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QWERTY®- A Staged Thinking Plan

Updated: May 20, 2020

QWERTY® is at the very heart of what we do at Got-A-Head®? Before every action, we want the Learner to Stop! Think! Thought before action can avoid many problems and speed up all sorts of tasks. It doesn't have to be a long process. Quite the opposite! However, structuring the way you approach any task is likely to lead to a more successful outcome.

QWERTY® isn't just for thinking tasks, either. It can be used effectively in Memory, Observation and Reading Effectively, too. For instance, you can use

QWERTY® to decide which kind of scaffolding would work best for a particular memory task or the most effective place (or way) to start looking for something in observation.

We'll do separate blogs on the various elements within QWERTY®, with some more detailed examples of how to use it. To start, though, we just wanted to talk about what QWERTY® stands for and some general comments on its application.

QWERTY® is an acronym. Each letter stands for a different action or activity. As so many Learners these days are using technology on a regular basis, we hope that having QWERTY® right there in front of them as they type will act as a handy reminder.

Photo of part of a keyboard showing QWERTY
Stop! Think! Use QWERTY® to make whatever you are doing as effective and efficient as possible.

The crucial first step is to define what it is you need to think about. Is there anything you must include. Is there anything that can or should be left out?

This is the 'blue sky thinking' element, where you consider all the possibilities you can think of without limitation or judging their worth.

Once you have all sorts of possibilities, you have to explore them to decide which ones could be of real benefit in this particular instance.

You can use ACES to help you, where you assess what you can construct, enhance or select from items in your Wonder list.

Once you have explored your possibilities, you need to rank them in order to choose the solution (or solutions) that best fit(s) your question. Weight them up and decide which way to go.

T is for TARGET

Now that you’ve decided, you should go for it! Aim for success! Put your plan into action. Of course, once you've decided WHAT you're going to do, you might need to do another QWERTY® to decide HOW you're going to do so.


High Five! You’ve been thinking! Well done! It's important, though, to evaluate and review how things went, both with the process and the product. If you consider it a success, you may want to WRAP and REMEMBER it for next time you come across something similar

It's important to remember that QWERTY® is there to help you to think, not to constrain your thinking. Just as we use memory techniques as scaffolding until what we are trying to remember is saved in long-term memory, we use this staged technique as a framework to support our thinking. Sometimes the different elements can overlap a little, for instance ranking some items while still in Explore. We could get to the Rank stage and decide that we don't like any of the solutions and have to revisit Wonder and Explore to come up with something further. Our considerations at the Yay! stage may involve revisiting any of the previous stages if the solution we chose didn't work or we decide it could be improved. Don't worry if you do things out of sequence sometimes - the stages are there to give space to different aspects of creative thinking.

If you'd like to see a visual explanation of QWERTY® then you can check out the clips on our YouTube channel. This clip is an overview of the technique. This is the playlist, which has links to all the different stages.

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