“Cogito, Ergo Sum”: Applying Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy Within the Framework of Teaching for Understanding to Enhance the Frequency and Quality of Students’ Opportunities to Develop and Practice Higher-Level Cognitive Processes
Miller, Andrew D.
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Thinking, in too many secondary English classrooms across the nation, has been lost in the shuffle of school. In certain high school classes, for any number of reasons, students are given few opportunities to utilize higher level cognitive skills such as analyzing, evaluating, and creating. Rather, teachers simply ask students to undertake fairly mindless, low level cognitive skills, such as remembering and regurgitating. This method may be easier – for the student and the teacher. This method is also a disservice to students and to the future of the country: the dumbing-down of the American citizen – although it may start elsewhere – is perpetuated in the classroom. For my SIP, I set out to discover what I can do as a teacher to be most effective in facilitating higher-level student thought, by applying Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy within the framework of Teaching for Understanding to more effectively plan, monitor, and revise the frequency and quality of my students’ opportunities to develop and practice higher-level cognitive processes. In attempting to foster higher-level student thought, I took two established frameworks, Teaching for Understanding and Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy, and used them concurrently in a new and creative way. Essentially, I qualitatively studied my own strategies, materials, and pedagogy, by classifying – using the Revised Taxonomy – the cognitive level of my understanding goals, performance activities and ongoing assessments, and culminating performances for a seven week unit on the Renaissance Period and Macbeth. Plotting on Anderson et al.’s Taxonomy Table provided me the opportunity to evaluate whether and how frequently students were challenged to think at higher cognitive levels during the course of the unit and analyze student response to the particular cognitive levels of work being asked of them.