Monday, April 5, 2010

Educational Theory of the Week: Bloom's Taxonomy

A new month, and a new educational theory in practice. As I suggested last week (or maybe more than a week ago), we'll look at Bloom's Taxonomy and how it relates to our children's everyday learning.

When I went to graduate school a couple of years ago, my professors taught me that a new Bloom's Taxonomy was around. I dislike change and even though I gave it a good shot, never warmed up to the new one. I will be using the old one.

The basic gist of Bloom's Taxonomy is that skills and tasks can be categorized. When you ask your children certain questions, those questions can be put in a certain category (see the list below). The order increases in difficulty.

1. Knowledge
2. Comprehension
3. Application
4. Analysis
5. Synthesis
6. Evaluation

Why is this useful? It is the first idea that is taught in educational classes. It is the root of most ideas in education, and for good reason. If teachers or parents only ask questions from the 'comprehension' tier, children won't be pressed to look deeper into subjects and ideas. I plan to take the next 6 weeks to explain these more, but here is a basic idea of how this works:

Example scenario: Ty tying his shoes (which he loves to practice).
1. Knowledge: Ty knows what shoes are and that they need tied.
2. Comprehension: Ty describes what he's doing with the laces and starts to get them ready (lines them up) to tie.
3. Application: Ty makes an 'X' (he is applying a letter to the situation of tying shoes) and sticks one lace through the 'X.'
4. Analysis: Ty knows he has to break apart the steps. He tries to go onto the next step, looping. (He isn't there yet).
5. Synthesis: Ty tries to create a new way to tie his shoes. He knows that circles are involved and so he makes circles out of the laces and smashes them together.
6. Evaluation: Ty evaluates the situation. He cannot get his fingers to work correctly (the whole "fine motor skills" gig) and gets frustrated or calmly asks for help.

There is an overview! We'll break down Bloom's Taxonomy and talk about different questions to ask our kids. Have a great week!