Dubai school uses de Bono's approach to cultivate higher thinking order in students

Teachers use the 'Six Thinking Hats' method to personalise activities for students by tailoring the hats around individual thinking and abilities.

File photo
File photo

Nandini Sircar

Published: Fri 4 Feb 2022, 6:29 PM

A Dubai school is using Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ approach to encourage creative thinking among its students.

De Bono is considered the inventor of lateral thinking. Six Thinking Hats helps boost creative thinking by dividing thinking into six ‘hats’: logic, emotion, caution, optimism, creativity, and control.

Explaining how the school has benefitted from this methodology, Larissa Milne, head of teaching and learning, MYP Individuals & Societies, DP History and DP Political Teacher, at Dwight School Dubai said: “It enhances students’ higher order thinking and encourages students to look at issues from multiple perspectives. The idea behind the 'Six Hat's is that each hat represents a different perspective, so when you look at a problem you can look at it from six different ways. Teachers use the approach to personalise activities for individual students by tailoring the hats around individual thinking and abilities. It also allows students the opportunity to experience learning as active inquirers instead of passive listeners in a fun collaborative way, especially if you get the students to actually wear the different coloured hats — white, black, red, yellow, blue and green hats.

“There are teachers in our school who have always used this strategy. It has been presented in CPD sessions and is now tried and tested by many teachers. This is not an approach that you use in every class, but it is something that can be used every now and then to encourage analysis from differing perspectives,” adds Milne.

Michelle Kate Francis, MYP English and DP Psychology Teacher, said: “The strategy works well when incorporated with jigsaw learning (another strategy for teaching/approach to learning and differentiating where each student becomes an expert in his/her assigned task). It presents students with the opportunity to share ideas constructively in a safe environment where others listen in order to understand and not to judge the thinking process. This exchange of ideas leads to exciting results in the classroom.”

Bono’s lateral thinking philosophy is also used in economics and by companies such as IBM, Nokia, Bosch, as well as others.

Naya, a Grade 9 student at Dwight school, says: “Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats has enabled a new way of learning and helped me think differently and be creative in my approach. It promotes critical thinking and was quite interesting when we applied this to analyse one of the protagonist’s characters in English Literature.”

Another Grade 9 student Hamish said: “This has really allowed me to develop a new way of thinking critically in the classroom.”


World-renowned writer, psychologist, philosopher and Maltese physician, Edward de Bono, was the leading authority in the field of creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He invented the concept of lateral thinking, and has written more than 60 books, in 40 languages, with people now teaching his methods worldwide.

While he used the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ approach to advise government agencies, he also wanted it to be a practical tool for everyday problem-solving.

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