A few of my blogger friends and I have decided to get together and read the book, Making Thinking Visible (How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners) by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. This week we read chapter 1, “Unpacking Thinking,” concerning Bloom’s Taxonomy.
In the beginning the authors break down just what is wrong with our use of Bloom’s Taxonomy and I thought they made some interesting points. First they mentioned that Bloom’s Taxonomy is often viewed in a more linear, sequential, hierarchical kind of way and stated that was problematic. He stated that Bloom’s could be a starting point, but really it makes little sense to talk about thinking divorced from context and purpose. For instance, he mentioned that one could describe (the low level remembering stage) at a very high and detailed level by looking at something carefully and fully describing it or one could look at something at a superficial level. Not convinced? Take Analysis. This can be completed in a deeper sense or superficially. Analyze a TV show contrasted with a book in print. The book in print can be analyzed at a much deeper level than a TV show.
Even more so, he mentioned that the Bloom’s level “Understanding” should not be a basic level. In fact, it is often our goal as teachers in the classroom to have students understand by deep learning through more active and constructive processes. I don’t know too many teachers who do the rote memorization anymore. Again, stressing the need to eliminate linear thinking, he points out that understanding should NOT be a precursor to application, analysis, evaluation, or creating. In fact, doesn’t usually true deep understanding come as a result of those four listed?
So what do we do? We need minds-on with the hands-on activities. He places several examples of research where he discovered that many students don’t actually know what action they are taking when thinking. He asked students “What is thinking? (what’s in their heads?)” Thinking is a verb- it’s something you do. The responses were “brainwaves,” “hard,” “looking in books” “problem-solving” and “Tell myself I can do it.” No students were specific by listing strategies they use. Students need to be aware of their thinking. Over the course of the book, he is going to give us strategies to help teach children to think about their thinking—and make it visible of course!
Be sure to come back next Thursday to learn these thinking strategies!
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Want to know about the next chapter? Click here for Week 2 – Guess What’s in Your Teacher’s Head.