Crittery Steps and Long Jumps – Critical and Lateral Thinking

There are many metaphors that describe thinking – but they are  constructed for adults. New and engaging terms are needed to explain different thinking styles for young children.

The metaphor Think Dive is fun and it may help children to explore their own thinking process. It also explains in a clear way what is required when they are using this approach to thinking.

Small and  careful steps are a characteristic of using a critical approach to thinking. Critical thinking is like walking down the stairs in a careful way without making any mistakes on the way. Judging each step careful to see if it is true. And  children can be taught to make small Crittery Steps.

Critical explanation to the thinking involves:

  • Take the information into account.
  • Understand the key points and evidence presented.
  • Analyse and compare the key components.
  • Draw conclusion

Older children can Think Dive to explore the following common ways of examining a problem or idea.

  • Think Dive and explore what happened – Knowledge
  • Think Dive and Tumble around and look for a reason for why it happened –  Comprehension
  • Think Dive with your head first and use Thinkibility Goggles. See what you would have done – Application
  • Put on your Flippers and swim back and forth to find  the parts you like best – Analysis
  • Bomb Dive with your eyes closed. Open them and look for a different ending – Synthesis
  • Think Dive with a Twist and Turn.  What you think about the story? Why? – Evaluation

For too long, thinking has been linked to sitting still and reflecting. Let thinking out of the box and let it jump around! Critical thinking is in many ways the opposite to the long jumps that are a characteristic of lateral thinking.

Children may naturally jump in their thinking but with some guidance they can also learn to either take small steps forwards towards a solution or walk backwards using small steps to explain their thinking or to reach a solution.

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.

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

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 mixing crittery steps with loooong jumps!

Photo: Rondell Melling


One Reply to “Crittery Steps and Long Jumps – Critical and Lateral Thinking”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s