Tag Archives: six thinking hats

Power tools


This week at the Carrot Ranch Charli Mills has challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less) include a tool in a story. I open this post with a quote by Jackie French I used to close my previous post.

Jackie French - books - tools

Books are a great tool. So is the ability to think creatively.

Being literate is a key that opens many doors. Being able to think opens many more. You could say they are the power tools of education and success.

In his book The Outliers (recommended to me by Rowena who blogs at Beyond the Flow), Malcolm Gladwell talks about the role of intelligence in success. He says that “intelligence only matters up to a point”, and that “past that point, other things — things that have nothing to do with intelligence — must start to matter more”. He raises the question of what those things are.

He makes a suggestion to

“Write down as many different uses that you can think of for the following objects:

  1. a brick
  2. a blanket”

and calls it a “divergence test”. Rather than asking you to come up with a one right answer, a divergence test “requires you to use your imagination and take your mind in as many different directions as possible.”

Gladwell describes the test as a measure of creativity, of the ability to come up with imaginative and unique responses rather than a list of commonplace uses. He considers this imaginative thinking combined with intelligence, not intelligence alone, to be what is required to make new discoveries such as those that may be awarded Nobel Prizes.

Can this sort of creative thinking be taught?

Edward de Bono certainly thinks so. As long ago, dare I say, as the late 60s I read (and did) The Five Day Course in Thinking, a series of puzzles to help readers (thinkers) understand their thinking strategies. The puzzles in the book are divided into three sections: Insight Thinking, Sequential Thinking, and Strategic Thinking.

Over the years I read a number of de Bono’s books including but not limited to Lateral Thinking, Six Thinking Hats, How to Have a Beautiful Mind, Teach Your Child How to Think, Textbook of Wisdom and Why I Want to Be King of Australia. I had a thirst for learning how to think, as thinking had not been encouraged and memorising content had not come easily in my younger years. Discovering that I was able to think, and think outside the box, was empowering.

I enjoyed using de Bono’s strategies and teaching them to my own children as well as to children in my classrooms over the years. His Six Thinking Hats are used in classrooms worldwide as are many others of his thinking strategies.

six hats

In this video de Bono talks about creativity, creative thinking, and thinking “outside the box”:

Tony Ryan is another educator who believes it can. He has published a number of books that aim to get students thinking in creative ways. His Thinkers Keys “a powerful program for teaching children to become extraordinary thinkers” is designed to do just that.

Tony Ryan says that we now need to think beyond the square and think “outside the dodecahedron”.

In a comment on a previous post about Lifetime Changes, Steven linked to an amusing video showing the reactions of 21st century children to our earliest computers, tools of technology. This is it in case you missed it:

I combined the notions of books, creative thinking and technology as tools for learning, productivity and success with a little bit of backward (historical) thinking to inspire my futuristic flash this week. I hope you enjoy it.

tools for learning


The family shuffled amongst the haphazard collection of primitive artefacts without attempting to disguise disinterest or disdain. The waiting seemed interminable in this “so-last-century” outpost.

Haven’s seen one of these before,” they’d been told. “I’ll need to order a specialized tool as well as the part. Shouldn’t take long though. Look around while you wait.”

Confidence in the simpleton’s tools “upstairs”, even if the correct parts arrived, was as low as their interest.

Hey look!” one called. “Is this …?”

Can’t be.”

All destroyed centuries ago.”

Would be worth a fortune though.’’

They opened it.

A book!” they gasped.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post or flash fiction.