We are delighted to introduce Asa Jomard, a freelance writer whose thesis, Possible Solutions to Possible Problems, explores cognitive development in children. Asa is also the author of Sparking Children’s Thinkibility and is a professional councillor specialising in parenting and child development. You can visit Asa’s website here.
We asked Asa how she thinks Mind Mapping can be used to encourage young people to think and be more creative. So, over to you Asa…
“Thoughts swirl around in a child’s head all the time, yet thoughts are tricky to capture. Just like jellyfish swim without any knowledge of how they swim, many of us think without any deeper insight into how we think. Mind Mapping is a tool that can be used by young people, even pre-school children, to visually explore and develop their own thinking.
Touching, twisting and turning things help children make decisions. These aspects of exploration when thinking can be visualised in a Mind Map. The branches of a Mind Map can be used to delve into a situation and examine the different aspects of it.
We learn things by asking questions, and Mind Maps can be used to explore imaginative, innovative, and even serious questions. I suggest playing the game “would you dare?” with your children, as it is a way to explore the assumptions that are made when asked questions such as “would you dare to travel to the moon?”. The way the question is posed suggests that this is going to be something scary or problematic, and that a young person has to be brave in order to embark on the task. A Mind Map can help children analyse the question, and reach a decision.
A Mind Map can also be used to explore a child’s feelings about ideas or suggestions. This aspect is often ignored, but awareness of emotions and feelings should support a young person’s thinking and not be regarded as a negative influence. Feelings can be explored on a separate branch of a Mind Map, to help young people listen to and identify their feelings, as well as understand in what way they may influence their decisions.
Exploring possibilities is the beginning of a creative approach to thinking. Children should be encouraged to use creative thinking tools, such as Mind Maps, to combine images and keywords to aid recall.A random word or picture helps us to break patterns, helping us think from new and often unusual perspectives. Sometimes a random word or picture does not give a young person the exact solution, but often inspires them to search for something new.
Creative thinking has several different stages, and getting the ideas is only the start. Ideas and solutions need to be twisted and turned around. Few, if any, ideas are born perfect. The trick to creative thinking is to select from the rich waves of thoughts swirling around in our minds, and note them down for further exploration. A Mind Map can give ideas a structure, and can be used as a starting point for discussing them.
Mind Mapping is a tool that can be used to explore everything from crazy and impossible ideas to big questions about “real” situations and problems. The keywords and pictures in a Mind Map make it easy to combine different concepts and create new ideas. This enriches young people’s understanding of not only the world, but also their own capacity for creativity and capturing their insights and thoughts.”
If you would like to know more about Asa and her work, please visit her website thinkdive.com.