Edward de Bono: His Lateral Thinking Philosophy Transforms U.K. Schools

lateral thinking

Edward de Bono, author of  Teach Your Child How to Think,  has been in despair over the state of education in the U.K. for decades. He’s the man who invented the phrase, ‘lateral thinking’ and is adament that the British education system is “wasting two-thirds of the talent in society.”
Edward de BonoHis answer to this educational dilemma can be found in the world’s first university-based Centre of Serious Creativity and Constructive Thinking at Manchester Metropolitan University’s Crewe campus. It is the largest University for educators in Europe and plans have already been made to turn it into a hub for educating professionals De Bono’s concepts in four-day crash courses.
According to the Independent,

Ditton Primary has been using the De Bono methods for the past six years alongside several other thinking methods – Hyerle’s Thinking Maps, Art Costa’s Habits of Mind and Spencer Kagan’s Co-operative Learning – powered by Carol Lawrenson’s vision to turn out children equipped to think for the 21st century: “We want our children to be respectful, responsible, resourceful, good creators and successful in whatever intelligences they show,” she says. “That is more important than success in Key Stage 3.

Thinking Schools throw out traditional academic books. Their students don’t use exercise books. Instead the curriculum is taught entirely in seven themes such as problem solving and reasoning, creative development or knowledge and understanding of the world. All subjects are taught with creative thinking tools at the core. Images of theme-based colored hats crop up all over the school and lessons are infused with references like “let’s put on some green hat (creative) thinking” or “Put on your white hats and tell us the facts.” According to the Independent, “At the end of 2008, Ditton and two other nearby nationally-accredited thinking schools formed a consultancy – Halton Thinking Schools (HATS) – to train other schools.”

Lawrenson says her school is in one of the poorest boroughs in the country, but it is also always in the top 15 per cent of primaries in the country for academic results. The school rarely sees bullying. There have only been 11 disciplinary incidents since last February. Before the introduction of Bono’s thinking tools the statistics were much different. The bottom line — at Lawrenson’s school they believe the kids are more confident students. The educators there believe they are producing thinkers and not ‘exam fodder’.

De Bono’s life work has evolved into the formation of several groups: the de Bono Foundation, a separately run de Bono Group, and de Bono Consulting.

For more information about De Bono’s theories visit:

Put your thinking hat on: How Edward de Bono’s ideas are transforming schools

Biography of Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono: Lateral thinker in despair at the wasted state of British Schools

Visit Amazon.com to purchase his book, Teach Your Child How to Think.

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