The power of collaborative learning

Thinking Hats: A Tool to Strengthen Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity from @shirleydrummon5

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Six Thinking Hats: A Tool to Strengthen Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity Skills

At St Hilda’s we aim and encourage our girls to develop the 3R’s to enable them to be resourceful, resilient and risk takers. As part of our ‘Thinking Skills’ strategy we have introduced the Edward De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats.

The Six Thinking Hats have been utilised in the corporate business world for some time but the simplicity of this tool lends itself to schools. Once the children learn and understand the type of thinking required by each hat it helps them to be more productive, focused and mindfully involved and leads to greater creativity. It enables each person’s unique point of view to be included and considered. Argument and endless discussion become a thing of the past. Thinking becomes clearer and can lead to greater clarity and creativity.

Watch the short video from Edward De Bone on ‘Creative Thinking’

Edward De Bono on Creativity


 white The White Hat calls for information known or needed. “The facts, just the facts.”


 yellow The Yellow Hat symbolizes brightness and optimism. Under this hat you explore the positives and probe for value and benefit.


 black The Black Hat is judgment – the devil’s advocate or why something may not work. Spot the difficulties and dangers; where things might go wrong. Probably the most powerful and useful of the Hats but a problem if overused.


 red The Red Hat signifies feelings, hunches and intuition. When using this hat you can express emotions and feelings and share fears, likes, dislikes, loves, and hates.


 green The Green Hat focuses on creativity; the possibilities, alternatives, and new ideas. It’s an opportunity to express new concepts and new perceptions.


 blue The Blue Hat is used to manage the thinking process. It’s the control mechanism that ensures the Six Thinking Hats® guidelines are observed.

In October some students took part in a Thinking Skills session as part of one of the Open Day workshops.  The ‘Matisee’ art session produced some wonderful results and the resource used for the session can be found here.



During our Inset at the beginning of term all the staff participated in a Six Hat training session and each teaching room now has its very own set of hats. Reception class have sourced their own individual styled coloured hats linked to their circus theme, we have thinking caps, sparkly bowler hats and one member of staff is sourcing her thinking teddies!


The pupils were introduced to the Thinking Hats during a morning assembly where they entered the hall to the tones of a current pop band.  As the girls sat in silence, some looking rather bemused as several teachers began to sway in a ‘Wembleyesk ‘ manner!  Throughout the assembly each hat was introduced to the girls as they were asked a variety of questions regarding the music; (see some responses below)


red 2

How did you feel when you came into the hall today? How does the music make you feel? How did the teachers waving your arms make you feel?

confused         excited         weird          happy    


yellow 2

What did you like about the music? What were the good things about it? What were the positives about what was going on in the hall?

it was upbeat             it was different        it was my favourite group


black 2

What were the negatives? What did you not like?  What were you concerned about?

it was too loud           I didn’t know what was going on     Not normal for assembly 


 white 2

Can anyone give me some information, facts about the piece of music? What do you already know about the music?

It was One Direction                          It was Pop music          They were in the X-Factor


green 2

Let’s be creative, imaginative, for those of you who did not want to ‘sway’ to the music, how would you move to the music?  What did the music make you want to do?

The pupils and staff jumped, danced, skipped, clapped their hands, snapped their fingers to name but a few responsse to the music!


blue 2

The blue hat was introduced as being worn by the leader of the group, leading the discussions, overseeing the task.

The aim is now for all teachers to attempt to make use of the ‘Thinking Hats’ in a variety of lessons and we will evaluate their effectiveness throughout the year.  So far the response from the girls has been positive as they are now aware of what type of thinking is required and it has streamlined their response.  Some lessons lend themselves better than others and the hats should not be used in every lesson or it can become ‘old hat! It has been encouraging to hear that some lessons have already incorporated the hats;


thinking hats      thinking hats 2

Some teachers may be skeptical about the concept of linking thinking skills to coloured hats but if the process is kept simple, not over complicated and the pupils are developing their ability to ‘think’ which leads to greater creativity then what do we have to lose!

Shirley Drummond, Deputy Head, St Hilda’s School







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