Get your thinking hats on…

A milliner makes hats and hats have played such an important part in our national character.


Think of the iconic hat from bowler to cap, of ladies day at Ascot, from the most opulent bedecked in great plumage or simply woven tweed the hat is functional, stylish and does so much to say who you are; schoolboy, worker, bank manager or queen; hats are simple and easily seen.

Hats were used to identify your position in society.

So why have they gone out of fashion;

  1. Cars with their low roofs and warm interiors
  2. Less walking in the open air; school boys caps had gone 2 generations ago when the walk from their centrally heated homes to the warm interiors of new schools meant that they were no longer a requirement.
  3. Hats in schools had other uses at that time too
  4. The Dunces hat-people sat in corners for being naughty sporting a hat with the big letter D denoting some minor infringement of the classroom, with a disproportionate response that allowed the staff to bully and marginalise the child in shame reinforced by the fellow pupils who feared and yet leared, thankful that it was not them. In my generation these things still happened in state schools, under Edwardian rules.
  5. Silly academic motor boards with their ridiculous tassles, worn by staff in schools like this one and still at graduation ceremonies to this day  What does yours look like?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I would like to introduce you to an old idea, by now some of you will think it a bit old hat; but its new to me and helps me discuss a ideas that we assume everyone knows in education and helps me think about problem solving in a different way.This is the idea of Edward de Bono, a world renowned academic and psychologist who published a book in 1985 ; and his idea; the book was called the six thinking hats.It can work for a group discussing a problem or structure a possible process by which approaching a problem can be taught enhancing a structured approach to problem solving.Sometimes we don’t put our thinking caps on and rather than one that we can’t describe here are six that each has a meaning.We start with the blue hat. It represents what thinking is needed and what has to happen in a sequence, what process are we going to use to solve a problemBut the green hat is about creativity, new ideas asking the collective for help.The final hat is black and critical, is the process working and what are the weaknesses, can we change the process and streamline the process.Like some Alan Sugar inspired process- the Apprentice we all sit with our black hats criticising the process the outcomes of each group and their individual input to solving a commercial problem.You see it takes a lot of imagination to solve problems, not just chance and with problem solving and contribution comes self-esteem and the initiative to solve more problems.Global warming, terrorism, poverty disease and famine. Time to get your thinking caps on. Or is it girlfriends, boyfriends, no friends, family or enemy; time to get your thinking hats on. It really does not matter what the size and shape of the hat is it is recognizing that you can ask different questions and come up with new answers. The white is about data, what information is needed to solve a problem and then Yellow what are the benefits of these new changes.He red hat is the intuitive emotions hat; it can be negative and emotional. I think most of us have heard the phrase thinking cap. The trouble with hats is that you can only wear one at a time whatever they are trying to communicate to the observer. Origin of the mortar board-This academic adornment stems from the Roman Catholic Clergy and was originally red, but its roots stem further back from the 14th century to that of the Roman Empire.

Professor de Bono, the originator of the phrase lateral thinking has some original ideas to communicate.

The teaching of thinking is a rather dishevelled concept in school; we must teach it surely, but who refines those skills; some are better thinkers and problem solvers than others.

Is this simply a function of intelligence or can it be taught in a way that more students can learn strategies that enhance their ability?

There are six hats in six colours.

Each hat denotes a separate thinking.

Perhaps you could design one that reflects your IQ or nature; perhaps quiet stylish and measured; perhaps symmetrical and stylish; perhaps outrageous and parallel with the finest that high fashion can offer.








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