Lateral Thinking of Prospective Teachers

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A.S.Arul Lawrence
Doctoral Research Scholar,
Manonmaniam Sundaranar University,
TirunelveliRev.Dr.S.Amaladoss Xavier
Assistant Professor,
St.Xavier’s College of Education,

Thinking involves the deeply cerebral manipulation of information, as when we form concepts, engage in problem solving, reason and make decisions. Thinking is a higher cognitive function and the analysis of thinking processes is part of cognitive psychology. Thinking is a complex mental process by the electro-chemical reactions in the brain. We cannot explain or understand the thinking process easily. Thinking process is unique in a person who deals with it effectively according to his goals, plans, ends and desires. It includes concepts and processes such as cognition, sentience, consciousness, idea, and imagination.

Martin Luther King Jr., (1947) said “The function of education, therefore, is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living". Albert Einstein (1954) said “Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” Thinking is needed for the very survival of nations. Many of the major problems that face mankind must be met by new modes of thinking and acting. There are several ways of thinking. A person can possess any kind of thinking process in order to cope up with an environment and society. But, when we face fast changing trends, fierce competition, and the need to work miracles despite fight budgets-we need lateral thinking.

Edward de Bono is the pioneer of lateral thinking. Edward de bono invented the term “lateral thinking” in 1967. It was first written up in a book called “The use of Lateral Thinking” (Jonathan Cape, London). Edward de Bono divides thinking into two methods. He calls one ‘vertical thinking’ that is, using the processes of logic, the traditional-historical method. He calls the other ‘lateral thinking’ which involves disrupting an apparent sequence and arriving at the solution from another angle. A way of thinking that seeks a solution to an intractable problem through unorthodox methods or elements that would normally be ignored by logical thinking. Lateral thinking is a creative skill from which all people can benefit enormously. Lateral thinking is quite distinct from vertical thinking, which is the traditional type of thinking. In vertical thinking one moves forward by sequential steps, each of which must be justified. The distinction between the two sorts of thinking is sharp. For instance, in lateral thinking one uses information not for its own sake but for its effect. In lateral thinking one may have to be wrong at some stage in order to achieve a correct solution; in vertical thinking (logic or mathematics) this would be impossible. In lateral thinking one may deliberately seek out irrelevant information; in vertical thinking one selects out only what is relevant.

Lateral thinking is not a substitute for vertical thinking. Both are required. They are complementary. Lateral thinking is generative. Vertical thinking is selective. Like logical thinking lateral thinking is a way of using the mind. It is a habit of mind and an attitude of mind. Vertical thinking is concerned with proving or developing concept patterns. Lateral thinking is concerned with restructuring such patterns (insight) and provoking new ones (creativity). Lateral and vertical thinking are complementary. Skill in the both is necessary. Yet the emphasis in education has always been exclusively on vertical thinking. The book 'Lateral Thinking' by Edward de Bono achieved the classic status in the field of...
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