I’ve always thought Edward De Bono’s “Six Thinking Hats” (1985) is an idea that fits quite neatly with the demands placed on students in a-level sociology and psychology. Three hats speak directly to the assessment process:

1.White: facts, information known or needed.

2. Black: weaknesses, limitations and judgements.

3. Yellow: advantages and uses.

The remaining hats also have a part to play in developing the general skills required of students at this level:

4. Green: creativity, exploring new ideas and possibilities

5. Red: feelings and intuitions

6. Blue: control of the thinking process

However, while it’s relatively easy to identity such things the problem is always one of how to successfully apply them in particular classrooms.

As luck – or more-correctly the ATSS archive I’m currently wantonly mining – would have it, the fourth example from the guilded pen of Dr. Jill Swale is an activity designed specifically to use De Bono’s 6 thinking hats in sociological discussion (although it could equally be applied to psychological discussions with a bit of tinkering).

The activity itself is pretty simple – divide the class into groups and ask them to discuss a question or topic – but the thinking hats approach provides a strong structure that encourages students to be both productive and engaged at all points in the process.

Which strikes me as a Win-Win scenario all-round.

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