Pedagogical training, during the late ’60s-early ’70s, included information disseminated about then current research in Creativity. I immersed myself, along with many other teaching aspirants, into that hot-bed of theory, experimentation, learned opinion, analysis and practice. Those were heady times! (Of course, at that time, there was not enough credit given to numerous anonymous educators who toiled unheralded for many prior years in the trenches, successfully and gracefully encouraging creative habits in thousands of students). With missionary zeal, our generation of newly hatched teachers dispersed to school districts, armed with many techniques with which to stimulate CREATIVITY.
A most enjoyable method for stimulating fluid generation of ideas was BRAINSTORMING. One could drop all pretences of earnestness and “seriousness” and be permitted all kinds of leeway, which had systematically been ground out of one, by years of doing, thinking, saying and making things in the “correct” or approved ways. In short, we could act in a way we had only dared when our parents or supervisors were not watching, or when we had lapses in good judgement. This sand-lot approach was to ensure that all ideas were validated, by being carefully listed on a blackboard. Potential notions were to be considered and evaluated by individuals to weed out flaky, impractical (and presumably anti-social) qualities.
One exercise that was posed for a brainstorming session : List at least 20 uses for a brick. Boy, does that open up some interesting possibilities to entertain!
So, a situation that stimulated my well-entrenched brainstorming habit – My friend, M, who is the most practical and sane woman, phoned to tell me that she had gone out and bought herself a Swiffer duster kit for x dollars. On arriving home she eagerly assembled the components and whipped around like that demented woman in the TV commercials, flicking, dancing and mugging her way through her dusting chores. She actually giggled as she admitted this! Rather sternly, I mentioned Global Warming, Throwaway Society, Conservation, Ecological Footprint, Recycling, Thrift and Frugality, blah, blah…and so forth. My cautions fell on deaf ears. Pshaw, said she.
Being mindful of M’s good sense of humour, and her tolerance of my goofy silliness, and knowing that this evening we have an arrangement to watch a “chick-flick” together, (sans “Rumpole”, who hates movies of a feminish persuasion!) I have been madly brainstorming to come up with a replacement product for “Swiffer”, which I have decided to label as “the Spiffer” (heh, heh – to rope in impressionable consumer).
I have decided on the following parameters for the “Spiffer”. It must be inexpensive, plentiful, readily available, self-cleaning, low-tech to both produce and use, use a natural energy source and be ecological. After making lists, considering options I have decided to use the “domestic cat” as the impetus for brainstorming for developing “the Spiffer”.
So, I am posing the following question, which M, and any other comers may wish to adress to provide an exhaustive list to be evaluated, later, individually, by all who wish to take part in developing the “Spiffer” product.
List a series of reasons why a “domestic cat” is ideal to be used as a “Spiffer”. You may wish to mention specific characteristics of cat, the science of dust collection, positioning of the cat for optimal performence of dusting, methods of recharging the cat, resources for long-term maintenance of the cat “Spiffer”, precautions that you must follow in using your product, and ecological reasons which you may wish to list to sell this product. You may wish to include instructions for how to use the Spiffer. Doing this point-by- point helps all of us appreciate your innovativE thinking. Please share freely.
Note -” the Spiffer” is not to be copyrighted, but is to be available to all and sundry. I promise you a Revolution in Dusting.
M – no watching “chick-flick” until you have satisfactorily completed this assignment!!!
YES….. I KNOW THIS IS TOTALLY SILLY – BUT JUST COULDN’T HELP MYSELF!