When I was going through teaching school initially, many years ago, Blooms Taxonomy was often referenced. In fact, it was referenced so heavily throughout my degree program we had to use it as reference when developing our lesson plans. For those who may be relatively new to Bloom I have provided a graphic of his hierarchical order that is often thought of when discussing Bloom.

Bloom taxonomy - a pyramid with remembering at the base, then moving up the pyramid understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating, and at the top creating.
Blooms Taxonomy – graphic found at Imperial College London

Looking at Blooms Taxonomy we had to figure out a way how to develop a lesson plan beginning at the base of the pyramid and then working our way up. The ultimate goal would be getting to the top of the pyramid – the higher order thinking skills when creating and organizing lessons and curriculum.

Out of habit I often go back to Bloom even if I don’t recognize that I am. When I develop lessons and I am thinking about how to construct a lesson, I always go back to Bloom. Is that because I think it is the best strategy or theory? No, not necessarily. However it is something that I have found practical and it makes sense. It is easily applicable I suppose.

So, after reading Teaching in a Digital Age by A.W. Bates , Bloom was referenced often in Chapter 2 under Cognitivism. So, my first thoughts would be due to my heavy use and familiarity of Bloom perhaps my personal epistemology is Cognitivism. However, as I ran through the other theories refeerenced by Bates I realized they all seem feasible. They all seem to have their own potential. So, then naturally I turned to Google. I started Googling Personal epistemology. What does that even mean?

What I found out is that like much we read that term itself is under debate. However, I did find that there is a lot of literature on this topic but that the underscore is that it is the study of how someone develops knowledge and then how they use it to understand the world. Seems simple but that last idea of how they use it, not to apply it to the world but to understand the world…I am not sure how to measure that. Basically how they take the knowledge and then how do they apply it to their outlook and perspective…hmmm…that’s a lot to think about.

If I am looking at what epistomology or theories have impacted by perception of knowledge based on my past experiences as a student, I would at first instance say Cognitivism because of Bloom and then the other filters I have been given are Connectivism most recently. However, if I dive further I realize I have been touched  by all listed by Bates. Depending on what professor I have had and what they are teaching at one point or another those can be seen in my career as a student.

Anyways…I am wandering at this point. I am reaching those 20 pages I abhor and people are going to lose interest in my ramblings (said in a tone that is tongue in cheek). In any case, all the above rambling is to say that I am unsure where I stand. However, if a student were in my class or were taking a lesson designed by me they will by chance be impacted by multiple theories depending on what I forsee as most applicable at the moment. I will say it most likely will be referenced back to Blooms taxonomy of how can I get students to access the higher order thinking. Is that because I am stead fast on Cognitivism? No, but it is what make sense for my cognitive process when constructing and planning lessons. It also addresses what I consider critical which is that the instructor take steps to assist students in absorbing and applying the content effectively, all students. It also allows me to differentiate and be flexible in how to reach those points. I also enjoy data and analysis which Cognitivism also addresses in a way that is logical to me. I find data is very helpful in measuring effectiveness of lessons or what needs to be improved.

What makes a good teacher? I am unsure there are many sources online. There is even a quiz. Who knew? There is also this article that has a checklist – if you only do three of the things you are a good teacher. It is quite humorous.  I think that a good teacher tries to ensure that steps are taken to develop content, an environment, and material that supports the student in learning the objectives and goals. Flexibility and analysis of instruction and changing said instruction is also important. Being supportive and caring while providing structure is also needed. I would venture to add being inclusive and universal when designing materials and courses is also an important part of being a good teacher.

I am enjoying the Bates book. The book seems to address some of the reservations faculty and staff have as well as the fears they have within a changing environment. Universities are feeling pressure to change the modes in which instruction is delivered and many are worried about the impact it will have on the idea of Universities. However, Bates seems to bring it back to it is about students developing skills and knowledge needed for the future. I have enjoyed the book. It is direct and practical in nature. I enjoyed the fact that the way in which it is organized is straight forward and in small chunks. It was less intimidating in that manner. I also enjoyed the multiple formats and his meticulousness in not only developing content for the book but on the way it was delivered. He made is accessible both financially and universally.  The only thing I would add was an audio recording of the book. That would have been awesome!

3 Replies to “”

  1. Hello Mary,

    I too enjoyed Bates book and agree heavily that it would be an added bonus if it was offered via audiobook.

    The book definitely added more to my knowledge of epistemology that I started to regress back on the various epistemology lens I exhibited throughout my life experiences. Which continues to evolve, even more so with raising a child. Like you I cannot pinpoint just one epistemology lens that I use on a daily basis. It changes everyday due to the different experiences that I encounter and because of that I find myself more resilient…..a more resilient adult learner (parent learner).

    Thank you for your post, Anna

  2. I too am deeply steeped in Bloom’s taxonomy. It is, as you point out, a very practical way to organize a lesson so that it conveys more than remembering…
    I smiled at the quiz. It did bring up the idea that the acquisition of knowledge through social processes is more effective. We must first be emotionally engaged to learn or solve a problem.
    I’m glad you found the Bates book useful.

  3. Hi Mary! Bloom’s is a huge influence on me in my daily work and I reach for the taxonomy constantly. It has amazing applications for creating syllabi and helping instructors craft clear, transparent, and consistent learning objectives. In our 640 class, I did a project that tied in the SMART goal framework with setting learning objectives using Bloom’s taxonomy–but I finished it after we were done with the semester, so I didn’t get to show it to you!

    What are your thoughts on the original vs. 2001 revised version of the taxonomy? The original placed evaluation at the top, did not include “create,” and had a “noun-based” focus, and the revision changed the nouns to verbs and rearranged things so that “evaluate” was at the second level. I believe “create” replaced “synthesis.” Do you like this change? I think it is more reflective of the learning process…we can evaluate the work of others without producing our own original work. I believe it is that new and original creation that demonstrates full knowledge transfer. Thoughts?

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