Bloom’s Taxonomy can be a useful tool in course, lesson and task design. Developed by Benjamin Bloom in the 1950s, it is an educational system that can be used to classify skills and their levels through learning objectives, which grow in challenge as the levels of the required skills move up. In practical terms, it works as a framework that helps teachers measure the level of challenge as well as students’ progress in different classroom situations and at different stages of their development.
The Taxonomy is usually illustrated by a pyramid, having the lower order thinking skills (more basic) in its basis and the higher order skills (more complex) at the top.
Here are some practical ideas of how to implement Bloom’s Taxonomy principles in your lessons.
Are they ready?
Ask yourself how ready your students are to dive deeper into a particular topic. Are they able to think about it independently? Would they benefit from more opportunities to recall and better understand it? The more equipped you feel your students are to deal with a topic, the bigger the chances of having successful outcomes in lessons whose objectives involve the verbs from the top of the pyramid (analyze, evaluate, create).
If students finish tasks more quickly than the rest of the group, you can use Bloom’s Taxonomy to set extension tasks requiring a higher order thinking skill. For example, when students finish a task in which they were asked to recall something (remember), have them go in pairs or groups and explain what they have just recalled (understand).
Clear and objective instructions
Use the verbs from Bloom’s Taxonomy to design instructions for tasks. This may help you to give more objective instructions, which will probably provide students with a clearer and more concrete idea of what they are expected to do and the mechanisms they will resort to while doing so.
Project lessons require a clear sequence of steps that should be followed by students in order to achieve the expected outcome. Some of these steps may include recalling and researching information, discussing the information found, selecting the information to be used, creating a model of something, etc. Again, the verbs from Bloom’s Taxonomy can be of great help to guide students throughout the process of developing their projects, moving from simpler to more complex activities in each of the suggested steps.
Bloom’s Taxonomy can be used as a basis for assessing students in different ways throughout the course or even in a lesson or single unit. For example, to assess students’ ability to use (apply) their knowledge of a particular subject in practical situations, you can set a problem task for them to solve. Or, when your aim is to assess their evaluating skills, you can have them write a review about a movie or book they have read.