How to use Bloom’s Taxonomy

Using Bloom's incorporates
problem-solving, critical thinking and creative thinking
in your teaching & learning programme,
in an organised and accountable approach.

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom with collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl published a framework for categorizing educational goals: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Familiarly known as Bloom’s Taxonomy, this framework has been applied by generations of K-12 teachers and college instructors in their teaching.

The hierarchy means the higher the level, the more the complexity of thinking skills. However reaching the highest level is not a finite point; rather, it is rather circular. You can return to any of the lower levels once you’ve reached the evaluation stage.

Using BLOOM’S TAXONOMY is an invaluable strategy for teachers and students to consciously and systematically incorporate critical and creative thinking skills in your whole programme.
Using and teaching Bloom’s is also valuable for metacognition – one of the goals of the many current curriculum guidelines, and is often a focus of  Education departments’ requirements. Importantly, teaching your students about using Bloom’s assists them to become more independent learners, more responsible for their own learning.

And by sharing techniques and models with your students, so that students are thinking about their thinking, you are assisting them to reach the desired outcome: that students consciously APPLY thinking strategies both in planning and in self-evaluation.

The six levels are:
1. Knowledge (straight recall of info) now often referred to as Remembering
2. Comprehension (understanding given info)
3. Application (applying or using the info)
4. Analysis (analysing or breaking it down into parts; taking apart the known)
5. Synthesis (creating; putting together the new, using original, creative thinking)
6. Evaluation (judging, evaluating through setting standards or criteria)

As a teacher, when you’re making planning outlines for your student, do ensure that they always start at level 1, knowledge/remembering. Without knowledge, there can be no further learning! Making several activities for each level of Bloom’s, and allowing for different learning styles and preferences, means you are allowing students both choice and complexity.

Some educators have proposed that CREATIVITY be at the top of the hierarchy, as being the most sophisticated level of thinking. However Jean prefers to think that EVALUATION– judging what you have produced, is the highest level. Once you’ve created, THEN you need to evaluate it! And after that, you may then move down to a suitable level to further refine your product if needed.

Various Bloom’s sheets for different curriculum areas:  Feel free to download ThinkShop’s suggested planning outlines (see pdf file below) to use when planning.

In the downloadable PDF are several charts of the process verbs which you should use (and eventually get your students to use) as you
draw up a unit.

1. The first is the original Bloom’s Taxonomy (Benjamin Bloom,1956).

 2. For beginners:
If you are unfamiliar with Bloom’s, you might want to start with the Chart #2 (page 12), “Making Your First Planning Outline”; the process verbs have been extended for you to give you a head start. A good way to begin is by simply by making up one or two activities or questions for each level.

Bearing in mind that the first three levels are purely manipulating information, and that these form the underpinning stage for the higher-level thinking and thus NEED TO BE DONE BY ALL STUDENTS, your aim is to get students to answer one question or activity from EACH LEVEL.

☛ Note: Making up more than one activity per level gives the obvious advantage of offering the students some choice here… highly recommended.

3. If you’re already familiar with Bloom’s:
As you become more adept at making up questions using the process verbs, you’ll want to use Chart #3, “Planning outlines with a Bloom’s Matrix” . Note that this has the TOOLBOX down one side to give you some practical ideas.

Some students can be taught to make their own planning outlines using Bloom’s. The attached outlines, devised by Jean Edwards, are aimed at different areas of the curriculum to assist you in planning.

To make up activities for students, you MUST start your instructions with one of the starter verbs in the first column; then use any of the suggested expansions in the next column. This ensures that you are indeed adhering to Bloom’s planned hierarchy.

Do feel free to distribute the attached pdf; please do acknowledge the source!

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