De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats


De Bono’s 6 thinking hats continue to be central to many teaching philosophies.

The six thinking hats are different coloured hats that all represent a different thinking process. The hats have been used as a way to get students in the right mind space for the topic of the lesson.  For example, in a textile class one main methods of thinking is creativity.  Therefore, you could ask your students to put their ‘green thinking hat’ on.  By doing this you are encouraging your students to stop what they are doing and think about Bono’s 6 hats.

My belief is that the 6 thinking hats would be more suited towards primary age school students if used in that method.  I believe that in a high school setting asking a student to put a coloured hat is a little condescending…  As they are young adults and such should be treated  accordingly.  However, if the thinking hats where used as a means for groups to plan thinking processes (brainstorming) a more detailed and cohesive response or plan would be achieved I believe.

Here is an incident Brenda Dyck highlights how in a classroom environment de Bono’s hats can solve a study groups problem. It demonstrated to the students how to turn a negative situation (i.e. writing skills tutorial) into a positive one and gave the students a better understanding of why they were doing it.


Recently, one of my colleagues had an opportunity to put the Six Thinking Hats thinking tool to use. In order to prepare students for an upcoming achievement test, a small group of students had to be pulled from phys ed class once a week to work on writing skills. Those students were upset… phys ed was their favourite subject, and they didn’t want to miss it. The teacher, realising that she needed “buy-in” from the students, decided it was time to look at the problem from different vantage points. Over the next 40 minutes, she deliberately led her students through a discussion that focused on the different perspectives represented by the Six Thinking Hats. By the end of the period, her students

  • were able to separate the facts from their feelings;
  • had an opportunity to express their disappointment, frustration, and anger;
  •  learned how to recognise the positive things that could come from preparing for the writing exam.
  • were able to brainstorm ways they could make their tutorial time an enjoyable experience; and
  • were able to summarise what they learned from this experience and to envision ways to use that learning in the future.