Lateral Or Linear Thinking

Discussion in 'Education & Learning' started by Bobby Cole, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,404
    Likes Received:
    2,761
    In the mental growth of a child it's pretty easy to recognize whether he or she is a lateral or linear thinker. That is, if you're aware that there is a definite difference which I venture to submit, most parents and teachers alike do not.

    While neither thought process is right or wrong, each has it's own pro's and con's. Of course, the largest downfall of the whole subject is when the adults fail to see which way a child leans and instead of teaching toward a kid's strengths, we could be teaching against them.
    In the long run, it's like trying to teach a left handed child that it's wrong to be that way and try to teach him or her to accomplish everything right handed including writing.

    Everyone of us have two ways of thinking of reaching a goal. Linear, which is from A to Z (start to goal) or Lateral which is A then possibly B or C or D graduating to Z.
    The Linear thinker takes his satisfaction from achieving a set goal and sees only one way to achieve it whereas the Lateral person sees the goal but finds more satisfaction in the trip getting there believing that there are many routes to achieve his goal and wants to check them all out whether he actually reaches the objective or not.
    Now, the downfalls of both would be that if a Linear thinker Is blocked on his way to his objective, it's very hard for him to think of alternatives arrangements. The Lateral will always immediately find alternatives and be happy with them even if he gets lost in the process.
    I guess it's akin to thinking outside the box versus never leaving the box. Linear won't leave the box even if it means not achieving his goal, and Lateral will leave the box even if it means never finding his way back in.

    Just for kicks, which way do you seem to travel? And, just for more kicks and giggles, can you adapt to both leanings and can you spot them in others?
    One more: Do you think our teaching staff should be educated as to the differences or does it seem to matter at all?
     
    #1
    Terry Page and Patsy Faye like this.
  2. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,658
    Likes Received:
    8,310
    I think teachers should be able to spot the potential in a child and nurture that more
    In a couple of schools that happened with me and I was grateful
    I'm definitely a lateral thinker and I think a lot :p always did, right from a kid, trying to work out
    my family mostly - this lead on to all things :D
     
    #2
  3. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,005
    Likes Received:
    13,751
    I think I'm more linear but not totally....but if you only want me to choose one then I'll go with linear. I also haven't given this that much thought yet but replied like I always do...right away. May change my mind later.

    As for teachers, not sure now days but common core math sure took the round about way to answer 2+2!

    All 5 of my grandsons are smart but they achieve their good grades differently. The 13 yr old is most like me, his brother is his opposite.

    I don't see the 3 little ones that much to be able to judge them but the middle child is definitely lateral.
     
    #3
    Bobby Cole and Patsy Faye like this.
  4. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2015
    Messages:
    7,658
    Likes Received:
    8,310
    I'd say you're linear too Chrissy, judging by the above :p
     
    #4
    Chrissy Cross likes this.
  5. Tim Burr

    Tim Burr Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2016
    Messages:
    738
    Likes Received:
    1,493
    Not sure which type this falls in, Lateral or Linear.
    Here is how I approach problem solving/attaining goals:

    1.Observation
    2.Define Problem Area
    3.Identify Possible Causes
    4.Determine Most Probable Cause
    5.Test and Repair ( or solve problem/attain goal )

    Been doing this since I can remember, but I'm a lot better at it now.
    Do it without even thinking.
    Sometimes you can skip some steps after #1 due to experience, and go right to step #4/5,
    but Observation is the key.

    I think parents need to prepare young ones for both types of thinking,
    but they usually lean to how 'they' approach a task in teaching this.
     
    #5
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2017
  6. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,354
    Likes Received:
    8,546
    I am definitely a lateral thinker though I was educated in the traditional linear way, which of course I found boring, I am also mainly visual so don't get on with lists and endless reams of text, I always tend to jump from A to Z without fully knowing how I got there. .......... I guess that is why my life has been pretty much a chaotic journey but certainly an entertaining one...[​IMG]

    I think these concepts are fairly new to the teaching world, and wonder how teacher's could be trained to overcome their innate fixation on their own personality type, and accommodate both systems in their teaching methods?
     
    #6
    Yvonne Smith and Bobby Cole like this.
  7. Yvonne Smith

    Yvonne Smith Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    4,827
    Likes Received:
    6,956
    I am capable of both styles of thinking, depending on what the thinking is about; but probably not proficient in either like a person would be that is all linear or all lateral.
    I am also ambidextrous, and do some things with my left hand , some with my right, and some things I can do with either hand. I remember reading some article about the difficulty of a woman trying to put on makeup because she could do one side, but then her hand was in the way of her vision when trying to put makeup on the other eye. Since I do one eye with my left hand and the other eye with my right hand, it had never even occurred to me that not everyone applies makeup with either hand.
    As for the thinking, I am closer to being a lateral thinker most of the time; but when I am motivated for something, then I focus on that and nothing else.
     
    #7
    Joe Riley, Patsy Faye and Bobby Cole like this.
  8. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,404
    Likes Received:
    2,761
    In my reads, it seems that the word "chaos" is coupled with the word "enjoy" or "entertaining" in the lateral thought lifestyle more often than not.

    Your last paragraph is getting to the crux of the matter which is definitely the question of how do we teach teachers?
    Naturally, it would depend on the instructors ability to accept that there really is a difference and not just some psychological trimmings to give excuses as to why Johnny will not learn as fast as the other kids.
    Some students have been over diagnosed with ADHD and ADD when in fact they are either just not interested because the linear student already knows the subject matter or the lateral is on some fantastic mental journey seeking other possibilities. I digress.....

    Teachers, instructors, professors et al have to know which way they lean and have to be taught how to access the opposing land and teach accordingly. Very Very often we have students who thoroughly enjoy a specific teacher based on the grounds that they know how to direct their skills in order to bring out the best in each student.
    Then there are already the not so good teachers who say, "damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead". "If Johnny can't add 2+2 at the end of the day then tough, the kid's an idiot, let's dope him up and pass him along anyway."

    In short, I do NOT know the answer to your query @Terry Page other than giving the teachers the right tools and hope they use them. When they finally do understand and are able access both worlds not only to allow themselves a better insight into themselves but they can also lead in a positive manner no matter the prospective journey each and every student employs.
     
    #8
  9. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,404
    Likes Received:
    2,761
    It's interesting that you bring up the duality of thought processes in that they can both be obtained and used constructively as a unit of choice rather than happenstance.
    The "women are spaghetti and men are waffles" is a nice neat package in which the genders are given their basic mental attributes but it hardly touches the real matter of logic and reasoning between the sexes in the journey of problem solving.
    Yes, men and women do think differently and have different priorities which is as it should be but we ALL have only two problem solving methods and which method we use is both natural and a subject of choice.

    Good show babydoll!
     
    #9
  10. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Messages:
    5,897
    Likes Received:
    9,032
    #10
    Bobby Cole likes this.
  11. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,005
    Likes Received:
    13,751
    Most of these are trick questions. :). Didn't take the full test because I would have had to write my answers on paper but knew most except for some of the ones involving the UK:)
     
    #11
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  12. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,005
    Likes Received:
    13,751
    Of course these days the first question could get different answers.

    A graduate applying for pilot training with a major airline was asked what he would do if, after a long-haul flight to Sydney, he met the captain wearing a dress in the hotel bar. What would you do?
     
    #12
    Bobby Cole likes this.
  13. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Messages:
    5,897
    Likes Received:
    9,032
    For the best results, you have to write your answers down, in order to come up with a score. These are not trick questions for a lateral thinking person. I got 12 correct,
     
    #13
  14. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,005
    Likes Received:
    13,751
    Then I must be a lateral thinking person too.
     
    #14
  15. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Messages:
    5,897
    Likes Received:
    9,032
    12 is more of a linear person
     
    #15
  16. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,005
    Likes Received:
    13,751
    Yes but I got most of them right because I've seen these type of tests before and know what they are going for.
     
    #16
  17. Martin Alonzo

    Martin Alonzo Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Messages:
    2,736
    Likes Received:
    2,479
    I started out being a lateral thinker. When I took Neurolinguistic Programming [NLP] courses my mind became very flexible being able to think in both. After I took a course in Language and Behaviour Profile [Lab profile] which described the way people make different differences in understanding their environment. Also courses on Educational Kinesiology teach how to learn with the right and left hemisphere of the brain at the same time. Very good for teaching children.
     
    #17
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
    Bobby Cole likes this.
  18. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2015
    Messages:
    5,897
    Likes Received:
    9,032
    ...unless one believes in the "Flat Brain"! ;):rolleyes:
     
    #18
    Bobby Cole likes this.
  19. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,005
    Likes Received:
    13,751
    I figured out what they wanted and some I had heard before so I knew the answer ahead of time is what I'm trying to say @Joe Riley

    So, not a good test for me since I knew most of the answers and for the ones I didn't know...the answer wouldn't be the obvious one...

    Actually for the first one I didn't think their answer was a good one....ask to buy her a drink...that could mean you're trying to hit on her.
     
    #19
  20. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2016
    Messages:
    5,414
    Likes Received:
    6,885
    I like to go on a straight path from A to Z but that doesn't always work so I have learned to go to Plan B, or C, etc. when I can't go on the straight path. So yes I can and have adapted to both leanings. I'm sure I can spot the leanings in my family, in fact my middle daughter leans towards "all over the place" instead of from A to Z. Yet she always ends up at Z too.

    I think a good teacher can recognize the different leanings in her students and if she can find the time with all they expect of teachers now days...she will "teach" to both leanings.
     
    #20
    Bobby Cole likes this.
  21. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2015
    Messages:
    1,404
    Likes Received:
    2,761
    Loved the quiz @Joe Riley! Although as a word puzzle fanatic I have read most of these same questions a time or two it's still fun to scan over them again.
    I particularly liked the card thing toward the end. It took a second to discover.....uh......I best not spoil the fun for everyone else!

    My tendencies run more toward that which is explained by the Occam"s Razor philosophy: "Among competing hypothoses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected."
    The statement can run either in the linear or lateral direction depending upon the severity of the problem so I pretty much enjoy working in both worlds.
     
    #21
  22. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2015
    Messages:
    15,005
    Likes Received:
    13,751
  23. Frank Sanoica

    Frank Sanoica Very Well-Known Member
    Registered

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2016
    Messages:
    3,838
    Likes Received:
    3,430

Share This Page