There are so many books on the market which purport to be able to teach you how to teach your child to think. Unfortunately many of these books are something akin to Chinese Whispers – the ideas that they aren telling you aren’t anything original. They are simply taking a spin on somebody else’s work and parroting it off as their own. So my question to you is – why not just go straight to the source?
‘Teach Your Child to Think’ is a book by Edward De Bono, a man considered by many to be the first to figure out how to teach thinking skills. He is the original. When I started teaching, over a decade ago, his “Six Hats” theory was very much in vogue (He first published work on his Six Hats theory in 1985). Although I appreciate the merits of this, and it is certainly useful in scaffolding the explicit teaching of thinking, I found it quite involved to teach. In our overcrowded curriculum, and only at the beginning of my teaching journey, it was a little bit more than I could handle. I understood it, but I wasn’t confident in my ability to teach it properly. Not long after I was chatting to my uncle about my conundrum. I knew that teaching the children in my class how to think was an important life skill and far more important and useful to them than anything else that was on the curriculum… but yet I couldn’t figure out how to work it into the curriculum and I wasn’t convinced of my ability to deliver it effectively. In his typical, wise fashion, instead of giving me an answer, he posed a question to me – What thinking routines did I regularly use? Teach them. It was so simple and in all honesty, made me feel quite foolish. Of course I should teach the skills that I found useful. If I regularly used them, I could speak from experience as to why they were effective and they would be skills that I could teach easily and naturally. I did then, and still do now, regularly utilise De Bono’s CoRT thinking strategies.
This book introduces you to a variety of Edward De Bono’s thinking strategies and gives you meaningful advice on the importance of critical thinking and how to implement it. But keep in mind the pragmatic advice of my uncle and don’t try to instill something in your children that you yourself do not prioritise or use… and you know what, you might just surprise yourself how much better the quality of your work becomes when you start to use these thinking routines in your own life. I know from my own experience that my work is richer, has greater depth and has more clarity because I approach what I do with a ‘questioning’ frame of mind and critically evaluate all the options available to me. I am no longer passive, instead making active and deliberate decisions about the way I will live my life and what path I will choose. Try it. Read the book. You’ll be amazed how useful his strategies are and how they will enhance your ability to do your own work.
Author: Edward De Bono
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