Genius, pt. I

As I wrote in yesterday’s post, I will be writing about some of the things I’ve read in Eric Weiner’s “The Geography of Genius” because I found his ideas interesting, especially in connection to learning a language.

The book begins in Athens and whether walking made the ancient Greeks more creative. The relationship of walking and being more creative was interesting, but the author mentioned something else that I thought was more interesting: divergent thinking.

Divergent thinking, as defined in the book, is “when we come up with multiple, unexpected solutions to problems. Divergent thinking is spontaneous and free-flowing,” and it is an important part of creativity. It is different from convergent thinking, which the author defined as, “more linear and entails a narrowing, rather than an expanding, of your options.” In summary, “convergent thinkers are trying to find the one correct answer to a question. Divergent thinkers reframe the question.”

I found these two ways of thinking interesting because I think my students who can express themselves better can do so because they think of other ways to express themselves instead of trying to come up with one perfect sentence, and the students who can do this are usually students who have been my students for some or a long time now. I don’t know if they can do it because they’ve always been divergent thinkers or because language learning can boost creativity, but I’m excited anyway because they can.