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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Lateral Thinking - Empowering Children with Maximum Thinking Power

By Andrew Loh

Lateral thinking is a revolutionary concept of thinking in a different manner. Introduced by Edward de Bono in 1967, lateral thinking concepts have been widely used in business and education for the last four decades. It refers to solving intricate problems by using an off-beat, indirect and creative approach. The basic reasoning process that goes through lateral thinking is too obvious and one can never decipher the ideas that are used to think in a lateral manner. In other words, lateral thinking also means using right lobe of the brain, which is creative, to solve problems that would not have been possible by using the logical lobe of the left brain.

Thinking is an age old tool that also makes up for a significant portion of different types of activities that go on inside the human brain. All human achievements were possible only because of thought process that the brain churns out every second and throughput the life span. De Bono, a specialist as he is, thinks that it is easily possible to boost one's thinking power in a productive manner. Thinking is just like any other brain skill. Anyone can improve and boost it. Just like adults, one can use this technique in children too. When children learn how to think in a productive manner, they can easily enhance their intellectual output. De Bono also suggests various techniques and tools to enhance lateral thinking among children.

Lateral thinkers always think outside the box. They use numerous techniques for changing basic concepts of thinking and human perceptions by replacing the original ones that are simple and straightforward. Quite different than vertical thinking, lateral one just stands back, starts looking at the bigger picture, and understands the basic concepts first before working on to find out solutions. Lateral thinkers also focus on areas of thinking that are often overlooked and neglected and later start challenging traditional assumptions and find out alternatives.

A lateral thinker has the following characters:

  • They are ready to change the way they look at things.

  • They are ready to look for things and scenarios that are different in nature.

  • Lateral thinkers do not follow set rules. Rather, they may be non-traditional in outlook and use a deliberate technique to jump from one idea to the other.

  • They look at unexpected sides of the problems and are explore those territories where a conventional thinker never cares to look and explore.

Lateral thinking offers many sided advantages and benefits to children:

  • Children can achieve those goals that seem to be very difficult to reach.

  • Stabilize social and emotional outlook.

  • Attain physiological competence.

  • Manage anger and frustration.

  • Better classroom and professional performance.

  • Reach excellence and intellectual prowess.

Lateral thinking children are known to be smart and mentally agile because they can easily find solutions that are unconventional, effective and result oriented. For example, let us assume that a child is given a problem to solve. Now, it will start thinking with an alternative strategy of jumping from one point of perspective to the other all the while looking at many angles of the problem. Here is a simple example in the case of a 4th grade child:

A four year old child falls out of 5 story building and onto the garden hedge on the ground. The child still survives with minor wounds. How is it possible?

A lateral thinking fourth grade child would now start thinking with new perspective that defies set rules of thinking. Instead of finding solutions, the child will start deciphering the sequence of events that made the child to escape the event unhurt. Obviously, the child unhurt and is perfectly OK with minor bruises. The school going child will start processing available data to find out how and from where the child fell down. Obviously, if the child falls from a higher floor, the chances of survival are very slim. Eventually, the solution is found by the school child that the young one must have fallen from ground floor window which was just three feet higher from the garden hedge outside. The prominent link for this problem is as follows:

  1. Child unhurt

  2. Child falls

  3. Garden hedge that acts as a possible safety net

Lateral thinking is one of the best tools available for a child to enhance and boost thinking on a higher creative level. With this thinking mode, children would not only sharpen their mind but also enhance their academic achievement. Continue to read Lateral Thinking - Simple Techniques and Methods to Learn the Art.


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