Lesson Strategies

6 Thinking Hats

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Introduction
Process
Resources
YouTube Videos
Detailed Example - the Oceanographer & Concern for the Great Barrier Reef
"On the Job" examples where the strategy, 6 Hats, is used


Introduction

Edward de Bono was a Maltese physician, psychologist, and inventor. He designed the Six Thinking Hats - a method of looking at a problem from different perspectives in order to achieve a more balanced and fair argument or debate. Six Thinking Hats is a simple, effective parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved.

Using Six Thinking Hats®, you and your team will learn how to use a disciplined process which will…

  • Maximize productive collaboration and minimize counterproductive interaction/behavior

  • Consider issues, problems, decisions, and opportunities systematically

  • Use Parallel Thinking as a group or team to generate more, better ideas and solutions

  • Make meetings much shorter and more productive

  • Reduce conflict among team members or meeting participants

  • Stimulate innovation by generating more and better ideas quickly

  • Create dynamic, results oriented meetings that make people want to participate

  • Go beyond the obvious to discover effective alternate solutions

  • Spot opportunities where others see only problems

  • Think clearly and objectively

  • View problems from new and unusual angles

  • Make thorough evaluations

  • See all sides of a situation

  • Keep egos and “turf protection” in check

  • Achieve significant and meaningful results in a less time (Source: deBono Group)

Look at this diagram to see what each role is to bring to the discussion:

 
6 Thinking Hats
(Source: StoryBoardThat)

 

Process

This activity is used as an introductory activity for the whole class or for groups.

In groups of 6 students, each student is to select one hat to be their perspective or role.

Allocated the colours by putting in a hat and getting students to pull out their colour and therefore their role.

Students are to stay in that role [colour] for all of the discussion bringing their perspective to the discussion - even if they don't agree personally with that role.

NO negative comments about the person or the role is to be tolerated.

  
In a discussion, each group of 6 students is a team.

Teams can use these hats in any order during a discussion, but typically progress from blue, to white, to green, to yellow, to red, and finally to black. This order organizes the discussion:

Blue: Start with the approach and process
White: Review the facts
Green: Generate new ideas without judgement
Yellow: Focus on the benefits
Red: Consider emotional responses to any ideas
Black: Apply critical thinking after the benefits have been explored to test the viability of the new ideas



Any hat could make a reappearance in the discussion. For example, after facts (white) are laid out, more process (blue) may be applied, or after pros (yellow) and cons (black) are discussed, new ideas (green) may surface. (Source: StoryBoardThat)

 

Resources

Look at the following resources to make the process clearer or look at the videos:

Six Thinking Hats - Decision-Making Skills from MindTools.com (only able to access 3 times) de Bono Thinking Systems
Put on Your Six Thinking Hats: Critical Thinking and Brainstorming for Better Problem Solving Using Storyboarding and de Bono's Six Thinking Hats

YouTube: Six Thinking Hats
https://youtu.be/QUVT66n-Vc4

 

 

YouTube: 6 Thinking Hats - Creative Thinking by De Bono
https://youtu.be/NQNCrEHxlr0

 

 

 

Detailed Example - used in the Oceanographer, on this site

 

Concern for the Great Barrier Reef: 6 Thinking Hats (Activity inspired by the Great Barrier Reef's Marine Park Authoritys Reef Beat Resource Kit. PDF)

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Personal and social capabilityAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability 

IndigenousAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Sustainability Priority

 

Oceanographer

Use the Six Thinking Hats process to create a fair and balanced conversation on the Great Barrier Reef. Below are some suggested questions you could use for each of the six hats.

Reef Beat

The Hats

White Hat WHITE HAT: facts and information

ASK:

- What do you know to be true about the Great Barrier Reef?

- Which species are dependant on the reef?

- How do our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders interact with the Reef?

- Which industries benefit from are are invested in the prosperity of the Great Barrier Reef? (THINK: Government, scientists, environmentalists, tourism) and how?

- What are the facts?

Green hat GREEN HAT: creativity

ASK:

- What are some solutions to the Great Barrier Reef's issues?

- Are there alternative ways to conserve or protect the reef?

- Is there a new way we could do things?

- What is possible for us to achieve as global citizens?

And if not us, who could assist us in achieving what is wanted or needed?

Blue Hat BLUE HAT: process control

ASK:

- What is the Great Barrier Reef all about?

- What has this discussion made you consider?

- What questions does our learning about the Great Barrier Reef raise?

Yellow hat YELLOW HAT: represents the positives

ASK:

- The reef is important because...

- What are the positives about the Great Barrier Reef?
Black hat BLACK HAT: represents the negatives

ASK:

- What are the negatives about the Great Barrier Reef?

- Which groups may the protection of the Great Barrier Reef adversely affect? (THINK: commercial fishing, mining)
Red hat RED HAT: feelings and emotions

ASK:

- How do you feel about the Great Barrier Reef?

- What are your feelings towards its decline?

Resources provided on the Oceanographer's Activities page.

 

 



"On the Job" examples where the strategy, 6 Hats, is used:

Dancer

Dancer

Life on the Job

Li Cunxin, Dancer, Artistic Direct of Queensland Ballet


Portrait of Li Cunxin
Balance & 6 Thinking Hats

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

CriticalAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Critical and creative thinking

 

 

Electrical Linesperson

Electrical Linesperson
Australian Birds of Prey and Power Lines: 6 Thinking Hats

MiddleMiddle  High SchoolSecondary

NumeracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Numeracy

Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Sustainability Priority

 

Oceanographer

Oceanographer

PrimaryPrimary MiddleMiddle High SchoolSecondary

LiteracyAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Literacy

Personal and social capabilityAustralian Curriculum General Capability: Personal and social capability 

IndigenousAustralian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures

Australian Curriculum Cross Curriculum Priorities: Sustainability Priority

 

 

 



 

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