When I think of models, my mind immediately goes to IGCSE biology and geography: models of food chains and webs, models of human demographics, even models of atomic structures in chemistry. These models without a doubt, were essential to understanding concepts in the subjects. However, as I grew up and looked into these subjects at greater depth, I realised that these models were- most of the time- greatly simplified. These weren’t a bad thing obviously: if they had just taught us straight away the in depth and more accurate version of the concept then it’s fair to say that not many of us would’ve understood it.

Models are applicable even now as well, for example iceberg models and the ITGS triangle, with categories naming aspects of problems and hopefully targets to aid analysis of a problem, thus aiding solutions which is what we ultimately want.

However even these models; they include sub-categories of each aspect, cultivating a rather closed mindset, as if you have to stick to these strict categories. Whilst it is unclear whether this was the intention (I’d like to say it wasn’t), on the other hand, the categories could also be merely examples of what you could be answering, or aspects you could analyse a problem with. Models aren’t the be all and end all, simply a vault of possibilities.

This isn’t to say simplifications aren’t good or unnecessary, because they are: they’re the easiest way to communicate a concept to people who have never come across it before, much like an analogy or parable. They can never be perfect, but what can? They usually carry the “point” of said concept well, and if not then why even use that model? It’s quite simple to say “problems consist of events, then trends, then structures, then you can work a solution from there” rather than “problems in ITGS usually have multiple facets and aspects, all of which are closely interlinked”.

I’d say models, like most things, depend on the perspective you take the its specific use. In some situations for certain people, it may indeed help, whilst others it may hinder.

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