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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

How Dr. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats construct can be used to promote instruction in the Judaic Studies classroom and to mentor and train Jewish educators

When mentoring our pre-service and in-service teachers we need to describe and model both research-based and clinically tested best practices, and demonstrate how these best practices can be applied in the real (i.e. physical) and virtual (i.e. online) classroom for both teaching and teacher training. The combination of face to face instruction in a physical setting and online learning is called blended learning. In this section of the blog we will describe how the internet can serve as a supplemental resource for instruction and the mentoring of pre-service and in-service Jewish educators. In this post we will discuss how Dr. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats construct can be used to promote Judaic instruction and to mentor/train pre-service and in-service Jewish educators.

Assumption: The teacher or mentor teacher has an interactive white board (i.e. SMART Board, Promethean, etc.), a Tablet PC (also called a Slate or Blade), a computer presenter or computer with internet access attached to an LCD projector in the classroom. It would be ideal if students or mentees had access to their own laptop computers or Ipads. Given parental and school approval, and the development of specific guidelines, smartphones can be used to enhance instruction as well.

Note: Although the Six Hats cognitive construct of Dr. Edward de Bono can be applied in the Judaic Studies blended learning classroom, it can be also be used for training pre-service and in-service Jewish educators for professional or staff development. It is our hope that Jewish educators around the globe will form an online community of practice, a CoP, a group of people who share an interest, a craft, and/or a profession, to enhance the delivery of instruction and training of Jewish educators. For example, here is a CoP you might want to join. 

Note: Dr. Edward de Bono’s Six Hats cognitive construct can be used in a face to face and virtual classroom.

In previous blog posts we have defined thinking skills and processes, creative thinking, critical thinking and Benjamin Blooms taxonomy of educational objectives. We have also shared creative and critical thinking tools developed by Dr. Donald J. Treffinger

What are Dr. Edward de Bono’s  Six Thinking Hats[1]?

The six thinking hats are used to unscramble thinking so that a person is able to focus on one thinking mode at a time instead of trying to think in six different ways simultaneously. The six hats provide varied thinking roles which are described below:

White Hat:  virgin white, pure facts, figures, and information. In White Hat thinking, one gives facts and figures in a neutral and objective manner without emotions and opinions.  This is akin to the functioning of a computer that gives precise facts and figures for which it is asked.  Information can range from checked and proven facts to data which have not been fully verified and which have some degree of "likelihood."

Red Hat:  seeing red, emotions and feelings, also hunches and intuition. The Red Hat legitimizes emotions and feelings as an important part of thinking.  It makes feelings visible so they can become part of the thinking process.  This can include more complex "feelings" such as hunches, intuition, sense, and taste.

Black Hat:  negative judgment, why it will not work, devil's advocate. Black Hat thinking is concerned with negative assessment.  This hat points out what is wrong, incorrect and in error, how something does not fit experience or accepted knowledge,  why something will not work,  and design faults.  This is not construed as argument but as an objective attempt to put negative elements onto the map for consideration.

Yellow Hat:  sunshine, brightness and optimism, positive, constructive, opportunity. Yellow Hat thinking is concerned with positive assessment.  It covers a positive spectrum ranging from the logical and practical at one end to dreams, visions, and hopes at the other end.  It is concerned with effectiveness -- making things happen.

Green Hat:  fertile, creative, plants springing from seeds, movement, provocation. Green Hat thinking emphasizes creativity and the search for alternatives.  It includes provocation to take us out of our usual patterns of thinking, and lateral thinking to cut across typical patterns.  With this hat the idea of movement replaces the idea of judgment.

Blue Hat: cool and control, orchestra conductor, thinking about thinking. The Blue Hat is the “control hat” which organizes the thinking itself. It calls for the use of the other hats, defines the topic for thinking, sets the focus, defines problems and shapes questions. It monitors the thinking (i.e. thinking about the thinking needed to explore the topic) and ensures that the rules of the game are observed.

Below is an image and brief explanation of the Six Thinking Hats of  Dr. Edward de Bono (taken from

To copy the above image, right-click on it.

For additional resources on the Six Thinking Hats of Dr. Edward de Bono click on the links below:

How Dr. Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats construct can be used to promote instruction in the Judaic Studies classroom and to mentor and train Jewish educators

Examine the image below to see how The Six Thinking Hats of Dr. Edward de Bono might be used to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian issue in a Judaic Studies classroom or during a Jewish educator staff development program. 

To copy the above image, right-click on it.

 On the next post we will begin exploring a new audio web tool, AudioPal.

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