What's your Thinking Style?
Are you a What thinker, a Why thinker or a How thinker?
Basically thinking style is a way for your brain to make sense of the world. Just as everyone has a specific style of speaking, the brain has a specific style of thinking. When you analyze something, you can't only describe how it happens, you have to describe what happens and why.
Different teachers are asking different kind of questions. When they are teaching, they teach differently. We usually understand concepts from one specific point of view. The problem is when students think that they know a topic, but they just know one perspective of the topic.
They know the What or the Why or the How. If a student knows the answer to one of the question, he assumes he knows the answers to the other questions. If you know the details and the definition, you don't necessarily know how everything fits together or connects or why it happens.
“One of my client spent all his time learning all the definitions, names and dates about WWII. He knew everything. But the question "Why it happened" came on a test. He had no clue and received a bad grade because he assumed the How and the Why.”
The key for success is to have a balance of all 3 thinking styles.
Each time you take some notes in school, have to study for a test or do you homework, try to answer those 3 questions:
What is the topic? what are the causes? what are the possibilities? (details, definitions, dates, parts, pieces)
Why does it work like that? Why did it happen this way?
How does it work? what are the steps? what is the story? and How can I do it?
From the ALC workbook: What Thinkers What-thinkers tend to love detail and want to know the names, definitions, facts, and more about the material itself. What-thinkers may put a copious number of facts in an essay, and put hours of work into their writing, but be frustrated with not earning the highest grade because teachers want more analysis. (In other words, the teachers want to know more than just the facts and have a balance of thinking styles in an essay.) What-thinkers assume that if they can know all the correct facts, and are knowledgable about the facts of a situation, the cause (or why) or method (or how) will be apparent.
Why Thinkers Why-thinkers want to understand the reasons behind the action. Detail is somewhat important, but not as important as knowing the motivation behind someone doing something or the cause of something happening. These kinds of learners tend to drive what-teachers crazy, especially in a subject like Math. Why-thinkers assume that if they can know the causes behind something, they know all the important facts and there can be any number of methods to accomplish it.
How Thinkers How thinkers want to understand how they can do something or how it happened. To a how-thinker, most details aren’t that important, but the essential details are paramount. When writing how-thinkers tend to summarize or retell the event from their particular point-of-view. As a result their papers tend to be light on synopsis and analysis and make the reader work to fill in many of the details. How-thinkers assume that the reasons are obvious, the details are usually superfluous, yet if someone knows how to do something, all the other pieces of knowledge will fall into place.