When it comes to developing critical thinking skills as a student athlete, all you need to do is put your thinking cap(s) on. Well, in this case, Hats. Research shows the importance of developing critical thinking skills both on and off the field. But did you know there is a proven method that can help you direct your thoughts? The Six Thinking Hats® enables critical thinkers to focus on one of the six directions brains inevitably turn when considering a situation.
The big picture hat. What is the subject? What is the goal? When considering a problem and solution, it is best to be goal oriented from the get go. Some refer to this as starting at the end result and then working backwards.
The White Hat is the analyst role. It allows you to consider the information you know, the information you need, and the ways in which you can obtain any additional facts that you need. This is a great second step to use when presented with a problem.
The Black Hat represents the doubting side. It spots the difficulties and potential pitfalls of a plan. While this Hat is arguably the most important, it can be useless and even damaging when not used in conjunction with the others.
The Yellow Hat represents optimism. It’s the sunny side of the problem – the best case scenario. It requires the critical thinker to find benefit and value in particular solutions. Because of human tendency to worry and doubt, it is more difficult to wear the Yellow Hat at than the Black Hat.
Seeing red? The Red Hat represents strong emotions. This can be the fears, likes, dislikes, hunches and intuitions regarding a scenario. Recognizing these emotions and the potential bias this hat can create allows you to isolate these feelings and think more efficiently.
Let’s get creative! The best thinkers use creativity to find solutions that work for everyone. Encourage your brain to process alternatives and new ideas. This hat doesn’t need to be logical.
Wear Many Hats
Ever heard the expression, “The best wear many hats?” As a critical thinker, this doesn’t mean you have your finger in every pot. It means you think through every situation using the facets described above. After you’ve explored the Six Hat Method, delve deeper by using this in your thought process in the above specified order.
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