Creativity at the State University at Buffalo, N.Y. and its Master's degree program, the first of its kind.  

See and hear the great Dr. Parnes himself in this recent two-part interview:

Dr. Sydney J. Parnes Interview Part 1

Dr. Sydney J. Parnes Interview Part 2

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“That’s The Stupidest Idea I’ve Ever Embraced” 

A stupid idea is a thing of beauty. It’s in the lifeblood of creative thinking. The way to get a great idea is to generate many ideas freely, then select and refine the best.

Ideas flow out in many forms—stupid, weird, silly, outrageous, weak, funny, and as sparks of genius. That assortment comes with the territory; it’s called “creative process.”

It takes courage not to filter your ideas. Holding back for fear of looking ridiculous keeps genius ideas from flowing forth.

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Brainstorming: A Climate for Creative Growth

Try this the next time you have a rainy day and your child or classroom has free time. You can turn a rainy day into an amazing brainstorm!

Brainstorming is a technique for generating a free-flow of ideas to solve a problem within a short period of time. Brainstorming can be practiced by individuals or by a guided group of two or more.

Groups need a facilitator, whose role is to encourage participation, to embrace and record each idea, and to remind participants to defer judgment, however wild an idea may seem. 

Although brainstorming in a group may not always produce the best ideas, the sessions offer other valuable benefits. They boost confidence, warm up creative muscles, improve classroom spirit, and create a trusting social climate. Creative thought flourishes in positive psychological environments.

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Imagination Knows No Bounds

I recently provided an after school enrichment program at a local elementary school. I was trying out some new ideas to spark creative thinking in kids. The program was only open to students in 2nd to 5th grade, but the principal of the school mistakenly invited kindergarteners and first graders to join, too.

When I arrived at school the principal told me that the little ones had no other place to go during the program, so I had to include them. I was concerned because I didn’t believe children so young could possibly keep up with the older ones. I was wrong.

I prompted the group of 14 to generate new uses for everyday items (see "What Can You Do with a Paper Clip?"), sketch imaginary animals, make up stories based on random images, invent new toys, and solve outrageous problems. The youngest ones eagerly embraced the challenges and ran circles around most of the 4th and 5th graders.

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