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Friday, May 24, 2013

Introduction to the Six Thinking Hats of Dr. Edward de Bono

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

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

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

In the next post we will discuss how the Six Thinking Hats of Dr. Edward de Bono can be used in the blended learning classroom.

[1] Taken from Solomon, R.D. & Davidson, N (2012).  Encouraging Skillful, Critical and Creative Thinking: Participant’s Guide. Tucson, AZ: Fourth R Consulting.

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