Synectics Making the strange familiar

Module 6: Models and Strategies

Lisa M. Gault

EPPL 612

November 28, 2016

Through Synectics, students create their own paths to understanding. Imagine the possibilities.
The term Synectics, from the Greek “syn” and “ektos,” refers to the fusion of diverse ideas.


The Synectic Model uses analogy-based techniques to search for new ideas or solutions. Students engage in one of two Synectics procedures: 1) "creating something new" or 2) "making the strange familiar." See the "How?" section below. Consider which procedure would best fit a unit or lesson you facilitate.

"Metaphor consists in giving the thing a name that belongs to something else, the transference being either from genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to species, or on the grounds of analogy." - Aristotle


Activates critical and creative thinking

Requires problem solving skills

Encourages divergent thinking

Fosters conceptualization

Challenges existing ideas, assumptions and theories

Joins together seemingly unrelated concepts

Makes “the strange familiar”

Manages group behaviors

"To express the same idea in still another way, I think that human knowledge is essentially active." - Jean Piaget


Links to Resources

Procedure for "Creating Something New"

  • Phase I: Description of the Present Condition
  • Phase II: Direct Analogy
  • Phase III: Personal Analogy
  • Phase IV: Compressed Conflict
  • Phase V: Direct Analogy (based on the compressed conflict from Phase IV)
  • Phase VI: Re-examination of the Original Task

Procedure for "Making the Strange Familiar"

  • Phase I: Substantive Input (The teacher presents the new topic.)
  • Phase II: Direct Analogy (The teacher suggests an analogy and asks students to explain it.)
  • Phase III: Personal Analogy
  • Phase IV: Comparing Analogies (Students point out the similarities between the new material and the direct analogy.)
  • Phase V: Explaining Differences (Students recognize where the analogy breaks down.)
  • Phase VI: Exploration (Students re-explore the original material.)
  • Phase VII: Generating Analogy (Students repeat the analogy process in small groups, this time creating their own analogies.)


Created with images by senjinpojskic - "connect jigsaw strategy" • shamsuzzamaan - "life thinking rest" • PollyDot - "ladybird group seven-spot ladybird" • mariannebp - "sky sea life"

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