Can a person be both an analytical and global thinker?Can a person be both an analytical and global thinker?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In the fields of education and social sciences what research shows is that individuals have, indeed, a capacity to learn a focused topic. The key is how to teach it, not so much how it is learned. In the end, we all end up understanding a concept depending on the connections that are made intellectually, globally, and contextually.

However, the analytical thinker is the type of learner that requires a teacher with very good organizational skills: The teacher should develop a lesson with a clear beginning, middle, end, summary, assessment, and reflection. This is because the analytical learner is more systematic. An analytical learner likes to be taught step by step with enough room for predictions and conclusions. This learner could definitely learn the same amount of information as a global learner, but just differently.

The global thinker is less inductive than the analytical learner and much more deductive. This is the student that does not require so many "cues", nor asks for additional information, in order to investigate or learn about something. Instead, this learner sort of connects deeply and instantly to the data, and deducts quite quickly the information that is taught. They are also subjective thinkers, while the analytical thinkers are mainly objective.

Interestingly, the analytical learner thinks at a more abstract level while the global learner thinks concretely. This is interesting because, as it is known, mathematically-adept students and students who are successful at other arts -but mathematics, are known to think with different hemispheres of the brain.

Yet, we have had people throughout history whose gifted talents show that it is possible to be a type of "Renaissance man" and be virtually good at everything. Look at the works of Michelangelo, to give a grossly overused example: Engineer, architect, poet, painter, mathematician, creator, and tons more. This is clearly a person who has the ability to employ both sides of the brain and use them successfully. This is a global AND analytical individual with a unique ability to compartmentalize data.

To answer your question, yes, it is possible to be both a global and an analytical learner under the conditions described above: When your brain has the capacity to employ both hemispheres during the thinking process. Not everyone can get there, but surely some people through history show that it is possible to reach that level of intellect.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that even the most ardent supporters of learning styles would argue that a learner possesses different styles of learning within them.  There is solely one style of learner.  Each person has some level of each style of learning within their mindset, or intellectual schematic.  There are strengths to which each learner pivots and, accordingly, weaknesses from which learners pivot.  Thus, a person can possess traits of analytical and global thinking.  There is little evidence that indicates the behaviors of one style of learning takes away from another.  They do not trade off with each other.  Instead, learners have to understand how their mind works.  This process of metacognition allows the learners to understand and grasp why their mind processes different ideas at different rates, and why they might have a penchant to see things in "global" terms, for example.  Within this framework exists other learning nuances and understanding how these integrate into the total conceptual framework of how one learns is of vital importance in becoming a strong learner.  When learners recognize that there is not "one style of learner," and that multiple layers comprise one's minds, greater knowledge about both content and self emerges.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Of course it's possible.

To be a global thinker, you have to see the big picture and then try to fit things that you learn into that picture.  By contrast, an analytical thinker likes to take things step by step and think them through.  These may seem opposite, but they are actually able to mix.  That is why the global-analytical continuum is a continuum and not a dichotomy.

For example, a given person may be able to see things better in the big picture, but may still be able to think analytically about the place of pieces within the big picture.  Such a person would be somewhere near the middle of the continuum and would be to some extent, both an analytical and a global thinker.

There may be some people who are all one or the other, but most people are a combination of both.

amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You have an overwhelming vote in favor of being able to think both ways.  I am in agreement.  Every teacher must exhibit different ways of thinking about his/her content areas so that he/she may reach those students who don't soak up the material right away.  You must be able to come up with different approaches and ways of explaining concepts, etc. for student understanding and mastery.

In addition, when you learn something new, you probably don't always approach it in exactly the same way as other tasks you tackle.  I love art and being creative, but even different art projects are not approached in the same or even methodical ways.  You train your brain to think and approach problems according the situation and which side of the brain you're launching into action.

y2kfain eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, a person can be both an analytical and global thinker. The analytical thinker is able to break down a situation into parts and understand the nature of the problem. Then, they are able to incorporate other facts, observations and/or data and oftentimes come up with a solution. The global thinker sees the big picture. They are able to extrapolate valid and invalid generalizations from a scenario and make conclusions or inferences that lead them to holistic view of the problem.

Heredity definitely plays a part. We inherit genes from our parents that make us understand situations, society, and the world in different ways. However, environment may play a part as well. Nevertheless, a person may be more dominant in analysis than global thinking or vice versa.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Absolutely! Every teacher knows that learning styles and the way that we learn best do not mean that we are not able to benefit from thinking or learning in a different way. Often it can actually help us to be forced to try and reason or argue or look at an issue in a different fashion from how we would normally approach that issue or topic. Many people might find themselves naturally tending towards being a global thinker, for example, but this in no way means that they are unable or incapable from thinking analytically. They might need some assistance and encouragement to do so, but I have seen real results from encouraging students to experiment with thinking about issues in different ways.

larrygates eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I agree with the above posts that a person can be both an analytical and global thinker; however I think it is an acquired trait that must be nurtured and developed. I often tell my newer students who are accustomed to rote memorization that their problem is they cannot see the forest for the trees. It takes some practice for them to develop the ability to think analytically, and see the whole as comprised of many parts; and at the same time see the "big picture." It can be done; although some individuals are more adept at it than others.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Any classroom is a rather intricate mixture of abilities and learning styles.  Yes, I believe it's possible to be both kinds of thinkers.  For example, I learn mathematical and scientific concepts much differently than I do, say, literature or history.  My brain digests the different concepts and fields in different ways, and I feel this is fairly common with our students as well.

I do think it's more difficult, as teachers, to develop global thinking skills in our students than it is analytical skills.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

So much of what a person is comes from heredity.  Undubitably, people are born with aptitudes which afford them analytical skills.  Granted, these are developed through learning, but one's way of reasoning is naturally deductive or inductive.  Parents can easily note the methods of reasoning in their children at an early age.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Everyone has the capacity for both analytical and global thinking, but one or the other will always be favored. Usually, people just naturally focus a certain way. With instruction, the person will be able to think differently. It will always be a little strange though, and not natural.
drturner | Student

Though both the topics comes under education, Analytical thinking and global thinking travel in two different paths thus any person can do it simultanously.

Jessica you have made an interesting statement about the thinking paths traveling in different directions. Could you tell me where I could find that research. I have followed brain development and thinking for 15 years now and I would love to go deeper into what you have said in a way that shows how the neural paths are different. Thanks

drturner | Student

A person must by nature be both a global and an analytical type of thinker in order to survive. Let me give an example when you come to a cross walk you are global in taking in all the cars, people, geography, buildings, power lines etc. (Global) The analytical part will kick in when you start to cross the street and a car is stopped at the cross walk. You will be looking to see if it is stopped or inching forward and then your brain will decide if there is a chance it will move forward faster than you can cross in front of it before you step off of the curb.(Analytical)

Accelerated Learning teaches that not only are we to use the dominant style of learning when we teach but to incorporate the other styles as well and as individual learners it is in our best interest to strengthen all of the styles of learning that we can. Hope this is of some help

jessica20 | Student

Though both the topics comes under education, Analytical thinking and global thinking travel in two different paths thus any person can do it simultanously.

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