Updated: December, 2014
We all want our children to use necessary critical thinking skills. Thanks to Bloom’s Taxonomy, parents can help develop and strengthen their child’s thinking skills at home. Unfortunately, teachers and parents are more likely to ask children questions at the Remembering level which is the lowest level of thinking. This includes questions like: who, what, where, when and why. These types of questions only require children to use memorization in order to respond.
Bloom’s Taxonomy is named after Benjamin Bloom, a psychologist who in 1956 developed the classification of questioning according to six levels of higher level thinking. Bloom’s Taxonomy was revised in 2001. Most if not all teachers are taught to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in preparing lesson objectives for their students. However, most parents have not been taught how to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in talking to their children. If it is good for teachers, it is surely good for parents.
When children are moved beyond Bloom’s lowest level, Remembering to the next level of Understanding, they are answering questions which ask them to organize previous information, such as: comparing, interpreting the meaning, or organizing the information. Therefore, children are basically just retelling information in their own words, which is not helping develop critical thinking skills.
As parents, we want to encourage our children to think for themselves and to avoid peer pressure and fad thinking. We want them to have the skills necessary to listen, analyze and interpret the information that will be a constant part of their lives. Memory and understanding are part of this process, but to succeed in further processing this flow of knowledge requires higher level techniques.
Here are some examples of how to use Bloom’s Taxonomy with your child:
Most questions asked of children fall in either the Remembering or Understanding level. I encourage parents to move to a higher order in the taxonomy when questioning their child, which are Bloom’s next four levels. These include:
Applying: Ask your child how they would solve a given real-life problem. Ask why they think something is significant. Ask your child to continue a story or predict what would happen in a given situation. Encourage your child to make a diorama or model of what they learned on a given topic.
Analyzing: Ask your child to identify motives or causes from real-life stories. Encourage them to conduct an interview or survey. Have your child make a flow chart, family tree or role play a real-life situation.
Evaluating: Ask your child to form and defend an opinion on a subject. Kids, especially teens are pretty good at this one. Example: encourage your child to write a letter to an editor or evaluate a character’s actions in a story.
Creating: Ask your child to put together several bits of old information to form a new idea. Such as, ask them to create, design or invent a new item, proposal or plan. This requires a bit of creativity and the ability to think in the abstract.
Teachers state that with the big push of state testing and the pressure to teach to the test, it is becoming increasingly difficult for them to be able to take their time and teach at a higher level. As a parent you can help your child to use critical thinking skills and work on exercising their mind so that they will be a high level thinker.
There are many sites which offer charts of Bloom’s Taxonomy with examples of the various levels of questioning. One chart I like is: http://tpri.wikispaces.com/file/view/05-2Bloom-16-17+Stems+for+Instruction.pdf
I recommend parents print this or a similar chart and cut it so you are left with Analyzing on down to Creating. Then tape this chart to your refrigerator or desk to remind yourself of good questioning techniques to use with your child.
Or for just a few dollars, you can purchase this convenient flip chart from Amazon, Quick Flip Questions for the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. Great for teachers, parents, and students. Learn how to ask questions, lead discussions, and plan lessons geared to each level of critical thinking. This hand-held flip chart helps improve thinking skills at any age.
After asking several higher level Bloom’s Taxonomy questions, during various conversations, you will get a feel of your child’s ability to think critically. Be patient and give your child extra think time to respond because if your child is not used to higher level questioning or using their brain for this type of thinking, it may take some time for them to process and be able to respond. With practice, higher level questioning will become easier for you and your child.
See Also: How to Test for Creativity in Children
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Verbs for Learning Objectives / Learning Outcomes
The verbs used in learning objectives or learning outcomes should correspond to the level of thought at which the learners are expected to perform or function. The following lists of verbs are provided to help recognize the levels of thought and to help you write learning objectives that address the various levels of skill your learner should attain. By creating learning objectives using these verbs, you indicate explicitly what the learner must do in order to demonstrate learning.
Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning
This list is arranged according to Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning. Bloom’s Taxonomy classifies thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The categories are ordered from simple to complex and from concrete to abstract. Each level becomes more challenging as you move higher.
Cognitive competency or complexity begins at the knowledge level learning and advances up the taxonomy to comprehension, application, and then to the higher order thinking skills involved in analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
Bloom’s Taxonomy Revised
Determining Verbs for Learning Objectives
When determining your learning objectives, consider using a verb from the appropriate cognitive domain below. This list will help you express specific performance expectations you have of the learners at the completion of the course.
This is the lowest level of learning. This cognitive level focuses on the ability to remember or retrieve previously learned material. The learning standards at this level simply ask the learner to recognize and recall data or information.
Examples of verbs that relate to the Knowledge domain are:
This cognitive level focuses on the ability to grasp or construct meaning from material. The learning standards at this level ask the learner to demonstrate understanding of the meaning and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, summarizing, or paraphrasing.
Examples of verbs that relate to the Comprehension domain are:
This level focuses on the ability to use information in new ways or situations. The learning standards at this level ask the learner to use the newly acquired information in a new situation or different way from the original context.
Examples of verbs that relate to the Application domain are:
This level consider to be a higher order of thinking. This level focuses on the ability to examine and break information or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. The learning standards at this level ask the learner to separate the whole into its parts, in order to better understand the organization of the whole and the relationships between the parts.
Examples of verbs that relate to the Analysis domain are:
This level also considered to be a higher order of thinking. This level focuses on the ability to compile information in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions. The learning standards at this level ask the learner to put parts together to form a unique new whole or build a structure from diverse elements.
Examples of verbs that relate to the Synthesis domain are:
This is considered by Bloom to be the highest level of learning. This cognitive level focuses on the ability to make judgments about the value of ideas or materials and able to present and defend opinions based on a set of criteria. The learning standards at this highest level ask the learner to judge, check, critique the value of material to make decisions.
Examples of verbs that relate to the Evaluation domain are: