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By | November 2011
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Monica Hoogstad

Monica is a freelance Business English and Legal English teacher, with eighteen years experience in ELT. She is particularly keen on coaching Advanced Learners. Her current interests are NLP and Multiple Intelligences, the cognitive function of metaphor, and teaching while having fun (and the other way around). E-mail:




Except for being a vegetarian, embedding in his works hidden messages to bewilder future generations, being part of a mysterious conspiracy theory that occupied the major part of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter sermon last year, and putting the Brown clan in the multi-millionaires’ club, Leonardo da Vinci is also known as an artist and a scientist. As far as I’m concerned, the only code to crack here is how Da Vinci managed to intertwine his artistic genius with his scientific talents, and give the world superb paintings and sculptures, as well as outstanding engineering inventions. According to humanistic psychology, brilliant scientists think like artists, because an affinity to the arts enables them to see patterns. Meaning emerges from context and connectedness, and the learning process thrives on the innate skill to perceive underlying sequences and relationships even between apparently unconnected items. The ability to synthesise information facilitates the combination of the jigsaw pieces and the re-creation of the whole. Mainstream, foursquare, analytical thinking relies on logic and builds up on familiar patterns. Maverick, lateral, playful thinking relies on its associative function, which triggers new ideas to fill old patterns. Groundbreaking ideas connect like pieces of a puzzle, forming the scaffolding for a wider view of the whole.


One of the techniques commonly used as an ideas generator is brainstorming, which is defined as a free association of...

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