The Six Thinking Hats

You know that old saying about learning something new every day? I found out about something today that I wish I had known when I was in the classroom. I’m sure it would have made a huge impact on my teaching. Now, I’m thinking this could have a huge impact on my coaching with teachers.

What I found today – and purely by accident – was de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats tool. On his website specifically for schools, the tool is described in the following manner:

“It provides a framework to help students think clearly and thoroughly by directing their thinking attention in one direction at a time–facts, creativity, benefits, cautions, feelings, and process. It’s a simple mental metaphor. Hats are easy to put on and to take off. Each hat is a different color which signals the thinking ingredient. In a group setting each member thinks using the same thinking hat, at the same time, on the same challenge—we call this focused parallel thinking–a tool that facilitates collaboration. It enables each person’s unique point of view to be included and considered. Argument and endless discussion become a thing of the past. Thinking becomes more thorough.”

In short, the six hats direct thinking in a certain way.  The white hat focuses on data, facts and information.  The red hat focuses on feelings, hunches, instinct and intuition.  The yellow hat focuses on values and benefits – why something may work.  The black hat focuses on difficulties and potential problems – why something may not work.  The green hat focuses on creativity, alternative solutions, and new ideas.  The blue hat focuses on managing the thinking process, focus, next steps and action plans.

There are several graphics available online that could easily be made into posters for your classroom.

Here is a very simple one that could even be made into cards for group work:

Here is one of my favorites – a bit more complicated, but definitely interesting. I think the person who created this one was wearing the green hat:


This has me thinking about how the Six Hats could be applied to math… Any thoughts??

About gpsmathcoach

I am an Elementary Math Coach for the Greenwich Public Schools in Greenwich, Connecticut. I serve 11 elementary schools and approximately 240 teachers.
This entry was posted in Teaching, Thinking/Cognition and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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