Implementing “Six thinking hats” system by Edward de bono into teaching and learning english for specific purposes for students of philology at Hanoi National University of Education

Abstract. This article introduces how and why the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ system of Edward de Bono, which makes use of lateral thinking, parallel thinking and critical thinking, is utilized as the set of tools for teaching and learning English for Special Purpose (ESP) at the Philology Faculty of Hanoi National University of Education (H.N.U.E.). This study of the use of ‘Six Thinking Hats’ system was carried out in three steps: 1)-Designing the questionnaire to be given to 41 students of Philology at H.N.U.E. who were taking an ESP course. The questions sought to identify the students’ attitude and desires when taking the ESP course, evaluate the piloted syllabus and discover the most effective assessment method; 2)-Analyzing the data collected; 3)- Revising the syllabus and the piloted textbook.

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JOURNAL OF SCIENCE OF HNUE Interdisciplinary Science, 2014, Vol. 59, No. 5, pp. 114-121 This paper is available online at IMPLEMENTING “SIX THINKING HATS” SYSTEM BY EDWARD DE BONO INTO TEACHING AND LEARNING ENGLISH FOR SPECIFIC PURPOSES FOR STUDENTS OF PHILOLOGY AT HANOI NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF EDUCATION Do Thi Phi Nga Faculty of English, Hanoi National University of Education Abstract. This article introduces how and why the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ system of Edward de Bono, which makes use of lateral thinking, parallel thinking and critical thinking, is utilized as the set of tools for teaching and learning English for Special Purpose (ESP) at the Philology Faculty of Hanoi National University of Education (H.N.U.E.). This study of the use of ‘Six Thinking Hats’ system was carried out in three steps: 1)-Designing the questionnaire to be given to 41 students of Philology at H.N.U.E. who were taking an ESP course. The questions sought to identify the students’ attitude and desires when taking the ESP course, evaluate the piloted syllabus and discover the most effective assessment method; 2)-Analyzing the data collected; 3)- Revising the syllabus and the piloted textbook. Keywords: Six Thinking Hats, Edward de Bono, Teaching and Learning English, Special Purpose, Students of Philology. 1. Introduction Why is ‘Six Thinking Hats’ of Dr. Edward de Bono an excellent choice? First, the “Six Thinking Hats” of Dr. Edward de Bono is a system based on how the human brain functions when thinking and it enables the author to design an ESP course which meets all the needs for the requirements of the kind [3, 4, 5]. Six colors, white, red, black, green, yellow and blue, are used to symbolically divide human thinking into six functions, that of information gathering, emotion, negative judgment, positive judgment, creativity, and self-reflection respectively. This system identifies basic types of thinking, and thanks to this system the process of systematic teaching and learning can go well. Second, this system encourages teachers to change hats when designing the syllabus and presenting students with activities that correspond to the learning moment in order to obtain the best results. Students are encouraged to use logical and critical thinking throughout the learning process to become independent and critical thinkers. Received January 25, 2014. Accepted June 9, 2014. Contact Do Thi Phi Nga, e-mail address: phingadodhsp@gmail.com 114 Implementing “Six Thinking Hats” system by Edward de Bono into Teaching and Learning... 2. Contents 2.1. Theoretical background The ’Six Thinking Hats’ system (also known as ‘Six Hats’, ‘Six Thinking Hats, and ‘The de Bono Hats’) is a thinking tool that was designed to be used in group discussion to encourage individual thinking. When combined with parallel thinking, it provides a means for group members to think together more effectively, and a means to plan thinking processes in a detailed and cohesive way” [3, 4, 5]. Dr. de Bono’s method is regarded as a framework for a way of thinking that can incorporate lateral thinking. In ‘Six Hats’, each color hat has its own value in the system but is not the dominant one. In fact, the six different colored hats represent six different stages of thinking in the human brain. Source: The basic concepts of lateral thinking, parallel thinking and critical thinking, and the relationship between them. In [3], new concepts of lateral thinking, parallel thinking, and critical thinking were coined by Edward de Bono. Lateral thinking “is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable when using only traditional step-by-step logic.” Parallel thinking, described by Edward de Bono as a constructive alternative to "adversarial thinking", involves debate, and in general, the approach the GG3 (Greek gang of three) has been known to advocate [4]. Critical Thinking “Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning or communication, used as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend the subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.” The three basic concepts of critical thinking, parallel thinking and lateral thinking are closely interrelated and make the thinkers smarter and able to solve their problem more intelligently and systematically [1, 2, 6]. 2.2. The process of implementing the ‘six thinking hats’ system when teaching and learning ESP at HNUE The implication of making use of the "Six Thinking Hats” system when teaching ESP to students of philology at HNUE has been divided into 3 minor steps and throughout the completion of the study all six hats are worn at different times in order to achieve 115 Do Thi Phi Nga maximum reliability. 2.2.1. Step 1-Designing the questionnaire The questionnaire designed and given to 41 students of 60 and 61 courses of Faculty of Philology at HNUE consists of 12 questions that can be divided into three parts: 1)Identifying students’ attitude and desires when taking the ESP course (Questions 1-6); 2) Evaluating the piloted syllabus (Questions 7-10) and 3) Finding the most effective assessment method (Questions 11-12). 2.2.2. Step 2- Analyzing the data collected a) Identifying students’ attitudes and desires when taking the ESP course (Questions 1-6) Figure 1. How the ESP course should be rated It was interesting to discover that the non-English majors, 39 of the 41 students who filled out the questionnaire, indicated that they feel that the ESP out course is necessary or very necessary. Question 2: How long (how many credits earned) do you think the ESP course should be? Most of the students (46%) thought that the ESP course should be a 4-credit course, 20% thought it should be a 3-credit course, 29% thought it should be a 2-credit course, and 5% thought it should be a 1-credit course. The findings show that 78% of the students prefer a class size of 20 students and one also thinks that this is the ideal language class size. Three students would prefer an ESP class of 25 students, 4 preferred a class size of 15-20 students and one student liked to be in a class of 35 students (7.3%, 9.7%, and 2.4% respectively). Figure 2. The most effective class size 116 Implementing “Six Thinking Hats” system by Edward de Bono into Teaching and Learning... Question 4: What teaching devices should be available in the classroom to make ESP lessons most effective? It seems a big desire that the class needs a lot of devices for learning and teaching. Most wanted a projector (46.3%) then a stereo systemwith a camera and recorder (19.5%), and one student wanted to see a microphone, loudspeakers or amplifiers in the classroom. Question 5: To obtain the best learning results, what should the students be required to do and do voluntarily? Students were allowed to choose one of three answers: 1) make an active contribution (78%), 2) make a limited contribution in class (12.1) and 3) passively absorb information (11%) Three of the students (7.3%) said that they’d like to spend more time playing games in the classroom. Question 6:What did you expect to gain from the ESP course? Figure 3. The students’ expectations before the ESP course Almost half of the students hoped that by taking the ESP course their ability in the four basic language skills would improve and their vocabulary would be expanded. About a quarter of the students (26.8%) hoped to improve their English language skills in general and also improve their problem solving skills. The figure of 26.8% is not high but it makes the author so happy as this is the most expected answer because teaching is the art of teaching students how to think. b) Evaluating the piloted syllabus (Questions 7-10) Knowing the students’ point of view and expectations regarding the ESP course helps the author and her colleagues design and teach the piloted ESP textbook making use of the ‘Six Thinking Hats’ system. After teaching the course, they did revise the syllabus and the textbook to make improvements. Question 7: Do teachers need to give students a pre-course test in order to compile and adjust the syllabus and textbook? When philology students were given a pre-course test, teachers could discover what students know. Added to what they want from the course, teachers can then adjust the ESP course accordingly. Nearly one third of the students thought that the pre-course test is necessary, and most (65.85%) thought that this pre-course test should be a part of their course grade. One student thought that a pre-test is not necessary. Question 8: How do you rate the topics in the piloted ESP course? In order to 117 Do Thi Phi Nga find out whether the students thought that changes should be made to in the topics of the course, question 8 was asked of the students and a full 83% of the students found it to be OK or good. Seven out of the 41 students did not like the piloted course book. The material development process should be looked at in order to make necessary changes. Question 9: How would you rate the ESP topics in this course? It was seen that 51.2 % liked the group and pair discussion activities and 48.7% liked the English-Vietnamese and Vietnamese-English translation exercises. Less than half, 41.46% indicated that that the improvisation activity does encourage philology students to develop creativity as well as independent thinking. Question 10: Which of the ESP course activities did you like ? Figure 4. The most favored activities provided in the ESP course Developing critical thinking, parallel thinking and lateral thinking are three activities that are of great importance because philology majors need to be able express their views and put their inner thoughts into writing. It should be noted that the students taking the ESP course are interested in improvisation activities and using critical thinking in activities shown in the last Table. c) Finding an effective assessment method (Questions 11-12) Question 11: How do you rate the current on-going assessment method that incorporates attendance, mid-term tests and an end-of-term presentation? Evaluating a course requires the assessment from the learners, and there is a trend to have HNUE students make assessments. Philology students indicate that they were satisfied with this assessment method with more than 92% approving it with 3 students (7.3%) expressing displeasure. Question 12: What kind of end-of-course exam should be given for the ESP course? Findings indicate that students like being given translation exams that test the content of their major ( 45.4% for C 60 and 36.5% for C 61). It is interesting to receive the noticeable differences between the two courses of students in that while C 60 students prefer the traditional assessment method of exam with speaking, reading, writing, and translation skills (36.3%) , the figure for the same category declines sharply to the choice that only 1 out of the 19 students (5.2%) in the C 61 class prefer an exam that tests their speaking, reading, writing and examination skills, more than one-third (36.3%) of the students in the C 60 class do welcome this type of examination. Only 18.8% of the students of the previous year wanted to take the presentation part of the end-of-course 118 Implementing “Six Thinking Hats” system by Edward de Bono into Teaching and Learning... exam while 47.3% of the students of C 61 want to take it. With the data that have been collected, the author can make adjustments to the syllabus and activity design and create more suitable kinds of exercises. Figure 5. The best option for End-of-course Exam 2.2.3. Step 3- Revising the syllabus and piloted textbook An analysis of the findings enables the author and her colleagues to make adjustment and improve the syllabus and pilot textbook for the Philology students who are taking ESP courses. The syllabus has been revised and now includes the following 6 topics that provide essential background information which includes definitions and a listing of the main types of literature and their components. Topic 1: What is Literature - Showing a general overview of literature. Topic 2: Book Review - Guiding students as to what should be included in a book review from a literary critic’s viewpoint. Topic 3: Short Stories - Getting to know this type of literary writing. Topic 4: Novels - Helping students create various types of prose writing. Topic 5: Drama - Understanding the art of telling a story using both speech and action. Topic 6: Poetry - Emphasizing the use of sounds and stress patterns. The syllabus has also added activities for the students to develop their creativity via the uniform format for each topic, including the basic language skills of reading, speaking writing and translation. The activities have been designed to help students get involved to develop their thinking.When working in pairs or groups for example, students can develop their critical thinking when discussing the questions provided in the ‘After you read’ part, Topic 1: After you read Work in groups of four and discuss the questions 1- In your opinion, what is the origin of literature? Why did our great-grandfathers create literature? 2- What is the first form of literature? What is a fabliaux? What is a bestiary? Why do they come in existence? 3- What are the differences between prose and 119 Do Thi Phi Nga poetry? 4-Why are works of prose fiction classified into many kinds? Exemplify one work of each type. 5- Do you think that modern technology can change our attitude towards the way literary works are created and produced? When reading the poem provided, students are given the opportunity to generate new ideas in the activity below: Read the poem carefully and answer the questions He broke my heart Can you guess the title of the poem? Every piece, shattered What is the characteristic of this kind of poem? All I wanted was his love ..................................................................... Real, as he promised ..................................................................... True, as mine for him Can you create your own poem with the title: LOVEor HATE? But he walked away ..................................................................... Right in the middle of paradise ..................................................................... Every beat of my heart ..................................................................... Aches for his love ..................................................................... Keeping the flame aglow ..................................................................... I will wait by the light ..................................................................... Never losing the hope ..................................................................... God will send him back to me ..................................................................... 3. Conclusions This study has been carried out to show how Edward de Bobo’s ‘Six Thinking Hats’ could be used referring to data obtained from the survey questionnaire. From the findings in the study, the author has seen that the efficient set of tools which has been in use has provided the class teachers with appropriate guidance from the start. This set of tools may be listed as follows: + Planning for correct action. + Giving correct expectations and predictions. + Using different hats at different times to make the lessons more effective with various activities. + Encouraging students to engage in critical thinking, lateral thinking and parallel thinking. + Developing independent thinkers. However, this study has also pointed out problems which have not yet been resolved. Some of these are as follows: + ESP course topics do not require problem-solving skills. + Activities are out-dated. 120 Implementing “Six Thinking Hats” system by Edward de Bono into Teaching and Learning... + Assessment of the end-of-course exam is ineffective. + Student need lessons and activities that will build confidence, increase critical thinking and help students reach their potential. REFERENCES [1] Carr, K., 1990. How can we teach critical thinking? ERIC Digest. (ERIC NO.: ED326304). Retrieved February 1993. [2] Chance, P., 1986. Thinking in the classroom: A survey of programs. New York: Teachers College, Columbia University. [3] De Bono, E., 1967. The Use of Lateral Thinking. ISBN 0-14-013788-2, [4] De Bono, E., 1970. Lateral thinking: creativity step by step. Harper & Row. pp. 300. ISBN 0-14-021978-1. [5] De Bono, E. Parallel thinking: from Socratic thinking to de Bono thinking. Viking 1994 ISBN 0-670-85126-4, page 36–38 [6] Citation: Huitt, W., 1998. Critical thinking: An overview. Educational Psychology Interactive. Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University. [7] Huitt, W., 1992. Problem solving and decision making: Consideration of individual differences using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Journal of Psychological Type, 24, 33-44. Retrieved February 1993, from [8] Lipman, M., 1995. Critical thinking - what can it be? In A. Ornstein & L. Behar (Eds.) Contemporary issues in curriculum (pp. 145-152).Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. [9] Scriven, M., & Paul, R., 1992, November. Critical thinking defined. Handout given at Critical Thinking Conference, Atlanta, GA. 121
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