I am the product of an education system that challenged students to "think harder," to "think again," and frequently, to "put our thinking hats on." Although most of us understood the message behind our teachers' directions, no one had a clue about how to power-up our thinking.With the advent of brain-based learning, fewer educators hand out meaningless thinking platitudes to their students. Instead, they direct students toward such powerful thinking tools as Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats. This colorful strategy exposes learners to six different styles of thinking and helps them look at a problem from six different perspectives.
The Six Thinking Hats approach can be used to address almost any problem-solving activity you might encounter in the classroom. Assigning each thinking style a color serves as a visual cue to help students recognize the thinking skill they are using. The six different hats students might wear, and the kinds of thinking they represent, are briefly described below:
DEALING WITH DISAPPOINTMENT
Recently, one of my colleagues had an opportunity to put the Six Thinking Hats thinking tool to use. In order to prepare students for an upcoming achievement test, a small group of students had to be pulled from phys ed class once a week to work on writing skills. Those students were upset -- phys ed was their favorite subject, and they didn't want to miss it. The teacher, realizing that she needed "buy-in" from the students, decided it was time to look at the problem from different vantage points. Over the next 40 minutes, she deliberately led her students through a discussion that focused on the different perspectives represented by the Six Thinking Hats. By the end of the period, her students
As a teacher who gets to tag along on my students' thinking journeys, I often discover nuggets of revelation as my students try on different thinking hats. Like a fly on the wall, I get to hear them express their innermost feelings, suggest innovative solutions, and discover profound insights. Just as the kids do, I often find myself changing my mind as they think aloud.
Edward de Bono suggests that we need to be thinking about "what can be," not just about "what is." Using the Six Thinking Hats frees students to move past obvious problems to creative solutions.ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Article by Brenda Dyck
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