- challenging the current models of problem solving for the subject of concern,
- randomly relate seemingly unrelated things to our problem solving session by looking to objects in the room or pulling labels from a hat, or
- being provocative and discussing that which we take for granted, like circular wheels or mugs with handles. These take the form of 'what if' statements.
Applying all of this to education is fun. A school in Texas started offering students financial rewards for graduating and their success rates increased. Needless to say , the results were as contentious as their method, but it got an interesting debate rolling on the nature of motivation at school that went much further than the examples on iductive and deductive reasoning as put forth above. And speaking of financial rewards, what if we lived in a world where teachers received exorbitant salaries, like those of football stars or CEO's? Would the quality of lessons increase or decrease? This kind of thinking is not only provocative though. It sheds light on the nature of education. Here are some more examples of lateral thinking on education.
- What if every student who failed an academic year had to do community service to make up for society's lost investment in him/her?
- What if there were no attendance requirements and students were free to come and go as they pleased?
- What if students assessed themselves?