“Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos, how to help the child who is bright, bored, and having problems in school” – What is a Divergent compared to a Convergent Thinker?

Book Review : Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos, how to help the child who is          bright, bored, and having problems in school

by Lucy Jo Palladino, Ph.D.

The Edison trait is a personality characteristic, which Dr. Palladino has now classified as divergent thinking. She has done extensive research through her practice to help convergent thinkers gain a greater appreciation for their children who see the world differently.

About 20% of all children are now estimated to have divergent thinking patterns, and the number is quickly increasing due to the fast pace in our modern world. The school system caters to convergent thinking, making it more difficult for divergent thinkers to find success and happiness within the existing system. In the past, divergent thinking has been called right brain and convergent thinking was called left brain. This book is a fabulous resource, though ironically, I find it to be written in a convergent thinking pattern.  This has made me chuckle, since I am primarily a divergent thinker reading a book about divergent thinkers from a convergent thinker. Rather funny.

In the past 17 years of being a mother I have run across many parents who claim their child is brilliant and they are bored in school. In my experience many parents overstate their child’s intelligence, and want an excuse for poor behavior. With that said, many of these same children probably are viewing the world differently from their peers and certainly differently than their teachers. In my opinion, it is our job as parents to help our children figure out how to learn, be happy and even learn skills to work within the framework of where we are (even a convergent classroom). My husband has been noted to say, “If you are bored, it is because you are boring,” meaning that you can choose how you feel and it is your responsibility to change. As the parents we can only help our children when we understand them.

I dislike calling divergent thinking the Edision-trait because it would tend to make us believe that all divergent thinkers are brilliant and superior, and that convergent thinkers are inferior. I believe that there must be a range of intelligence for divergent thinkers as is also true for convergent thinkers.

Dr. Palladino states, “We label convergent thinking as right and divergent thinking as wrong.” (p.15) Obviously, we need to change our definitions to different thinking patterns and find the value in both, even as there is intelligence, strengths and weaknesses in both patterns. “Convergent thinking is a necessary and satisfying brain function. It is essential for accomplishing goals. There is a great satisfaction in doing it well.” (p.20)

“The divergent thinker lives in a natural state of ‘brainstorm’. She sees life through a kaleidoscope that is set in perpetual motion.” (p. 21) She also describes how this approach to thinking can be very helpful in the fast-paced world we have developed.

Dr. Palladino divides divergent thinkers into three main types, though there is cross-over from one to the other.

1- Dreamers, drift from place to place, on a schedule of eternal time.

2-Discoverers, have to find things out for themselves and do things their own way.

3-Dynamos, are always in motion, with a flair for surprises, power and speed. (p.6)

Sprinkled through the book are tips that are good common sense and can be applied to any child, such as, believe in your child, a child will do better if they feel that they are in control of their own life, and when you value your child, he will value himself.

Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos offers practical techniques to use as a resource in helping the divergent thinker to learn in a convergent classroom, or for home learning. There is also a large section describing ADD which many readers will find helpful.

The best thing about Dreamers, Discoverers & Dynamos is that it offers hope and a life-line to frustrated parents. There are so many creative children that need our love and understanding to gain self-mastery so they can make their wonderful visions a reality.

5 out of 5 stars

– Michelle

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About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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