Thinking at different levels
Background: One of the most important aspects of setting tasks and asking questions is to know what level of thinking you are requiring from your students. It is also important for the students to know the thinking level of the task or question, so that they fully understand what is being asked by the task/question. In 1956, Benjamin Bloom created his thinking taxonomy for categorizing the level of abstraction of questions that commonly occur in the classroom.
Revised Bloom's Taxonomy
During the 1990's, Lorin Anderson, a former student of Benjamin Bloom, led a team of cognitive psychologists in revisting the original 1956 taxonomy. As a result of the investigation, significant changes were made to the existing structure.
The names of the six major categories were changed from nouns to verbs to reflect thinking as an active process.
- Knowledge was renamed as it was considered that knowledge is an outcome of thinking, not a form of thinking.
- Comprehension and Synthesis were retitled Understand and Design respectively to better reflect the nature of the thinking of each category.
- Design and Evaluate were interchanged, reflecting the notion that creative thinking (design) is more complex than critical thinking (evaluate). The precursor to creative production often requires critical thinking; the accepting or rejecting of ideas. Once an idea has been accepted or rejected, a new design may then be created.
Throughout the Companion, we have used Anderson's revised Bloom's Taxonomy. It is worth having this thinking framework on display in the classroom as a useful reference point for students. Refer www.itcpublications.com/resources to download the ITC Thinking Framework.