Everybody has thinking skills, but not everyone uses them effectively. Effective thinking skills are developed over a period of time. Good thinkers see “out of the box” and are able to see possibilities where others may see only obstacles or roadblocks. Good thinkers can make connections between distinct elements and be able to tie them together like Ben Franklin saw the connection between lightning and electricity. Good thinkers are also able to breakdown complex items into smaller understandable parts. They can also develop new and unique solutions to problems.
Thinking refers to the process of creating a logical series of connective parts between items of information. The simplest thinking skills are learning facts and recall, while higher order skills include analysis, problem solving, and evaluation.
Thinking can be divided into to categories;
- Analytical Thinking
- Creative Thinking
Analytical thinking involves bringing facts and data together from various sources and then applying logic and knowledge to solve problems or to make informed decisions. Analytical thinking involves putting a number of different pieces or perspectives of a topic back together in some organized, logical manner to find a single answer. The deductive reasoning that the Sherlock Homes used in solving mysteries is a good example of convergent thinking. By gathering various bits of information, he was able to put the pieces of a puzzle together and come up with a logical answer to the question of “Who done it?”
Creative thinking, on the other hand, involves breaking a topic apart to explore its various components and then generating new ideas and solutions. Creative thinking is thinking outwards instead of inward. It is a creative process of developing original and unique ideas and then coming up with a new opportunity or a new solution to a problem – “a better mousetrap.”
In the simplest form, analytical thinking or deductive reasoning looks inward to find a solution, while creative thinking looks outward for a solution.
Both thinking skills are essential for school, work, and life. Both require critical thinking skills to be effective. Both are used for solving problems, doing projects and achieving objectives. However, much of the thinking in formal education focuses on the analytical thinking skills such as following or making a logical argument, eliminating the incorrect paths and then figuring out the single correct answer. Standardized tests such as IQ tests only measure convergent thinking. Pattern recognition, logic thought flow, and the ability to solve problems with a single answer can all be tested and graded. Although it is an extremely valuable skill, there are no accurate tests able to measure creative thinking skills. Many times, the creative thinkers are first thought to be “off their rockers” or not in reality.
|Analytical Thinking||Creative Thinking|
|left brain||right brain|