I’ve been reading Edward De Bono’s “Teach your Child How to Think” and although I don’t get on with all of De Bono’s books, this one is a gem. It takes you through the basics of De Bono’s ideas and really starts from a zoomed out perspective on what it means to lay the foundations for understanding thinking and how you go about helping people to think in new ways.

The book has made me realise that what we do for our clients is often to help them to think differently, to try out ‘desgn thinking’. De Bono talks about how intelligence is not enough, cleverness is not enough, we must become aware of the different types of thinking that we are capable of, and practice those that we are not proficient at yet.

Traditional thinking, he argues, is all too reliant on critical thinking, argument, analysis and logic. These are only hal the picture. To compliment critical thinking we need creative thinking; along with argument we need exploration; in addition to analysis we need design thinking; and as well as logical thinking we need perceptive thinking.

How to teach thinking

Much teaching in classrooms, and therefore often in workshops is reactive thinking. This is where you react to what is put in front of you. It doesn’t create self-managing individuals, or encourage proactivity. I think this is why art college probably feels so unstructered and unsupported for students. The other approach is pro-active thinking, and involves encouraging people to get out and do things, and make things happen. Operacy is what De Bono calls it, generative and creative thinking.

One of the most important lessons he has for teaching children to think is the idea of ‘teach from the centre, not from the boundary’. Boundary teaching is when you correct your child and it becomes a right or wrong situation. Centered teaching is when you change the task and move on.