Increasingly children and those in the world of work have stopped thinking in straight lines
Straight-line thinking is what shop assistants used to use, in the days when we had shop assistants and, come to that, shops. You could walk into a shop and look around wondering where a particular product was, and the shop assistant would say, “Can I help you?”
I actually tried that yesterday, wanting to buy a rucksack for an 18 mile walk I had signed up to, for reasons that will most certainly not become clear at this point.
But unfortunately, the strategy failed. The three shop assistants inside the very well-known sports store did finally stop talking to each other. One of them looked at me curiously, evidently bemused that I should be asking a question. I persisted in my quest, and eventually he said “upstairs” before picking up his mobile phone which had just pinged.
Old-fashioned straight-line thinking would have suggested he might accompany me and help me make the purchase, but no, that is far too passé for the modern world.
And the reason… well, management don’t train staff anymore, because ultimately, they’ll shut the shops and sell everything on-line where straight line thinking is irrelevant – as we can see each time we do a search on Google. We get answers, certainly, but mostly not to the questions we ask.
So how do people who work in businesses and/or on-line actually think if not in straight lines? The answer is that they think in the same way lots of contemporary novelists think. In multiple jumps and associations.
To see what I mean I would like, if I may, to direct you to a web page. When you get there, print the page out (if you don’t you’ll end up standing on your head).
Of course, children can’t make this leap to a new form of thinking instantly, so you might want to take it step by step by trying this page first of all.
We have produced three books of graphic organisers which start children on the journey towards developing the critical thinking skills needed in today’s contemporary world.
Doing this doesn’t mean that we don’t value logical linear thinking – of course that is still needed. But in the modern world this alternative approach to problem-solving is becoming dominant, and that is what the “Graphic Organisers Pack” explores through a large series of graphics such as these.
Of course, not every modern organisation uses this non-linear thinking approach – many of them prefer a third option, which generally consists of everyone shouting at each other. But personally I prefer a quieter life.
You can read more about how we can help children understand the new approach to thinking and planning which many young people, and those who run businesses, are adopting by looking here.