Finding Creative Solutions Virginia Smith Harvey University of Massachusetts Boston New Hampshire Association of School Psychologists Outcomes of a Conference fostering Creative Intelligence We will redefine problems. We will ensure that we are solving good problems and have good solutions. We will realize that knowledge is a double edged sword. We will continue to grow. We will have a new sense of perspective. We will sell our ideas. We will defy the crowd. (Sternberg, 2002) Being creative requires: Thinking about things differently Defining problems uniquely Combining the unexpected Imagining Supposing When was the last time you were creative? Yesterday Last week Last month Last year What was it? What caused you to be creative? We are creative.. Because it is fun Because it helps solve problems We aren’t creative Because daily life is facilitated by routines Because we aren’t taught to be Because creativity can get you into trouble Because creativity requires that you temporarily abandon logic, tradition, and practicality….and temporarily forget what you already know. A great teacher finished his lesson, and served his pupil tea. He kept pouring the tea into his pupil’s cup until it overflowed. “But master,” the pupil said. “The cup is overflowing.” “That is very observant of you,” the master replied. The cup must be empty to receive more tea. So it is with your mind. You must empty it to receive more knowledge.” Sometimes we must temporarily forget what we already know…. Thinking of things differently… Psych Corp accidentally made 50,000,000 blocks that are entirely red on all six sides. If we help them sell them at cost, and thereby prevent a 5 million dollar loss, they will translate and standardize their instruments in languages other than English and with diverse populations. How might they sell the blocks? Make jewelry out of them. Use them as ant house. Use them as packing material. Make baby rattles out of them. Use them as floaters in a fountain sculpture. Use them as math counters in schools. Have a touring exhibit of 1,000,000 of them in a tractor trailer to show people how big a million really is. Defining the problem uniquely What metaphor would you use to describe the practice of school psychology? What metaphor would you use to describe the training of school psychologists? Arranging flowers in a vase. Starting a revolution. Tending a garden. Building a house. Riding a roller coaster. Sailing a ship in a hurricane. Performing surgery with a jackknife. Bailing out the Titanic with a teacup. Sprinting a marathon. Having my blood sucked out of me. How does this metaphor compare with the metaphor you would have used for the practice/training of school psychology when you entered the field? What does your metaphor tell you about how you define the “problem” of school psychology? Combining the unexpected What are four activities you did for fun as a kid? What are other fields you know about? How can you bring the above into school psychology? Expect unintended outcomes Guttenberg’s printing press—more Bibles, Reformation, European expansion to the America’s, democracy. Non-categorical placement in special education led to increased assessment role of school psychologists. Imagine… Schools no longer were based on the factory work model (1:30 ratio, bells, everyone at work simultaneously) but on the high tech work model (cubicles with computers, completely individualized work activities performed autonomously, limited on-site time, flex time, telecommuting). What aspect of school psychology would be most important to retain? Suppose…. The items you listed as threats yesterday are actually opportunities. The items you listed as opportunities yesterday are actually threats. Suppose… It is a zero sum game. Nothing can be added to the training curriculum unless something else is taken away. Nothing can be added to the practice of school psychology unless something else is taken away. What would you take away? Suppose… Our job is to prepare the world for the demise of school psychology. How would we put our affairs in order? How will we pass on what we do well? How will we avoid passing on what we do badly? References Sternberg, R. (2002, November). Teaching for successful intelligence. Presentation given at The Future of School Psychology 2002 Invitational Conference. Indianapolis, IN. Von Oechs, R. (1992). A knock on the side of the head: Increasing creativity.