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Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

May 25, 2008

Hello again,

Language learning is, of course, a complex process and teachers have to reflect on many aspects of the psychology of successful learning. When it comes to the practical application of theory, one of the most succinct summaries of how we learn ...

...is Bloom’s Taxonomy. Originally devised in the 1950s, Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy categorised and ordered thinking skills and goals along a continuum from Lower Order Thinking Skills (LOTS) to Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). In 2001 a former student of Bloom’s, Lorin Anderson (with D. Krathwohl) updated the taxonomy in a revised version. The continuum in the revised version runs:

• remembering
• understanding
• applying
• analysing
• evaluating
• creating

The reason I find this taxonomy of practical value in the classroom is that it offers a quick rule of thumb for ordering the learning process for teachers. Each element has certain activities associated with it:
• remembering (recognising, listing, describing, identifying, retrieving, naming, locating, finding)
• understanding (interpreting, summarising, inferring, paraphrasing, classifying, comparing, explaining exemplifying)
• applying (implementing, using, carrying out, executing)
• analysing (comparing, organising, deconstructing, attributing, outlining, finding, structuring, integrating)
• evaluating (checking, hypothesising, critiquing, experimenting, judging, testing, detecting, monitoring)
• creating (designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, devising, making).

What I propose to do in subsequent posts is to take each element and see how the associated activities might be transferred to classroom activities. However, the usefulness of the taxonomy does not stop there. Andrew Churches has looked at it in relation to the digital age and gives ideas about how students can use ICT to help with each stage of the thinking process: http://www.techlearning.com/shared/printableArticle.php?articleID=196605124 .

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