Lateral Thinking and Jumping Children

For too long, thinking has been linked to sitting still and reflecting. Let thinking out of the box and let it jump around!

In 1967, Edward De Bono invented the term lateral thinking. A way of defining this term is to say:

“Lateral Thinking is for changing concepts and perceptions”

A lateral approach to thinking means that a child is deliberately searching for alternatives. It is a  way to play with new words or perceptions. There is no need to explain each step in the thinking as long as the solution is correct or the best possible.

Lateral thinking is nothing mysterious; instead, it can be described as an attitude of the mind. Young children are rarely thought to explain their thinking in different ways. They may be told that their answer is wrong or that it does not make sense (often this means that there is a step missing in their explanation or suggestion).

A more fruitful approach is to explain that there are different ways to explain your thinking. Sometimes it is important that each step follow each other. But at other times, it is fine to jump around. Lat jump is a metaphor for explaining the ideas by jumping and not approaching either the search for an answer or the explanation to the idea in a step-like way.

Often a lateral approach to thinking can help a child to develop skills that will help her to

  • Develop new concepts
  • Solve problems in a creative way
  • Design things

Supporting and teaching children to use the idea of alternatives, helps them to search for solutions in an alternative way. This method helps him to nurture and develop new ideas and suggestions. Having fun and letting the thoughts jump around, encourages a child to explore an idea from different angles.

Lat jumping may not always be a suitable approach to a problem but begin aware that there is different ways to explain your thinking and to reach a solution is something that every child should now. A “good thinker” is person who is aware of when to use a lateral approach, a critical approach, or a logical approach. This takes time to develop and planting the seed in young children, who often naturally jump in their thinking, is a wonderful starting point. So start jumping!

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