The Development of Critical Thinking: Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono

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Working with senior students and trying to develop their critical thinking, I prefer to use the method of "Six Thinking Hats" by Edward de Bono. The idea of this method is the following: these hats help us to change our image. They also help us to develop our thinking. We put one hat and start thinking in one direction, we change the hat and look at the problem from another point of view.

There are the following hats:

The white hat – the white color is associated with paper; it means information. Having put it on, we analyze what information we have, what information we lack, and what information we need. ?

The red hat is associated with feelings, emotions, and intuition. When we use this hat, we have an opportunity to describe our feelings and emotions without explaining anything.

The black hat is like a cloak of a judge. Having put it on, we criticize. But we should be very careful while doing it.

The green hat reminds us of plants, life, and energy. Having put this hat on, we offer and suggest some ideas and alternatives, speak about modifications and variants.?

The yellow hat reminds us of the sun and optimism. Having put it on, we try to find all positive facts and factors. Even if we don't like the idea, the yellow hat asks us to find something positive in it.?

The blue hat is associated with the process of thinking itself. ?

There are all these hats in my classroom. ?Now let me introduce a part of the lesson "Family size and composition". ?

T. – What problem have we been working lately on? ?

Ps. – Family. ?

T. – So let's take another problem "Family size and composition". What meaning does the word "family" have? ?

Ps.(White hat):


Everything that surrounds us;

A group of countries;

Our planet;




All the generation;

Animal or plant world;

A group of people having the same interests;

The place where people live;

The confederation of people;

The world of science or culture;

The wild world, etc.

T. – Can a person's family be considered his/her "small world'? ?

Ps. –Yes, because:

In the family people find peace, kindness, happiness, advice, help; hide from difficulties; rest; ?

It is the personal center of the big world; ?

It has specific traditions and relations; ?

Every family is individual; ?

It is a cradle of person's mental abilities, intelligence, and feelings; ?

Every family has a special lifestyle, rules, traditions, character, education, interests, feelings;?

The members of the family live together, have common ?interests and ideas, and spend together most of the time, etc.??

T. – What feelings do you experience while thinking about the family? ?

Ps.(Red hat):















Care, etc.

T. – Can we discuss "Family size and composition"? What do we have for it?

Ps. (White hat)Experience we all live in families. Knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.

T. - Do we have enough vocabulary?

Ps. – Not enough.

T. – Well, look through the text; try to guess the meaning of the words in the box. (The task of the text is to complete each definition with one of the following words.)

T. – And now look through the text to get some information about the family size and composition (Text "Family size and composition").

T. – So, what types of families does the text mention?

Ps. – A nuclear family; an extended family; a single-parent family; a childless couple.

T. – Now let's look, what is characteristic of each family, what is good about it, what problems may exist there? So, "a nuclear family".

Ps.(Blue hat) – the process of thinking.

T. – What is good about it?

Ps.(Green hat):

The members of the family share home companionship;

Love, understand, and support each other;

Solve their problems together;

Share raising children and home chores;

Warm atmosphere, happiness, love;

Never alone, never bored;

A standard way of life;

A steady budget;

Parents can educate children better;

A sense of belonging;

Parents teach their children various values, daily skills, ?common practices, and customs;

Emotional support.

T. – And what problems do such families have?

Ps. (Black hat):

A generation gap – the difference in ideas, feelings, ?interests;

Lack of understanding or misunderstanding;

Finance problems;

Housing problems;


Fast-track parents;

Domestic abuse.

T. – Is there any way out?

Ps.(Yellow hat):

To be more tolerant, to find the mutual language, to compromise, to learn to negotiate;

Economic reforms;

Social programs, social help;

To decide about the custody of children;

To divide property, to pay money towards the living costs of ?the children;

Baby-sitters, grandparents, day-care centers, companies – to provide flexible work hours, work at home;

To attract public attention, mass media, government, through social care agencies, social workers, police, social counseling, support.

In the same way we discuss the rest types of the families trying to find everything positive about them, to enumerate their problems, and how to overcome them. Then using the same hats we identify the common trends ?and the ways to overcome them, make a general conclusion that the institution of the family is not dying, that it should not be abolished because the family has a great value for most people. ?Of course, you understand that I've given only a brief description (it’s really impossible to present now all my pupils' ideas, proofs, and emotions) of how I use this method. But I hope you've understood the idea. My pupils like to work in this way very much. They enjoy expressing themselves. So this method helps to develop critical thinking of my pupils, their values, and attitudes.


Lesson 1. Family Size and Composition

Family is one of the oldest and most common human institutions. Since prehistoric times, the family has been an important organization in society. Most people grow up in a family and, as adults, establish a family of their own.

The term family commonly means a group of related people who share a home. The word family also refers to all a person's ancestors and other relatives. Most families are based on kinship – that is, the members belong to the family through birth, marriage, or adoption.

There are some types of family structures. The smallest family unit consists of two people, such as a parent and child – a single-parent family, or a wife and husband – a childless couple, who share home and companionship. If a couple has children, the parents and their children make up a nuclear family. If married children and their off springs live with the parents, the family is called an extended family. An extended family's household might also include aunts, uncles, and cousins. Such relatives, along with grandparents, grandchildren, and others, form part of an extended family group even if they live in separate homes.