De Bono on ‘cave-man’ thinking

Secret Cave, Hai Long Bay

The first session of the Oxford Conference was a video of De Bono talking about thinking.  He had been scheduled to open the conference, but was too ill to travel. It was still very worthwhile to hear him.  De Bono argued that we are locked into standard responses,standard thinking. This is “cave-man thinking” – responsive. He said we were locked into “Thinking to find the truth”, the thinking that grew out of church beliefs. But what about “thinking to create value”?  That’s been neglected.

He argued for teaching thinking directly, and that improved results in all other subject. And, not thinking in subjects, but the explicit teaching  of thinking frameworks.

He also argued that we should be teaching the “now-story”, how the world works now, as being at least as important as history teaching.

He also talked about the six hats thinking tools he developed, and argued for their continued relevance in moving thinking beyond instinct and emotion.

He also talked about the logical and patterning systems in the brain, and how humour was an example of creativity. Lateral thinking, he said, was formalised, creative thinking (random word technique, provocation technique etc). These can be learned.

Our existing thinking is ebne (excellent, but not good enough).  We’ve been hung up on “truth thinking”.

Above: Secret cave near Hai Long Bay, Vietnam.  Photo: Warrick

New thinking and learning opportunities


I have begun to come together for the ‘New Thinking and Learning Opportunities’ Conference, coming up in Sydney in May. Organised by Oxford Education I’m excited to be presenting on using new technologies in the teaching of English in the Australian Curriculum.

Of course Edward Do Bono is the main attraction! I joked with someone at school that I was presenting with De Bono and he said, ‘What, are you one of the hats?’. I said, ‘Yes, the yellow one.’

The conference details say:

The Australian Curriculum is a profound educational reform. It represents a singular opportunity to improve teaching and learning outcomes, and Oxford University Press is delighted to host this event, designed to support the New South Wales educational community in realising implementation from 2014.

My session says:

The Australian Curriculum: English offers both challenges and opportunities for teachers. In this session, Warrick will explore approaches and tools to support English teachers in implementing the Australian Curriculum in the secondary classroom, including iPad and iPhone resources to support critical thinking, reflection and collaboration, as well as supporting teachers in giving students targeted feedback.

The program for the day is here. The full conference brochure is here