The “Six Thinking Hats” technique in the classroom: how to use it? Description of strategy and examples of use

The essence of the “six hats” technique

The “six thinking hats” technique is similar to a role-playing game, the task of the participants is to look at the problem from different positions. Its creator, Edward de Bono, proposed dividing the process of thinking about a problem situation into six modes in order to streamline it for one person or a group of people at once. As a result of the work done, a fresh creative solution to a controversial issue arises. So, the essence of the method is that the one who is currently thinking about the question, mentally (for teenagers and adults) or really (for kids and elementary school) puts on a headdress of one of the 6 colors presented below. Each of these hats encourages a person to think from a specific perspective:

  1. The white hat is responsible for facts and background information.
  2. Blue – encourages the thinker to coordinate activities in the group
  3. Red – allows its user to be sensitive and emotional.
  4. Yellow – supportive, inspires optimism and hope for a favorable outcome of the problem.
  5. Black - allows the thinker to express his concerns and warn about risks.
  6. Green is the hat of a creative person who is looking for creative ways out of a situation.

Application of the “6 thinking hats” method in preschool educational institutions

The Six Thinking Hats method has been used in kindergartens around the world for many years. Most often it is used during teacher councils and in groups of senior preschool age.

Using the method when holding a pedagogical meeting allows you to quickly and effectively discuss current problems of preschool educational institutions and develop a solution. The head or methodologist of the preschool educational institution introduces the teachers to the plan of the meeting. Process management assumes that the blue hat is with the manager. Painful problems of a child care institution may be brought to the teaching council, for example, “Teachers refuse to take part in the “Teacher of the Year” competition, what should I do?” or “A performance by parents for children, is it necessary?” Participants in the teachers' council figuratively put on hats in the required sequence and express their thoughts, collectively developing the optimal solution. Analysis of the results of the teachers' meeting (reflection) allows us to judge the productivity of the application of the “Six Thinking Hats”.

The use of the de Bono method in senior and preparatory groups helps teach children to think and develop ideas independently. When independently searching for answers to questions, children take a responsible attitude to the decision they make and recognize themselves as individuals.

Scope of application of the method in preschool educational institutions:

  • Speech therapy classes
  • Music classes
  • Drawing
  • Modeling
  • Thematic circles, etc.

Classes between the teacher and children using the “Six Thinking Hats” method are held in a partnership form in a relaxed atmosphere, in a friendly atmosphere. Kids will love the six colorful hats and fun pretend play.

Where can the teacher get hats?

  • Make it with your children from cardboard or whatman paper
  • ask parents to make
  • announce a competition among parents for the best white hat, and then paint them with the children in a group
  • make caps from colored paper
  • use multi-colored Panama hats or baseball caps.

In groups, you can create a visual “Smart Hats Center”, a “Smart Men and Women” corner, where you can place the hats themselves, visual aids, and tables. “How to decorate the corner of hats” - this question can be asked at the first thematic game with children. Let them think for themselves and come up with ideas.

Gradually introducing children to the course of the game will make it much easier for them to get used to thinking positions. To do this, you should start introducing them little by little to smart hats. For example:

- “Guys, this blue hat of ours is always so businesslike! It helps you think like a director! Like a boss - a milksucker. Have you seen this cartoon? Let's try to put it on and talk businesslike. So, what did we have planned today?”

“Children, if you put on this red hat, you can feel something. Try to continue “Ah! It seems to me, I feel that our idea...”

During the first practices of using role-playing games in a group, it is recommended to introduce not all the hats at once, but two or three at a time. It will be easier for children to remember which color is intended for which role. It’s good if the teacher uses a felt-tip pen or marker of the same color to draw associative pictures and inscriptions on a white board or whatman paper.

Examples of activities with children using de Bono’s “6 thinking hats” method

Game "Architects"

As part of the drawing lesson, children are offered a role-playing game in which they will all be builders and architects. Before the start of the lesson, children are seated at tables on which there are drawing sheets, colored pencils, felt-tip pens, and rulers.

The teacher shows the white hat and says that it is magical, it knows a lot. For example, the tallest building in the world has 163 floors. “Now put on all the smart white hats - know-it-alls (take white cards, pieces of paper, any white objects, imagine yourself in white hats...) and tell me how many floors are there in your house? Have you seen multi-story buildings? How many floors do they have?

The teacher demonstrates a blue hat, invites everyone to pick up blue objects, put on blue hats and imagine themselves as the director of an architectural (construction) department. The teacher puts on a blue hat and remains in it, managing the game process.

At this point, you can invite the children to think about a drawing of a large building, how they would draw it. You can start drawing the project.

Next, children are invited to put on a red hat and imagine a beautiful large building in their hometown, built according to their drawing or design. What feelings does this building evoke? Delight? Delight? Pride? Fear? Is the building beautiful?

In a yellow hat, children look for the advantages of a skyscraper in their hometown, in a black hat they express concerns, in a green hat they offer unusual solutions, fantasize, etc.

The drawing lesson ends with joint reflection, discussion of drawings - projects, the teacher asks whether the hats helped to think.

How to Use the Six Thinking Hats in the Classroom

In the classroom, situations often arise that cause a lot of controversy. Most often these are lessons about the surrounding world, social studies, history and literature. In order to resolve contradictions, the “six hats of critical thinking” technique is sometimes used. You can distribute the children as they wish, for example, those who base their guesses on emotions are given red hats. Or you can invite them to “try on” opposite roles, for example, white hats, so that they learn to push emotions aside and operate only with facts.

Before the discussion, it is necessary to discuss the basic rules: do not interrupt others, listen carefully, and most importantly, try to remain in the appropriate image, which determines the way of thinking, and not change it until the end of the game.

After the discussions, the teacher organizes reflection. Here it is necessary to let everyone speak: was it difficult, what did you like or dislike, what conclusions did you draw for yourself, what decision did you come to?

Algorithm for working with reception

The algorithm for adopting the six critical thinking hats can be represented as follows:

  1. Statement of a problem situation.
  2. Distribution of colors of “headdresses”. This can be done in different ways: at will, using lots, using random or intentional division into groups according to their thinking characteristics.
  3. Preparation in groups of a common point of view on the issue, taking into account the assigned roles.
  4. Voicing and discussing the resulting assumptions.
  5. Summing up the discussion.
  6. Reflection.

How do Bono hats work?

So, now about the most important thing - how to put this into practice. To deal with emotions, confusion and mental confusion, the method divides the thought process into six ways of thinking, each represented by a different colored hat. And here they are!


She is responsible for information and facts.

This is similar to solving a mathematical problem: first we evaluate what we have, and figure out what is missing. Having put on this hat, children determine the reasons for the event, build connections, and read out confirming or refuting sayings.


This is the headdress of emotions and intuition.

The Bono method allows you to express yourself emotionally only under red fields, and for no longer than 30 seconds, reducing the number of available solution options to a minimum, allowing you to express the prompts of your inner voice without justifying why it seems that way.


The most positive!

Helps to identify the benefits and answer the question: why is it possible or worth doing this? The sun hat looks for winning solutions and helps to see the positive, puts you in an optimistic mood when everything seems gloomy and dead-end. It is worn to assess both a person's problems and behavior. The yellow accessory proves that not everything is as bad as it seems at first glance.


The complete opposite of yellow. Totally negative.

She is responsible for the negative aspects, risks and caution. Putting on a black hat, you will have to criticize and be a pessimist, look for the negative and bad consequences of decisions made, answering the question: “What is wrong, what can this lead to?”

Trying on such a negative hat is often advised to those children who are accustomed to winning and, due to self-confidence, have ceased to be careful, not noticing the impending threat.


She is responsible for creativity and new ideas.

Offers to find unusual ways to solve a problem. At this stage, even the most awkward solutions are announced, which not everyone can handle, and ideas that go beyond the previous usual framework appear in order to overcome the difficulties discovered under the black hat.

Thus, schoolchildren under the green fields come up with their own endings to literary stories, taking into account what they discovered for themselves in the previous stages.

An example of using the six thinking hats technique

In a reading lesson in elementary school, you can practice using the six hats technique on the simple fairy tale “Kolobok.” The meaning of colors will be slightly different here, but at this age the main task of children is to understand the essence. For example, everyone who got green must show their imagination, and those who got white must get as many facts as possible. So, children are given the task of telling the fairy tale “Kolobok” in a new way. And then comes the distribution into groups:

  • A white hat suggests a business conversation with a lot of terms, definitions and facts. For example: “Kolobok is a round bakery product made from flour, butter and sour cream.”
  • Yellow - responsible for artistic speech, as if telling a fairy tale, citing a large number of epithets and comparisons. For example: “The bun was ruddy, beautiful, fragrant! And as he sang, you will be heard, just like a nightingale!”
  • A man in a black hat tells scary stories or fairy tales. For example: “The fox opened its mouth, and there were huge sharp teeth! Kolobok got goosebumps all over his body, and he screamed loudly in horror!”
  • Red - encourages a person to sensual storytelling, perhaps even to write poetry. For example:

My tips for using the technique

To apply the Six Hats method of critical thinking, here are some tips:

  1. It is best to start getting acquainted with the method with simple puzzles so that children can understand the rules of the game and remember the roles of each of the colors.
  2. In preschool age and elementary school, it is better to use the method in a playful way, and offer simpler meanings for colors.
  3. It is better if the teacher divides the children into groups in kindergarten and primary school, and when using the method again, switch the groups, giving the children the opportunity to play different roles.
  4. For teenagers and high school students, you can offer distribution into groups by lot or at will.
  5. Before the discussion, be sure to discuss and write down the rules of communication during the game so that unnecessary disputes and quarrels do not arise.
  6. The discussion must be organized: the teacher leads the process, inviting one or another group to speak and preventing conflicts.
  7. At the reflection stage, you should try to give each participant the opportunity to speak.
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