On the level? September 15, 2012Posted by IaninSheffield in CPD, research, Teaching Idea.
Tags: Bloom's, learning theory
I always enjoy reading posts on learning theories and concepts; it’s an area I’m still exploring whilst attempting to develop a deeper understanding. It was perhaps that then that attracted me for my first visit to the Pedagoo site:
Pedagoo is an attempt by a loose collection of educators in Scotland to move beyond the rhetoric and inevitable negativity that surrounds most new initiatives in education. If we stand for anything, it is making sure that those we teach are given the best preparation possible for the future.
A recent post on Pedagoo provided a useful introduction and ‘user guide’ to Bloom’s Taxonomy. A quick Internet search for Bloom’s Taxonomy will return a wealth of different sites and posts¹ describing and providing practical examples of Bloom’s in action. The one thing I’m still struggling to resolve though, is when we dig right down to practical illustrations of activities (or questions) indicative of a particular level within Bloom’s, have we oversimplified?
Giving exemplars of activities pitched at the different levels helps people address and reflect on their own approach perhaps with a view to enhancing or extending what they do. I’ve always wondered though whether siting (and citing!) an example of an activity at a particular level introduces challenges? Take producing a mindmap on the topic.’ Now this clearly involves some element of recall so is rightly at the ‘Remembering’ level, but I’d suggest we could perhaps make a case for that activity to require different levels of demand. Making a mindmap also requires the learner to ‘understand’ the information in a topic in order that their creation accurately summarises and structures the sub-topics within the overarching theme. Might we not also argue that this deconstruction of prior knowledge, then reconstruction or sense-making to create their own interpretation involves some elements of ‘analysis.’ And finally choosing an appropriate layout, thematic design, possibly introducing rich media (if using a digital app) could require a degree of ‘creativity?’
So maybe the value of Bloom’s is that it provides a framework for us to interrogate what we do and how we do it? Through the very act of analysing an activity and making a choice of an appropriate level, we better understand the appropriateness of the tasks we set our learners. Or as Gareth outlined in his post, the better our learners are able to interpret what they are doing and consequently challenge themselves with activities of higher demand. It’s perhaps less about what they’re doing now and more about what they’re going to do next.
¹There’s a really informative post by Donald Clark which provides a useful introduction to Bloom, his taxonomy and how it influenced education.