This paper explores the experience of synectics, a teaching model that comes from the informational-processing family. This model is known as the art of enhancing creative thought and through our group experience it has given us proof. Creativity is a huge part of the model and its purpose is to bring out creativity from the students. Synectics brings all children the process of metaphoric thinking known as the foundation of creative thought.
As my group and I continued to study the model we discovered great connections and outcomes from teaching a lesson through synectics in two different grade levels. This paper will serve as a reflection from my experience using the synectics model as well as my group experience. Synectics Model In the beginning, my group and I were very puzzled about the model because it was something we were unfamiliar with and it took a while for us to comprehend the book. So, our first thing we decided as a group was to go home and read the chapter and explore the model and do personal research that could benefit our understandings.
When Amanda, Tessa, Doug and I met up again we shared what we learned, but once again we remained stuck. My group was still feeling fuzzy about the model because we understood the rational but we did not know how to put it into practice. The Models of Teaching by Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun provided great information and examples but we still had no clue on how and what we were going to conduct a lesson using the model. Amanda and I brought in some lessons that we found on the internet that could be helpful for our group.
One of the lessons was called “Running the Mile” by Jennifer Hoffman and just by reviewing it on my own it clicked and I understood what we needed to do. I know Amanda had an idea but I was not sure about Tessa and Doug because they still seemed unsure. The day we met in class for the last time was when our group asked our instructor for guidance and what she did was read the Synectics part from the Models of Teaching out loud and our group’s light bulb lit up. It was very interesting on how that happened because right after our instructor left the table we began coming up with a plan and lessons.
As we group we decided that we were going to carry out two lessons. Doug and Tessa worked together to create a lesson for juniors at Doug’s school while Amanda and I collaborated on lesson for her 6th graders. We decided to carry it this way so we could compare the different outcomes for out final reflection. Once we figured out the synectics model we quickly put together two lessons less than ten minutes and began scheduling dates to teach and observe in the actual classroom. Working with Amanda we talked about an appropriate lesson that could connect to her current theme in the classroom.
She mentioned that they will be studying the Holocaust so from there we came up with a lesson that dealt with Adolf Hitler whereas Doug and Tessa created a lesson that involved the Great Depression. Both lessons seemed very interesting and exciting because using the synectics model to teach it had unlimited outcomes. On November 15, I arrived at Amanda’s classroom as an observer and began my note taking. When I got there Amanda shared with me that she taught the lesson to another class of hers and said that it went very well because she got them to compare Hitler to a computer as well as a shark.
Synectics consists of six phases and is easy to get confused at first but when it is successfully carried out it offers a creative outcome. I will provide the lesson summary that we will use to conduct the lesson. Lesson Summary: Step One: Phase One- Provide background information over Hitler and the Holocaust. The main resource for this is: http://www. ushmm. org/museum/. This will provide a ton of information over the different groups that were targeted and it provides background information over the process of the Holocaust. Step Two: Significant Question: How is Hitler like a Machine?
This will be written on the front board and students will be asked to complete their answers in their journals that are stored in class. This will be a warm up to the lesson that we will be doing. Step Three: As a class, we brainstorm different machines. Students decide on one machine to become. They are to then write what they would do as this machine. Step Four: Compressed Conflict- Write adjectives on the board that describe the machine. Then have a discussion over the antonyms and the adjectives that conflict with one another. Example: Violent versus Quiet.
We will then choose these as a class to compare together and discuss. Step Five: Now pick and animal to compare the compressed conflict with. Ask students, how is this animal like the compressed analogy? Example, say we choose a lion. How is a lion both quiet and violent? Step Six: Going back to the Holocaust, how can we compare this animal to a machine? Why is the Holocaust a quiet and violent lion, for example? Students will now gain an understanding of being able to connect Hitler/Holocaust to an animal that they are more familiar with. In the classroom this is what I observed.
Phase One: Substantive Input- Teacher provides information on new topic which was carried out by Amanda the day before I came. She provided a PowerPoint about the Holocaust as well as information about Hitler. Phase Two: Direct Analogy- Teacher suggests direct analogy and asks students to describe the analogy. Amanda asks her 6th grade students to create a list of machines and gives them two minutes. These are the machines they came up with disposal, computer, microwave, car, oven, washer, lawn mower, shredder, copy machine, blender, toaster and vacuum.
Phase Three: Personal Analogy- Teacher suggests students “become” the direct analogy. Amanda then tells her students to choose a machine and write about how it would be to be the machine. For example, a student chose a vacuum and this is what she wrote, “My owner always uses me to clean up stuff. In my point of view, I get fed. I am always sucking up all kinds of things like junk etc. Whenever they dump stuff out, I become hungry and it makes me feel like my whole stomach has been taken away. ” Phase Four: Comparing Analogies- Students identify and explain the points of similarity between the new material and the direct analogy.
Amanda then asks her students to vote on a machine as a class that they will use to compare Hitler with. The class voted on a shredder and came up with a simile. This is what one student wrote, “Hitler is like a shredder because he killed people and a shredder also kills paper. Also since a shredder sounds torturous, Hitler also tortured people. They are also both powerful. ” The students came up with adjectives for the shredder such as hungry, happy, choking, short, powerful. Phase Five: Explaining differences- Students explain where the analogy does not fit.
Amanda explained this step as the compressed conflict and had the student create a list of oxymoron from the adjectives in step four. This is what her class came up with… Short vs. Powerful, Choking vs. Happy, Torturous vs. Happy, Choking vs. Hungry. Phase Six: Exploration- Students reexplore the original topic on its own terms. Amanda then gave her students 2 minutes to list some animals. The students listed zebra, tiger, lion, cheetah, pony, and bear. As a class they were told to choose one animal that matched their compressed conflict of being torturous vs. happy. Hence, they all agreed on a lion.
Phase seven: Generating Analogies- Students provide their own direct analog y and explore the similarities and differences. Amanda then instructed her students to compare a lion to Hitler. Here are some of the responses her students gave. * “Hitler is like a lion because they are both like leaders and have followers. They also kill a lot and they are both smart. ” * “Hitler is like a lion because they are both very powerful and vicious. They both kill things they don’t like and are both big leaders and have followers. ” For the extension part we agreed that they could illustrate their outcomes if there was extra time available.
Overall, the experience of using the model was a success because it brought so much creativity to the table and I was shocked that her class chose a lion for the animal to describe Hitler. I was shocked that no one brought up Lion King the Disney movie, because that movie makes a lot of reference to Hitler and dictatorship. It was very interesting how her students made a connection to it without thinking very hard. The rational of the model synectics gives students an opportunity to express their ideas creatively and make connections with the unknown.
As students are prepared to start mixing analogies and similes together to create a connection, it gives students a chance to make a much more interesting connections in their daily writing and for the purpose of this assignment. Using the Holocaust as our main focus to teach about Hitler was an achievement because by overlooking what the students made connections with was obvious that they could express what Hitler felt and acted. In conclusion, this model at first seemed more challenging but after awhile it began to fall into place.
It deals with thinking outside the box and for me being a creative person I enjoyed learning about the model and having to teach students to also think outside the box and not be afraid of the unknown outcomes. As a future educator, I feel that this model has been very beneficial and I look forward to utilizing again in my own classroom as writing warm ups to new stories or materials. This model helps students make connections with their background knowledge as well as concepts they are unfamiliar with and it also challenges them to bring their creativity out. Reference Joyce, B. , Weil, M. , & Calhoun, E. (2009). Models of teaching.