Thursday, September 12, 2013

Putting the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy to Use

During my Curriculum, Instruction, and Environmental Design class today, I asked students to work collaboratively to plot a set of curricular standards on the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy. This learning experience required students to have a working understanding of the four types of knowledge and six cognitive domains represented by the taxonomy. We used Padlet and Triptico in class two days ago to explore the taxonomy, so my goal today was to get them to apply, analyze, evaluate, and create with the taxonomy. (Oh, and we used sidewalk chalk!)

A couple of take-aways from this learning experience that my students and I discussed afterward:

  1. Students can show you what they know in SO many different ways. This course is one of the first courses that teaching candidates take in their college careers. Most students take the course prior to being admitted into the teacher education program. This means that, up to this point, their own K-12 and higher ed learning experiences are all they have to pull from. Sadly, most of those experiences have involved lecture and worksheets. Because of that, my students are wanting to rely pretty heavily on the use of worksheets in their own early attempts at writing learning objectives and designing lesson plans. One of my primary purposes in this activity (beyond applying the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy to a set of standards and becoming more familiar with those standards) was to model that students can show you what they know in a lot of ways that are more engaging and collaborative than worksheets. I could have easily developed a taxonomy worksheet and asked students to work independently and silently to plot the standards. Instead, students worked collaboratively and used more engaging materials. (Who doesn't love sidewalk chalk?) Same learning outcomes. Completely different experience. 
  2. Curricular standards are the floor, not the ceiling. It isn't difficult to infer from these taxonomy tables that these standards leave much to be desired in terms of complex thinking. If we structure teaching and learning around the cognitive processes and types of knowledge required by the standards, we will certainly not be developing critical thinking, collaboration, communication, or creativity. My students and I agree that the majority of thinking they do on a typical day (outside of class time, sadly) would be plotted at the higher end of the taxonomy in both types of knowledge (metacognitive and procedural knowledge, mostly) and cognitive processes (application, analysis, evaluation, and creation). We, as educators, are failing our students if we simply ask them to remember and understand factual and conceptual knowledge. It just isn't enough. This means that we have to go beyond the thinking that's required by the standards and ask our students to do more. Dayson Pasion agrees. What about you?
Disclaimer: This post has absolutely nothing to do with technology. :)

1 comment:

  1. Jayme, I agree that the standards still hover in the lower levels. I think there is a resistance in really allowing students to be metacognitive because: a) it takes time and b) it is hard to measure and monitor in the observable language of most traditional standards. Also I find unless the lesson objectives are written with precise language with reference to "products" or "evidence" and include criteria for success, then lessons become weakened and "activities" loosely connected.