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What is Synectics?

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Sarah Triebold

on 12 October 2013

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Transcript of What is Synectics?

The Synectics Model
Sarah, Kelly, Elia, & Jessica

What is Synectics?
A system based on problem-solving and creative thinking that involves free use of metaphor and analogy with group interaction causing the creation of new insights
Description of Model
-Uses group interaction to create new insights through “understanding together” process

-Enhances creativity by having students consciously develop analogies that allow for an emotional as well as rational approach to solutions

-Teaches students skills in making unique and creative connections between what they know and what they are to learn

-Students share prior knowledge and extend their understandings of the organized network of a specific discipline

-provides an important kind of interaction: the sparking of ideas from one person to another

-seeks to open new dimensions of thought and new possibilities for problem solving

How to Assess Synectics Models
How to Embed Technology:
How to address needs of all students:

William J.J. Gordon & George Prince developed the Synectics approach to problem solving in 1960. They observed that business meetings had inconsistent results. After hours of studying tapes from meetings, they determined the success factor to be free-form brainstorming. This brainstorming process in an open, non-judgmental climate paired with analogies and metaphors led to more creativity and innovation. Gordon later adapted synectics for classroom use.

William Gordon developed three-phase strategy to teach the use of metaphor:
1. Direct analogy- simple comparison
2. Personal analogy- being the thing
3. Symbolic analogy- compressed conflict (making connections between the familiar and the strange)


to find practical and realistic solutions to problems and more effective and powerful ways of communicating ideas
Making the Familiar Strange

Role of Teacher:

Role of Student:
Students encouraged to see the ordinary and the familiar in a new and different way
1. Describe the topic

2. Create Direct Analogies

3. Describe Personal Analogies

4. Identify Compressed Conflicts

5. Create a New Direct Analogy

6. Reexamine the Original Topic

Teacher leads students through the use of analogies to see relationships between new and unfamiliar material and info they already know

Making the Strange Familiar
1. Provide Information

2. Present the Analogy

3. Use personal analogy to create compressed conflicts

4. Compare the compressed conflict with the subject

5. Identify the Differences

6. Reexamine the original subject

7. Create New Direct Analogies

The Synectics Excursion
1. Present the Problem

2. Provide Expert Information

3. Question Obvious Solutions and Purge

4. Generate individual problem statements

5. Choose one problem statement for focus

6. Question through the use of analogies

7. Force analogies to fit the problem

8. Determine a solution from a new viewpoint

Uses all three forms of analogies- direct, personal, and symbolic- to solve a problem
Walk-through Instrument
How to integrate multiple content areas:
Oral language skills:

-through observation throughout the lesson....
-analogies can be assessed as to their construction and quality
-take of construction of analogies and how prior knowledge is extended with the analogies

-ticket out the door or a short assessment that...
-asks students to generate additional analogies and metaphors that are associated with a given topic

Performance assessment:
-assess the process of developing direct analogies, personal analogies, and compressed conflicts to demonstrate understanding by giving an assessment (similair to the warm-up you completed)

- more demanding than brainstorming
-involves multiple steps -
- process can be complicated
-process can be cumbersome
-requires more time than other brainstorming processes
-requires more effort than other processes

-fosters creativity which is important in everyday life
-teaches students to be creative when they solve problems, express their feelings, demonstrate empathy, and move toward deep understanding
- learn how to find fresh ways of thinking about ideas and problems
-invites all students to join into the discussion
-is very amenable to both differentiation and alternative assessment options
-promotes collaborative work, study skills, & camaraderie
-can be used for social-emotional lessons
-helps in retention of new information
-internalizes abstract concepts
-works best with a diverse group of learners
-mobilizes both sides of the brain
-teacher uses guided techniques and chooses activities
-teacher is the facilitator
-guides the students in the process of making direct and personal analogies which lead to compressed conflicts
-students independently come up with analogies- they are in charge of their learning
-group discussion occurs so students can share what they have come up with throughout the process
-consider background knowledge and prior experiences when making personal and direct analogies and compressed conflicts
Learning Environment:
- a diverse environment is best for this model/approach to instruction
-safe environment that sets the tone for students to feel comfortable sharing what they are thinking in the Synectics process
-high involvement, mutually-supportive climate that supports group problem-solving and decision-making thus promoting the development of communication skills
Instructional Technology:
Use interactive white boards to....
-use graphic organizer on board and have students come up to board to add analogies
-to display images to be used during Synectics lesson

Student Use of Technology:
-performance assessment:
-Web 2.0 tools (ex: ) to create original pieces of work to show analogies using technology for final product
-teacher creates a webquest where students are guided through the Synectics model and produce a performance assessment to be graded
Because Synectics is about students making connections among things that are familiar and strange, integrating multiple content areas is a breeze! Here are some examples of multiple content areas being addressed using the Synectics Method:

-coordinate planes (math) and maps (geography)
-orchestra (music) and government (history)
-Civil War (history) and Earthquake (science)
-a poem or story (ELA) and insects (science)

This model thrives in a diverse setting because:

-Synectics requires both hemispheres of the brain
-appeals to linguistic and logical intelligences
-allows learners of all ability levels and backgrounds to bring different ideas to the table
-no two students will come up with the same connections because of differing schema
-pictures instead of words can be used for analogies, graphic organizers provided, starting with basic concepts and move towards more complicated connections (ELL modification)
-gifted students who need an extension can be provided with more complex problems and issues to make connections with
-this model revolves around students communicating with one another either in small groups or as a whole group
-students must be able to communicate their connections with their peers in order for metaphors and analogies to form as a class
-students are encouraged to share their background knowledge and personal experiences in order for new connections to be made
-requires either individuals or groups to present their ideas, thoughts, and analogies to their peers
-students must go further than presenting their information, but also provide reasoning for how the connection was made
Presenting Skills:
Reasoning Skills;
-this model requires students to stretch their thinking and delve into creative thinking so they can make connections between the strange and familiar
-students must be able to back up their connections with rationales thus using their reasoning skills
Buckminster Fuller summed up the essence of Synectics when he said, "all things, regardless
of their dissimilarity, could somehow be linked together, either in a physical, psychological or symbolic way."
Real-World and Personal Connections
-The wonderful thing about this type of model is helping students make real-world and personal connection happens automatically when using this model

-Students are using their individual background knowledge and personal experiences when creating direct and personal analogies and compressed conflicts

1. Creative output increases when people become aware of the psychological processes that control their behavior.

2. The emotional component of creative behavior is more important than the intellectual component; the irrational is more important than the intellectual component.

3. The emotional and irrational components must be understood and used as "precision: tools in order to increase creative output/problem-solving situation.

3 Fundamental Principles of the Synectic Theory

(taken from Gordon’s book - Synectics: The Development of Creative Capacity. )
-According to Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy, using the Synectics Model is implementing the highest level of developmental thinking
Connection to Bloom's Taxonomy
-If one uses Bloom's taxonomy, learning involves utilizing a creative factor in developing writing that summarizes and reflects upon prior knowledge and new connections
Full transcript