Thinking and Learning




The following paper was presented at the Fifth International Conference on Creative Thinking, organised by the University of Malta ( 21- 22 June 2004).

University of Malta (founded in 1592)


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Thinking and Learning


The results of an experiment


                                             by Giuseppe Tidona



On some occasions learning has been seen as an outcome of thinking and the process of learning has been investigated as that of hypothesis testing. For example, it has been assumed by some scholars that in acquiring a specific concept, learners primarily generate some conjectures about it and then assess them in the light of the definite occurrences of it that they can find. This conception sees learning as "explorative".

In this study an experiment was carried out to test the relationship between learning and thinking in the school environment. 

Two different reading passages were given to two classes composed of thirty 14 and 15 year old students to study in an assigned time. The extracts were the same on both occasions. At the same time pupils were informed that they would answer a number of written questions on the content later. Some sections of the passages could be interpreted either in a more literal sense (even if this move led to something not completely convincing) or in a more creative one (which would give more depth and richness of meaning to the stories). But to do the latter they had to think productively, to be mentally able to restructure the absorbed bits of information in a new fashion.  

The two classes were divided into two halves (9+9 the first class and 6+6 the second one), roughly composed of students of the same overall abilities and school results: one constituted the control group and the other the experimental one.

In the control group, pupils were simply told to think deeply and richly before answering the questions, after studying the content.

In the test group, the students were advised, instead, to use the APC "tool" (following the CoRT lessons by Dr. de Bono), which would help and guide them in finding answers.

Both groups (the controlled and the test one) had practised some of the CoRT "tools" (including the APC) weeks before. While, though, in the experimental condition learners were explicitly instructed to use the APC, in the controlled condition, as it was said before, they were only told to be as profound and prolific as possible in their thinking without any other instruction. The control group students did not even know that the other half was using de Bono's tool.  

As expected in the controlled condition both times the majority of the students gave only the most obvious and superficial answers (even the best in the two classes), by choosing to be strictly faithful to the text.

In the test condition, instead, all the subjects gave diverse and elaborate responses, which were even astonishing in their depth.

Thinking is not natural and learning is not thinking, if one means generative reflection, that is reasoning which moves from point A to B, for it. In actual reality learning is more a passive procedure than a productive one.

De Bono's tools are very useful in generative thinking, if an explicit effort is made to use them.


Part one






We can find two forms of thinking. First of all, there is simple thinking, which reflects a thing as it is, in other words, it registers it. We can define this as first level thinking. This form of thinking confines itself to observing reality and to absorbing it in its original shape. It is a type of thinking that requires a minimal effort, only a certain inspection. There is obviously the need for a clear view: one must be sure that there are no barriers which could alter the contour of things.

This mode of thinking is best exemplified by the very famous sentence by St. Thomas Aquinas: "adaequatio rei et intellectus". There is perfect correspondence between the mind and that to which the mind is directed. This happens naturally, unless one falsifies things deliberately. Reality inhabits the mind of he who knows, it is neither alien nor strange to it.

 Another sentence by St. Thomas is renowned in the same way: "cognitum est in cognoscente per modum cognoscentis". The thing known is found inside the person, even if in a specific shape, that of a concept.

There is, however, a second kind of thinking, more complex and, in many aspects, more important than that of the first type, even though it has not always been recognised as such.

 Before explaining it, it is necessary to state clearly that, in day-to-day life, situations and things are often hazy. It is not always possible to say with certainty that A is A, both because A is more than A and because one does not know whether the concept of A has been well constructed. After all, it is not so common to find a "ready" and defined object within reach to which to compare one's own mental simulacrum, itself already well outlined, in order to establish the truth.

 For these reasons, explorative or productive thinking often becomes more important: this thinking is capable of moving from A to B, of spotting unapparent links, of drawing conclusions from premises not seen at a first glance or, probably, of describing A as something different.

 We can define this as second level thinking.







Let's examine the other verb in the title briefly. What does "learning" mean? Are learning and studying, perhaps, synonymous?

It is not so.

 Learning is a continuous experience in all our lives, but the same cannot be said about studying which is a particular condition reserved to some.  Studying normally includes learning, but learning might not include studying. In other words learning is a vaster area than studying.

Bruner, Goodnow e Austin1 see learning as a by-product of thinking; the type of learning particularly examined by them is that which brings the formation of concepts. One can describe the generation of concepts as the production of sets of rules which serve the purpose of classifying objects. 

Bruner and his colleagues view learning as a particular form, first, of generation, and later, of testing of hypotheses.

The learner, according to them, normally produces some suppositions, with regard to the salient features of the concept being acquired, which he or she later verifies by carefully examining its instances traceable in the outside world.

 For example, if the concept being learned is that of "mushroom", I can soon perceive that some mushrooms are edible and others are poisonous.  But the next step, more importantly, will be that of finding the features which differentiate them.

 If I wanted for example to define the concept of "edible mushroom" exactly, I could taste a small bit of it (to be sure not to die, if poisonous), produce some hypotheses about its attributes and then test them against the instances I can find in the world. I would, in this way, discover if the "markers" established by me are good or not at defining the concept I am interested in.

The view that learning in "informal" situations can be examined as an outcome of thinking is acceptable; that this way of seeing things can be then extended to studying, as a particular form of learning, is less agreeable. In other words, the notion that study, in its canonical form of "methodical application" to books or other similar tools, is normally characterised by the generation first and the testing later of hypotheses is a less convincing conception.

Some scholars have made a distinction between the generation of hypotheses2, on the one hand, and their application, on the other. It is more probable then, that for the most part the second aspect is developed in our schools.

The same distinction can also be rephrased in terms of inductive and deductive processes: there is, without any doubt, more emphasis on the latter in the educational environment.

Finally, the same differentiation can be sketched out in terms of reasoning and thinking. Surely reasoning is more common than thinking in our schools.  

 Petter3 speaks of guided thinking and autonomous thinking. For many aspects reasoning is a form of guided thinking, led by the rules set in advance.

 One can also state, to use the terminology applied before, that reasoning is first level thinking.

 One must not forget either that in order to develop second level thinking three other factors are needed: the will to think, perseverance to reach results, and a taste for alternatives and possibilities.




Thinking and Studying



For all these reasons it is difficult to see how thinking can be the salient feature of the above-mentioned form of studying. 

In many school situations, only the most elementary type of thinking is required: it consists then simply in relating things with clarity. Thus thinking is solely "reflection", adequate mirroring in one's mind.  

The process of developing appropriate understanding amounts to this: after absorbing other people's views (which fundamentally is the substance of study), the pupil (at most) tries to map their perspectives completely, to sense their reasons. Studying then is focusing, arriving at a destination, at the same place that someone has reached before. Thinking is therefore identificatory reflection.

Thinking in its highest form should be, instead, going beyond, not arriving simply at an established point where one is expected.

Normally the most authentic thinking takes place when it is autonomous, that is when one is not guided in his or her reflection and is alone even regarding direction.

If it is so, then one must necessarily assume the responsibility for each move. True thinking is, therefore, mature. To reach this goal, though, it is necessary for pupils in the school environment to be accustomed to forming personal judgements, to acquiring a taste for them and to being proud of their individual intuitions. Reflection thus evolves from identificatory into explorative thinking.




The CoRT Lessons



What is the main worry in the typical school environment? Do teachers and students go beyond identificatory reflection? Are students capable of autonomous thinking? 

The CoRT4 lessons were developed by E. de Bono just in order to instil a taste for thinking and the aptitude for it in pupils. The lessons were arranged in the early seventies and consist of sixty educational units, grouped in six sets, each of ten lessons, to expand thinking and creativity in pupils. The lessons, suitable for students of diverse ages and abilities, should be taught for one or one and a half hours a week by a teacher who has assimilated them before. In effect, the CoRT name is an acronym which stands for Cognitive Research Trust (the research organisation within which they were composed, in Cambridge, U.K.).

The lessons, as de Bono says5, give students some useful "tools" for rendering certain mental operations visible, for making them concrete: in their absence these operations would be elusive, not well defined, imprecise, therefore carried out, most of the time, inadequately.

If a teacher told a student, for example, to be accurate while assessing a given idea, undoubtedly this would be a noble recommendation, but it would bring out poor practical results. What does it mean exactly: "You must be precise and deep in your consideration"? How could a student convert this useful advice into a concrete activity?

The process would remain really vague and pupils would not be certain how to act correctly.

If, instead, I told a student: "Do a PMI" (it is the name of a specific exercise in the CoRT lessons- see below), then everything would be clear and that demand would become at once a feasible exercise. 

The "mind tools" offered by de Bono are often composed of a chain of operations which must be implemented in the shown sequence. These activities, to be performed step by step, one after the other, help students to overcome uncertainty, especially typical of adolescents when they are to carry out something which remains on an indefinite level.

Each lesson addresses a specific thinking ability. Many "mental" activities that students are invited to perform are characterised by "nicknames" to facilitate their memorisation. These are the acronyms formed by the initials of the words used to denominate the ability under scrutiny.

PMI6 was mentioned above. In this specific instance P stands for Plus, the positive aspects of things, M for Minus, the negative sides of them, and I means Interesting, the new and interesting facets of the concept at hand (in itself neither positive nor negative yet, but which are worth both considering and developing).

If, for example the following idea were proposed7: "All seats should be taken out of buses", then one could carry out the following analysis in applying the scheme:


P (that is plus, positive aspects)


- More people can get into each bus.
- It would be easier to get on and off.
- Buses would be cheaper to make and to repair.


M (that is minus, negative aspects)


- Passengers would fall over if the bus stopped suddenly.

- Old people and disabled people would not be able to use buses.
- It would be difficult to carry shopping bags or babies.


I (that is interesting, new aspects)


-Interesting idea that could lead to two types of buses, one with and one without   seats.
- Interesting idea that the same bus would do more work.
- Interesting idea that comfort may not be so important in a bus.



This way, "mental" activities acquire identity and visibility and it is easier to train students on them.




The CoRT lessons structure



As it was said before, the corpus is made up of sixty lessons divided into six sets. The six series are composed as following. The first is called Breadth (the aim is to broaden the way pupils think); the second Organisation, whose objective is to help pupils organise thinking; the third Interaction, which deals with interactive and critical thinking; the fourth Creativity and offers some suggestions and techniques to promote creativity; the fifth is Information and Feeling, about how to obtain and evaluate information, and the last Action, which devises ways of turning thinking into action. 

It is not necessary, however, to impart all the units. It is possible to carry them out in a basic format of 20-25 hours, that is within the school year. 

I have taught the CoRT lessons repeatedly, particularly to adolescents, with very positive effects. I have also devised experiments to measure their objective efficacy. For example, in two successive school years (that is in 2000/2001 and in 2001/2002), to be more certain, I repeated the same experiment involving first classes (fourteen years old) of the Istituto Tecnico Statale Commerciale "Besta" in Ragusa (Italy).

The experimental classes, tested before and after the experiment (which consisted in teaching the First and the Fourth series of the CoRT lessons, for the entire school year, see above) got much higher scores than the control classes at the Williams test and at an ideational test. The control classes, too, had been pre- tested at the beginning of the school year and post- tested at the end of it: they were comparable to the test classes in terms of overall ability at the start, but they were not instructed on the lessons (for more information on the results, see the Italian periodical Dialogo8).

The overall results were very encouraging. The papers on the two experiments were submitted to the XI Conference on Thinking (Phoenix-USA, 2003) evaluation committee and accepted for presentation.

One of the more important "tools" offered by the CoRT lessons is APC. It forces pupils to broaden their horizons and take into consideration options otherwise ignored. The APC acronym stands for:


       A    = Alternatives

       P    = Possibilities

C    = Choices


When we think, we often have the sensation that all the available ideas, possibilities and choices are simply there in front of us and, therefore, that we can limit ourselves to examining these. Frequently, though, the answer to our problems is not constituted by the most obvious solutions: a deliberate effort and a structured attempt at looking for different options are necessary and are perhaps more adequate than those that come to mind spontaneously. To reach this goal, though, a mind "organiser" is necessary. This mind "organiser" is needed to support thinking and guide it through the different directions. After all, thinking is not natural: that which is natural is instinctive, therefore stereotyped.



Part two




The experiment



To see if studying in itself implies thinking (understood as productive thinking) the following experiment was organised. It involved two classes of the Istituto Tecnico Statale "F. Besta" in Ragusa (Italy), to which the CoRT lessons had been taught in the same manner from the beginning of the present school year (2003-2004).  

Class I C, comprising students whose average age was 14 and class II E, consisting of fifteen year olds, were divided into two halves (I C 9+9 and II E 6+6), which included pupils roughly comparable in terms of overall abilities and school results. Inside each class, half acted as test group and the other as control. To both groups, in the two classes, two reading passages were assigned to study. They were told that at the end they would receive marks (in order to simulate the most typical school situation), on the basis of their written answers to some questions, which they would be given at a later stage, at the end of the study session (20 minutes for the two passages).

 When the allotted period elapsed, the texts were withdrawn. Soon after the experimental half was invited outside to receive some particular instructions: these students were told that they simply had to use the APC tool (without it being explained again) in answering the questions. While these pupils were in the corridor, the others in the class received the recommendation that they had to think accurately and answer the questions as richly as possible: but the APC tool did not get any specific mention. It is worth reaffirming what was said before: both groups had studied APC in the same way some weeks before.

The two halves were then reunited and were assigned the same questions on the reading passages, not being possible for any of the students to exchange either information or ideas. The same procedure was followed on both occasions (on the 12/1/2004 for I C and on the 13/1/2004 for II E).

One of the texts was a historical piece (at least this was what was stated) by Plutarch on Alexander the Great. The other one was, instead, a passage allegedly taken from a science fiction story, by an Italian writer, Giorgio Corradini: in actual fact, both texts had been arranged in the appropriate style by the author of the present research. 

Both texts are related below.




I text


Alexander the Great expedition 


Alexander the great crossed the Hellespont, leading an Army trained for battle composed of Thracians, Macedonians, Illyrians, and Greeks (but there were no Spartans, or at least there were very few from that town, seeing as they had withdrawn into fruitless isolation, a telling sign of their decadence): 4 by 10,000 men composed it and all of them were determined to defeat the Persian Army. Alexander the Great often took part in the action on the battle-front, instilling courage in his soldiers. The undertaking appeared as an epic endeavour from the start, given the foreseeable difficulties that they would surely run into. But his Army was well trained and ready for every eventuality. (Plutarch)



II text


The Kebola planet


That poor soldier stood alone, there outside, in the cold and in the rain. He was 1,000 light-years from Earth and just at that moment he was thinking of his loved ones who, in the warmth of a comfortably heated home, were having dinner. Of course at that time down there it was a holiday, the one you most look forward to and the dearest of all: Christmas! But he could not take part in the joy and the serenity of that special gathering, or in the friendly talk of his family. He was instead, on the planet of Kebola, four times bigger than Earth, in a desolate environment, in dim, ash coloured light, rich in sulphur vapours. He had not studied much: he had been very bad at school and had left it early. So he could not aspire to a higher status either. He and his fellow soldiers had come from the distant Earth as conquerors and now had to protect themselves from probable counterattacks. They had the task of spreading terrestrial civilisation, this at least was what they had been told by their superiors. Gravity, that gravity though, made everything unbearable! Air was heavy to breathe: therefore the reason why even the slightest movement was a terrible pain had seemed clear to the soldier. "Ah if the air were purer and more invigorating, I could at least go jogging here around the base, to stretch my legs and loosen my muscles!" he said to himself. And in his mind he went back to the bracing air of home and to how for this reason he could move with agility there.

His companion James, on planet Kebola with him, listened to his reflections: James (who had been good at school and had got a good education) treated him as if he was ignorant. So they had not formed a real friendship. 

Now the winter climate was making their guard duty at the base camp unbearable. (Giorgio Corradini)





  The questions were partly "factual", that is pupils were invited to remember and relate some data, which was contained in the two texts: and this, obviously, concerned the simplest questions. But there were also other questions that required an effort of a different, more "elaborative" nature (supposing that students were capable of this!).

In the instance of the first text, the "factual" question was: "How did Alexander the Great behave in battle?". To answer it, students had to simply recall the implied portion of the text: after all information about it was given directly by "Plutarch". 

The second question - still relating to the first text- was at that point more engaging, because an effort of "transforming" reflection was required in order to answer it in a meaningful and logical way. The question was: "How many soldiers did Alexander the Great have at his disposal?".

 To meet this request, one needed to take into account a section of the text, which was undoubtedly puzzling. In fact, it affirms that the Army was made of 4 by 10,000 soldiers, which is unquestionably a curious way of relating an overall quantity.

 This manner of presenting the information could possibly make students think either of the marching formation of the Army or of the contribution given by the various peoples, but if one ponders over the matter, none of these suppositions are really convincing. 

 To get out of trouble, anyway, the most persuasive mode was that of carrying out the multiplication and communicating the total. To answer in this way, though, students had to make a minimal effort to think "productively". The alternative would have been that of relating the information in the same way (4 by 10,000), namely that of taking the text literally, thereby eliminating the thinking process.      

 As for the second text, the "factual" question (which, in other words, demanded only recalling effort) was: "Why had they moved from Earth to the Kebola planet?"

 The question which, instead, could be answered either in an almost "obvious" manner, without making the effort to think by keeping to what was clearly stated in the text, or in a richer way, linking distant elements in the passage, was: "Why does James treat the soldier as an ignorant person?".  The most predictable answer was that James was more cultured because he did better at school: thus, he was rather big-headed.

 But another response was possible, if students were only capable of connecting far away elements of the text. The soldier attributed every difficulty in movement to the "heaviness" of air, so to speak. But somewhere else it is said that on the Kebola planet gravity was four times greater than on Earth: therefore he is only expressing an ingenuous vision, which is also a common prejudice among adolescents, notwithstanding the fact that they have "formally" studied the phenomenon in Science several times over the years9.

The "heaviness" and difficulty in movement are not due to air but to gravity. Therefore it is more probable that James' severe opinion is engendered by this persistent, mistaken attribution of the soldier rather than by the title of study.  To come to this conclusion an effort to think to a certain degree was undoubtedly necessary, considering that pupils must avoid the trap represented by the "natural", naive conception, always present in them, in spite of the attempts of Science teachers to overcome it.

One can also state that, given the above-mentioned situation, the generative effort was inferior in the first instance but much greater in the second text.   




Hypothesis Formulation



The starting hypothesis was that control group students, at least the great majority of them, despite the written and oral recommendations for beginning to respond only after thinking deeply and richly, would answer the two "reflective" questions in the most obvious way. And this would happen even if control group pupils demonstrated that they had studied well by relating correct data with regard to the "factual" questions: almost as if second level thinking were not implied in "normal" study. 

The supposition was still that test students (all of them) who, instead, had been explicitly invited to use those mind tools that can guide productive thinking, in this instance de Bono's APC, would articulate more convincing answers, going beyond what was indicated above as "obvious". 

The results are shown here in the following tables.




 Table I


 I Text


    I C 


    Test Group  (9 students)   


  Control Group (9 students)       


Only "obvious" answer   (4x10,00)


(40,000, etc.)


Only "obvious" answer (4x10,00)


(40,000, etc.)

Number of students



Number of students 





    Test Group  (6 students)   


  Control Group (6 students)       


Only "obvious" answer   (4x10,00)


(40,000, etc.)


Only "obvious" answer (4x10,00)


(40,000, etc.)

Number of students 



Number of students  





Note: In the case of the first text, in some of the answers given by the two test groups, in addition to "40,000", there were unexpected responses like: "There would be 40,000 of them, but I am sure that to this number, one must add some of the prisoners captured during the expedition and forced to fight according to the ancient custom"; or "Many, countless, seeing as he was loved by his men, for Alexander was always among them"; or, "If one is allowed to play with numbers, we can then say: 20,000+20,000 or 30,000+10,000, etc!"; and finally "Enough to win so many battles".  

In both control groups the "obvious" answer was given by some students considered by their teachers as the brightest!


 Table II


II text


    I C


   Test Group  (9 students)      Control Group (9 students)   

Only "obvious" answer (the soldier didn't study at school)  

"Generative" answer  (the soldier didn't understand things, the reasons for the "heaviness" of air, gravity, etc.)



Only "obvious" answer (the soldier didn't study at school)  

"Generative" answer  (the soldier didn't understand things, the reasons for the "heaviness" of air, gravity, etc.)

Number of students 

0 9

Number of students 

9 0




   Test Group  (6 students)      Control Group (6 students)   

Only "obvious" answer (the soldier didn't study at school)  

"Generative" answer  (the soldier didn't understand things, the reasons for the "heaviness" of air, gravity, etc.)



Only "obvious" answer (the soldier didn't study at school)  

"Generative" answer  (the soldier didn't understand things, the reasons for the "heaviness" of air, gravity, etc.)

Number of students 

0 6

Number of students 

5 1


Note: in the two test groups, apart from generic, but not "obvious" answers like: " James treated him badly because the soldier didn't understand how things were there"; or "He treated him badly because the soldier didn't understand the difference in life between Kebola and Earth", it was possible to find very specific responses. Two pupils, one from I C and one from II E, were able, with considerable insight, to outline the mistaken attribution to air instead of the Kebola mass, with regard to the "heaviness" in movement, as the cause of James' opinion about the soldier who was considered to be "an ignorant person".   

Among the 15 control groups students none were able to reach this conclusion (due to one of the most entrenched and difficult prejudices to eradicate in adolescents, as was said before). All control group students gave only the most "obvious" answer (even the brightest ones), except one girl who added "the soldier had not studied, thus he did not understand how things were". The current interpretation in the control groups was, instead, that it was only a matter of conceitedness! 

Note on the two tables: the χ square test is, in any case, very significant **, p<0.001, as one can already infer on a first reading. 




A Specification



In what measure is it possible to state that pupils who answered in the least "obvious" manner have for this reason reached a deep comprehension of the text10? Is productive, second level thinking similar perhaps to deep understanding?

Deep comprehension can be defined as such, first of all because it is able to connect concepts with meanings already present in the learner's mind. 

If for deep comprehension we mean only this it is still what I defined as first level thinking. Yes, there is linkage with what is personal inside the subject; there is a connection with the net of subjective meanings, but we remain at the textual level. In other words, we are confined to the "superficial" layout of the text and to the lines of sense that it seems to suggest.

What is required by the two "thinking" questions is not, though, first level comprehension, because one must start a "movement": The answerer is being asked for "productivity" with regard to the text, in other words, to do something that, logically speaking, is not necessary, because meaning is available there and one could declare oneself pleased with it!

A lateral thinking effort, as de Bono would say11, is indispensable instead, to avoid the "surface plot trap" and to link the elements in the passage in an unusual manner.

Deep comprehension can certainly be understood also in this last manner, that is as the ability to succeed in establishing second level connections- in other words, in going beyond the textual and personal planes to the productive one- but in my opinion this is already generative thinking because it implies an attempt to restructure the field. 

This comprehension is not usually included in current learning, even in the brightest students.

On the other side no one can deny that second level thinking is "thinking" in the true sense of the word, to which to commit oneself: it makes mankind what it is, assuring its genuine progress.







The results of this experiment, certainly centring only on two classes of adolescents, confirm the initial hypothesis. They seem to point out that learning in a typical school situation is, in good measure, a distinct process from thinking.

Additional evidence was provided the following day to that in which the experiments were done.

To students of both classes a new task was given, which was simpler this time.

The assignment was: "List all the verbs of which the word 'to study' reminds you".

In II E the 5 most chosen verbs (in order of frequency) were to memorise, to be bored (!), to understand, to learn, to remember; in I C (in the same order) to read, to learn, to repeat, to memorise, to understand.

In both cases the verb "to think" was the least cited of all.

As we can see, studying is memorising, remembering, repeating, at most understanding, which is, though, trying, in short, to spot the author's point of view. Thus respect for the text prevails over any other consideration of a personal and "reflective" nature (as the first and the second reading passage in the experiment have briefly demonstrated: let us think of the many students in the control group who with regard to the text on Alexander the Great chose the annotation 4 by 10,000, even if it was more than perplexing).

A generic appeal to students is not enough to lead them to true thinking, though: it does not have any practical effect. 

The use of mind tools, like those offered by the de Bono's CoRT lessons (among which there is APC), is more effective because they can guide and organise the thinking efforts in a fruitful manner. But it is necessary to apply them deliberately,  that is they should be evoked explicitly in order for them to produce considerable effects.


Giuseppe Tidona

Ragusa, May 2004 


1 See Bruner,J., Goodnow, J.J., & Austin, G.A., A Study of Thinking, New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1956.

2 Nickerson, R., S., Perkins, D., Smith E., The Teaching of Thinking, Hillsdale, New Jersey, Lawrence Erlabaum Associates, 1985, p. 50.

3 See Petter, G., La mente efficiente, Firenze, Giunti, 2002.

4 E. de Bono, CoRT Thinking, Blandford, Dorset, Direct Education Services Limited, 1973-1975; see also de Bono, CoRT Thinking Program. Workcards and Teacher's Notes. Chicago, Science Research Associates, 1987.

5 Ibid., see the section Philosophy and Background to the CoRT Lessons.

6 Ibid., see the section CoRT 1.

7 Ibid., see the section CoRT 1.

8 See, E' possibile migliorare la creatività e la riflessività dei ragazzi?, in Dialogo, anno XXVI, n.7, October 2001, Modica (Italy), pp 1-9, and Riflessività e creatività a scuola in Dialogo, anno XXVII, n. 7, October 2002, Modica (Italy), pp.7-8.

9 On adolescents' prejudices, see my article, Comprensione e competenze, in Dialogo, anno XXV, n. 6, June 2000, Modica (Italy), p.4.

10 On deep comprehension, see Marton, F., & Saljo, R., On qualitative differences in learning- I: Outcome and process, in British Journal of Educational Psychology, 1976, 46, pp. 4-11 and On qualitative differences in learning- II: Outcome as a function of the learner's conception of the task in British Journal of Educational Psychology, 1976, 46, pp. 115-27.

11 See, E. de Bono, Lateral Thinking, N.Y., Harper & Row, 1970.


Appendice e Tabelle dei Risultati Esperimento (Download Word Document, 196 k)


Prof. Giuseppe Tidona e-mail:

 Prof. G.Tidona's other essays:


Insegnare e apprendere (ottobre 2003)

Studenti capaci e studenti incapaci (maggio 2003)

    Il tema: quali metodiche per aiutare gli studenti nello sviluppo di idee? (gennaio 2003)

  Riflessività e creatività a scuola: le lezioni Co.R.T., un secondo esperimento. (settembre 2002)

Competenze e ... sesso (gennaio 2002)

E' possibile migliorare la creatività e la riflessività dei ragazzi? (settembre 2001)



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