Since 1995, a unique feature of the School of Thinking is that the students–as individuals and as a body–are also part of the faculty.

In response to the SOT daily feedback questions (DFQs) students around the world voluntarily contribute many thousands of comments on the SOT lessons and articles. Many insights, edits, suggestions, corrections and improvements result from this ongoing interactive and daily collaborative effort.

SOT students range widely from farmers, truck-drivers and retirees to young school students, teachers, parents, scholars and Nobel scientists to knowledge-workers in media, business, sport, politics and the arts, and from more than 50 countries worldwide.

As a result of all this collaborative work over the past 16 years, the SOT instruction model has evolved to become a very robust and effective training method for transferring metacognitive skills online, pro-bono, and at a distance.

In 2001, Wikipedia launched a similar model of an online encyclopedia where the readers also become the writers. This is also an example of a voluntary and collaborative non-profit online model which has proven to be very effective.




In 2008 SOT established the Roll of Thinking Instructors. Since then, all SOT Thinking Instructors (TISOT) have been listed on this Roll and also, where records permitted, prior to 2008. Names have been ordered according to date of creation.

SOT Members are qualified to receive the TISOT Certificate who have either attended two live masterclasses with Michael (4-hours), or who have completed all 72 lessons of these two training programs:

1. BCT: Beyond Critical Thinking
2. L-MHG: Advanced Leadership Training.

These SOT members from schools, businesses, government and families in 45 countries around the world have qualified and received their TISOT Certificate. Here is the School of Thinking Roll of Thinking Instructors:


Julie Hutchin

Teacher Lily Liu Liqing

Mohemmad Reyaz

Jack Maurice

Jonaku MetuAssalol

Dr Sarfraz Akram Mohammad

Iwuji Friday Chukwudinma

McLytton N. Clever

Kathryn Hurr

Shelley Cox

Héctor Cartagena



Sophia Chao

Arthur Waldock

Dr Richard Rosenbloom

Neluka Ariyawansa

Roberta Horrobin

Kirsten Murphy

Alana Nott

Rebecca Pike

Louise Price

Mel Ranieri

Alison Reid

Chris Riley

Sarah Rosenweg

Melinda Sanders

Rebecca Saunders

Sue Siegmaier

Paul Simpson

Charmaine Sinclair

Helen Singh

Candice Skinner

Peter Smith

Judith Spivak

Alicenne Stevens

Jody Stirling

Christina Tolias

Marlowe Torres

Hoang Vu

Emma Walker

Tania Whitehead

Justine Wickham

Helen Woodward

Hana Zappner

Belinda Belfrage

Ildi Citler

Erica Clague

Marcia Coghlan

Katrina Davey

Marcia Davis

Deanna de Sousa

Anna Dinneen

Kerry Dundas

Judy Farrugia

Florence Fournier

Susannah Gardner

John Giannopoulos

Gary Grach

Sharyn Hadlow

Don Heath

Glenis Heath

Phil Hosking

Barbara Jolly

Samantha Kenney

Michelle LeTisser

Paula McBain

Alison McBeth

Sarah McKenzie

Jacquie McKinnon

Darlene Mawson-Thompson

Vasanthi Michael

Len Borrow

Jeannene Bradbury

Cheryl Broderick

Mike Biggs

Felicity Urquhart

Christine Thibou

Sally Wall

Deborah Pettigrew

Alison Stucas-Norman

Greg Mason

Trudy Thompson

Jean McQuarie

Jacqueline Sidaway

Polly Flanagan SISOT

Fiona Quinn

Judi Thompson

Marcus Roberts

Paula Donnelly

Claire Johns

Kate Morrison

Jules Aldous

Rob Braby

Julie Green

Marion Piper

Sarah-Jane Mulcahy

Chris Zielinski

Yuki Banks-Smith

Frank Paton

Andrew Williams

Chris Stafford

Graeme McLeod

Dr David Wood

Kevin Gabriel


Baard Røsvik

Rob Wallace

Dr R Eswaran

Muyiwa Bigg Ogunyemi

Dr Gopi Nath Ghosh

Abdul Enoch Kokori

Karl Xu

Howard Feight

Ethann Castell

Neville Dean

Richard Corry

Brett Gilbee

Lizette Gradidge

Ockert Moller

Steve Singleton

Frankie Eck

Ross Kennedy

Janine Howlett

Erik K. Dzordzordzi

Ron Barnhart

Barry Sheales

Garry Whatling

Isla Gillespie

Susan Honeyman

David Stuart

Tim Yarbrough

Linda Carroll

Silva Sheibenbogen

Matthew Jordan

Mark Nicholls

Patsy Harcourt-Cooze

Clive Smith-Shaw

Chris Lynch

Tara Horner

Rosalind Edgar

Voight Holgar

Teresa Holgar

Monika Holgar

Carl Gribble

Tara Horner

Chris Lynch

Peter Chaly

Terry Cronin

Mike Kilshaw

Pam Kilshaw

Victoria Menzies

Rachael Pickup

Kieu Tran

Victoria Parker

Patrick Connolly

Sinclair McLay

Mark Hopgood

Peter Babbage

Dheemant P R Ambedkar

Darlene Sartore

Dragan Simic

Cheryl Sanders

Dr Benjamin Paul Ford

Maria Jaciow

Saira Singh

Andrew Falkland Brown

Jennie Kennedy

Blair Richardson

Michele Nolan

Janet Gold

Rama Fakhoury

Melinda Kinniburgh

Andrew James

Bev Park

Katrina Spicer

Rhonda Luxton

Mary Cooper

Helen Macdonald

Fiona Pisani

Vas Gavrilos

Delia Cioban

Natasha Menidis

Elizabeth Lowerson

Denise Purss

Patricia Hyatt

Garry Martin

Maria Karakostas

Ian James

Sue Palmer

Lis Spencer

Pat Miller

Steven Leder

Fiona Barrie

Maria Spice

Rorine Braganza

Maria Kolmar

Deidre Keane

Dexter Siriwardene

Richard Lloyd

Susan Macintosh

Ben Ford

Frankie Eck

Harvey Robson

Janet Blake

Linda Wickman

Rabin Bangaar

Paul Henley

Lawrence Lee

Debbie Ball

Katherine Loft

Deb Stephenson

Jane Metcalfe

Judi Marshall

Peter Roberts

Liz Jeans

Robyn Hyatt

Lynda Corr

Panchasheelprabha P Ambedkar

Krishna Tunga

Eilleen Shields

George Kruszewski

Peter Wright

Paul Sheahan

Chris Bradtke

Polly Flanagan

Achikoch Kon

Ilga Haase

Hector-Jack Cheung

Tom Phillips

Stephen Field

Tom Hardham

Nutthadech Banditakkarakul

John Linacre

Martina Young

Deanna Bates

Kidison Testaye

Bella Katz

Matthew Greenwood

Jesse Richardson

Olivia Langdon

Hannah Larsen

Charlotte Swinburn

Jennifer Worthing

Laura Maile

Sam Batters

Sean Daley

Renee Azzopardi

Anne Fusco

Chris Butler

Bryan M Wezwick

Gena Cone

Dan Dunne

Jerry Wolf

Barbara Janoff

Alisia Mackie

Winfield Oldham

Jay Purvis

Roberta Rinaldo

Roy Vickery

Stan Tannen

Edward Andrews

Dr Robert Friedman

Syeus Mottel

Marshal Ostrow

Sally Ostrow

Dr Martha Weisman

Robert Bernstein

Pat McClure

June Christensen

Ray Vanderslice

Paul Schurr

Elliot Seif

Bob Stuart

Subbiah Sankaran

Miles Grenadier

David Thursdale

Dr Paul MacCready Jr

Gregg Churchill

Harvey Castro

Dr Charles E Smith

Kenneth Thomas

Jane Barrow

Richard Ruth

Peter Tse

Madeline Klein

Ernest Baker

Albert Frech

Howard Kachele

Richard Chalfant

Graeme Elliott

Richard G Grover

Maralee Burdick

Pat Jenna

Carrie Winkle

Paul Wick

Dr Maru Alujas

Joyce Cundiff

Thomas Scholet

Margaret Levy

Gary Smith


Eric Bienstock

Tandi Atkinson

Lyra Srinivarsan

Dr Rudy Magnan

Barbara Glabman

David Lee

Chazzer Watson

Joe Cody

Paul Jacobs

Gerson Shapiro

Gus Rios

Leon Mysch

Earl Perel

Bill Fiffick

Gordon Maloney

Joe Searle

Joan Wilson

Phylis Jackson

Jean Murai

Hari Das

Aaron Goldberg

Gil Backerman

Bernice Goldberg

Naomi Hellig

Bob Loffreda

Valerie Goldberg

Victor Rangel-Ribiero

Jim Fletcher

Joyce Weiss

Robert McGee

Abdre Dezanger

Marguerite Fisher

Kalman Toth

Jill Berman

Janie Noble


What is the Rule of the Family?

The Rule is:

“There is no-one more important to me than my Family”


Just suppose we can proceed from that rule. Just suppose we agree that there is no-one more important to you than those close individuals whom you include in your own experience of your ‘Family’.

Then let’s explore that idea a little further. I am very interested in getting your own thinking and personal comments on this idea.

DFQ: Please give your answer to the following DFQ and post your answer below.

Speaking for myself, the definition of “my family” is those people who:

so, therefore, my top ten family members are:
(write down ten specific people personal to you but, for privacy, not their full names)












Examples of Answers:

– Example #1  … you are born with and those you spend most time with.
… answer also named 10 members – genetic plus memetic
– Example #2 … Your parents. Those you were raised with. Close friends.
… answer also included 10 people some genetic some proximate.

I was watching the live broadcast of the Australian Parliament today as the various members and ministers, on both sides of the house, rose to speak during Question Time. I soon began to get that familiar feeling of disappointment and bewilderment at the quality of the level of discussion so typical of the Westminster system of debate. So I tried a simple metacognition experiment.

As each speaker made their claims and touted their party’s policies in the House (which would also be recorded in Hansard) I simply asked myself: “But, is it true?” “Is what you are now saying a genuine attempt at making a fully true statement?”. And then I gave that statement a ‘truth rating’ out of 10 … 1 being low and 10 being high. An an Elector of Australia I can safely assume this is my right to do so.

Rarely could I confidently answer, “Yes, that is true!” If I had to make a subjective guess I would say that more than 80% of their statements and claims were only half truths … at best. And, as the widely-quoted Yiddish proverb says A half truth is a whole lie.

(NOTE: This is a simple experiment for you to try for yourself. Tune in to, or go sit in, your local equivalent of the Australian Parliament and try this for yourself. If you like, you can post your results below. The same experiment could be used in other situations where the detection of half-truths is required. In the media there are many opportunities to do this in current affairs, business, politics and other programs and articles. Religious sermons, TV commercials, blogs and tweets may also provide useful opportunities to detect half truths. )

For the first time in history lies can travel at the speed of light.

In our exploding world of cybermedia with photoshop, digital manipulation, phone-hacking and peer2peer messaging at the speed of light, I believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may be one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

I believe this challenge needs to be taken very seriously and could be considered to be of a threat level similar to that of lethal epidemics like Avian or Bird Flu. Many scientists share this view.

As an antidote, SOT has put forward a new thinking methodology to help meet this challenge. To follow on from the previous SOT thinking tools, thinking hats and brain software, this new tool is called: greyscale thinking: how to sort a truth from a lie.

What Makes A Great Teacher?

I was once contacted by a young man in London who is a teacher/coach and personal trainer/consultant. He is in the early stages of his career and he sought my advice. He asked me this question: What makes a great teacher? That is a very good question. It’s exactly the question he should be asking as he embarks on this vocation.

My response to him was this: While there are many things that can make a teacher a much better one there is one non-negotiable, one litmus test, which defines a great teacher. This test is about how the teacher’s performance stacks up to the BIG question: IS IT TRUE?

Is It True?

Is what the teacher is teaching a TRUTH or a LIE? The answer to this question is what sorts out the frauds from the professors. If this test is passed then the teacher can be a great teacher if not then the teacher will always be a failure … in my view.

Making Claims

Anyone can make a claim. All sorts of claims are made in business, in science, in religion, in families, in governments, in education, in politics, on blogs and in the media. But is it a true claim? How closely does it correspond to reality? Or, is the claim a lie? How do we know? Does it even matter?

Yes. It does matter whether a claim is a truth or a lie. For example, many people believe things which are dangerous lies. These lies may have been protected from thinking for hundreds of years. These lies all have consequences which may range from deception to dementia to death.

Like a brainvirus, these lies can infect the brains of very young children. This is happening right now to millions of children as you read this article. I do believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

ACTION STEP: If you feel this is important (please don’t spam lists of people) but send this article on to a selected friend, colleague or family member who may find it useful.

Greyscale Thinking

To help meet this challenge I am introducing the idea of greyscale thinking (US grayscale). Greyscale thinking is simple, fast and scientific. Anyone, anywhere and anytime can use greyscale thinking to help sort out a truth from a lie.

Any child can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to kids by parents and by teachers. Any employee can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to employees by managers and business leaders.

The idea of greyscale thinking is: claim divided by questions equals truth or lie. This idea can be expressed as the formula c÷q=t>l.

This means that once a ‘claim’ is made it can then be subjected to ‘questioning’. Questioning reveals whether the claim is closer to being either a ‘truth’ or a ‘lie’.

Six True Questions
SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: The methodology of greyscale thinking is the cognitive skill or habit of putting a CLAIM to the SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).

The answers to each of the 6 questions moves the CLAIM to and fro along the greyscale continuum: | a TRUTH – w? w? w? w? h? w? – a LIE |


| a TRUTH – – – – a LIE |


The answers to each of the 6 questions indicate, on the balance of the evidence, whether the CLAIM is more likely to be a TRUTH or more likely to be a LIE.

MAIN POINT: You will have noticed we are saying “a truth” rather than “The Truth”. Searching for truth is a journey and not a destination. We are more concerned with being right than being righteous. No individual brain can ever contain perfect knowledge of all possible facts. No brain can ever know the contents of the other people’s brains who are also involved in the situation. No brain can ever have perfect ownership of The Truth. And, that’s the point.

The rule of science is that you can have a good idea today, a better idea tomorrow, and the best idea … never! Why? Because there are always more facts to uncover–more opinions, more priorities, more options, more consequences, more positives, more negatives, more objectives, more measurements, and more experiments that can be tested. History has shown this to be a truth.

It is the deliberate effort one makes to move closer to a truth and to move further away from a lie that produces all the benefits of greyscale thinking.

No claim should ever be protected from questioning

Any claim that has ever been made in all of history and any claim that ever will be made can be illuminated, examined, investigated and accepted or rejected using the 6 true questions of greyscale thinking: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).


What is greyscale thinking?
Greyscale (or grayscale) thinking is a tool for sorting out truths from lies.

What is Truth?
Truth is that which, on the balance of evidence, corresponds to reality.

There are two serious cognitive problems we need to solve to survive and prosper. Greyscale thinking is a powerful tool anyone can use for solving both these problems.

Problem One: How to know if a truth is really a lie (or a half-truth)?
Problem Two: How to know if a lie is really a truth?

What difference does it make?
The difference is an immediate increase in:
– your survival intelligence,
– your skills to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing environment,
– your speed of thought.

How long does it take to learn?
It takes ten minutes a day, for ten days, to learn greyscale thinking.

The report’s main conclusions:

-    There is no neurological evidence that the internet is more effective at “rewiring” our brains than other environmental influences.

-    The internet is a “valuable learning resource and all forms of learning cause changes within the brain”.

-    Social networking sites, in themselves, are not a special source of risk to children, and are generally beneficial as they support existing friendships

-    Playing action video games can improve some visual processing and motor response skills

-    Computer-based activity provides mental stimulation and this can help slow rates of cognitive decline.