image map Keeping on track Start here Preparing Synthesising/communicating Finding Home page Sifting and choosing back to previous link Bibliography Evaluating Sorting/recording

Six thinking hats is an invaluable teaching tool for thinking. It breaks down the thinking process into six components. Each child in the class should experience all six levels of thinking. The six hats take the ego out of thinking and allow more objective and comprehensive consideration of the issue.


Hat Qualities

Sample Questions

White hat: information

What do you know?
What else do you need to know?

data and information
note all views even if information conflicts
assess relevance of information
assess accuracy of information
separate fact from fiction
What information do you have?
What information would you like to  have?
How do you get the information you need?


Red hat: feelings

How do you feel about...?
identify feelings and emotions
gut responses, intuition
debriefing tool after a decision has been made
no requirement to justify feelings
Time limit of 30 seconds or less
What are your feelings now?
What is your gut reaction?
What does your intuition tell you?
Black hat: weaknesses

What do you think is wrong with this?

possible and existing negatives

identify bad points

judgement and assessment of a situation
Black hat when used after the yellow hat is a powerful assessment tool.
Black hat when used before the green hat is excellent for problem solving and charting improvement.
What are the difficulties with this?
Do you think this is true?
What is wrong with this?
What do you think the risks are?
What should you be cautious about?
Do you think this will work?


Yellow hat: strengths

What are the positives?
positive aspects of thinking

accept all suggestions even if not feasible

Why is this worth doing?
How will this help?
Why can it be done?
What are the good things about this?
Why will it work? 
Green hat: creativity

What other ways are there of doing this?
new ideas and alternatives

modifies existing ideas

provides new directions

good points

reasons why an idea will work

What else could you do here?
What are the possibilities?

What are other ways to solve this?

What will overcome the difficulties?
Blue hat: managing the thinking process

What is the best way to control the process of thinking using all the hats?

keeps an overview
manages the thinking process

gets the best thinking from everyone

usually the role of the facilitator

focuses and refocuses thinking
The blue hat is especially helpful during three key parts of the process: at the beginning to define the focus, in the middle to restate the thinking goals, and at the end to summarise what has been achieved.
What is the agenda?
What is the next step?

How can the discussion be summarised so far?

What is the decision?
What is the outcome?
What thinking has been done?
De Bono, E. (1992), Six thinking hats for schools: book 3, Hawker Brownlow, Cheltenham, Vic.
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