Teaching “how to Think” at St. Mary schools

By Bereket Aweke

Think Africa gave a one day training on “21st C teaching with the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy” to St. Mary schools which is part of the renowned private St. Mary University.

Bloom’s Taxonomy was created in 1956 under the leadership of educational psychologist Dr Benjamin Bloom in order to promote higher forms of thinking in education, such as analyzing and evaluating concepts, processes, procedures, and principles, rather than just remembering facts (rote learning). It is most often used when designing educational, training, and learning processes.

This includes three domains of learning;

  • Cognitive: mental skills (knowledge)
  • Affective: growth in feelings or emotional areas (attitude or self)
  • Psychomotor: manual or physical skills (skills)

Domains may be thought of as categories. Instructional designers, trainers, and educators often refer to these three categories as KSA (Knowledge [cognitive], Skills [psychomotor], and Attitudes [affective]). This taxonomy of learning behaviors may be thought of as “the goals of the learning process.” That is, after a learning episode, the learner should have acquired a new skill, knowledge, and/or attitude.

Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom, and David Krathwohl revisited the cognitive domain in the mid-nineties and made some changes, with perhaps the three most prominent ones being (Anderson, Krathwohl, Airasian, Cruikshank, Mayer, Pintrich, Raths, Wittrock, 2000):

  • changing the names in the six categories from noun to verb formsbloom_taxonomy
  • rearranging them as shown in the chart below
  • creating a processes and levels of knowledge matrix

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy not only improved the usability of it by using action words, but added a cognitive and knowledge matrix.

While Bloom’s original cognitive taxonomy did mention three levels of knowledge or products that could be processed, they were not discussed very much and remained one-dimensional:

  • Factual – The basic elements students must know to be acquainted with a discipline or solve problems.
  • Conceptual – The interrelationships among the basic elements within a larger structure that enable them to function together.
  • Procedural – How to do something, methods of inquiry, and criteria for using skills, algorithms, techniques, and methods.

In Krathwohl and Anderson’s revised version, the authors combine the cognitive processes with the above three levels of knowledge to form a matrix. In addition, they added another level of knowledge – metacognition:

  • Metacognitive – Knowledge of cognition in general, as well as awareness and knowledge of one’s own cognition.

The 65 teachers and school leaders coming from three branches expressed their satisfaction on the content and delivery of the training. They also emphasized that, the fact that there was ample time to demonstrate the concepts in the training, will make it easier to apply them immediately in their class rooms.