Today we’re delighted to share a guest post by Dale McIntosh. You can reach Dale at email@example.com.
For the uninitiated, Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom & Krathwohl, 1956) “is a hierarchical structure representing six levels of thinking and learning skills that range from basic learning objectives such as knowledge of content through higher-order learning such as synthesis, evaluation, and creativity. Bloom’s taxonomy formed the basis for early work on the development of instructional objectives for classes and curricula” (University of West Florida, Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, 2012).
If we think back to our initial introduction to Bloom’s Taxonomy, we probably thought to ourselves “Sure, that would work in a Utopian society.” In reading a recent guest blog post “Learning by Creating: Turning Bloom’s on Its Head” on Techsmith’s For Educators blog site, I could not help but ponder the consequences of “flipping” Bloom’s Taxonomy similar to the latest craze of “flipping the classroom.” However, after considering the original model Bloom proposed, I think many of us can nod our heads in agreement that seeing an undergraduate student achieve the original pyramid’s pinnacle is simply a rarity, if not an oddity.
In his guest blog post, Phillips makes a good point that humans “learn by experimenting, trying out new things, wondering how something works, creating constructs that are concrete representations of abstract ideas, making mistakes and trying another way, and finally reaching the goal they have in mind.” One sees this easily in the science disciplines but not as easily in the arts and humanities. In Phillips’ post, he refers to Shelley Wright’s blog, “Flip This: Bloom’s Taxonomy Should Start with Creating” where she suggests we “start with a productive goal in mind.”
In the academy, we often feel students need as historical lens from which to operate. While this may be true in some cases, might we nurture their creative side, which may give their inquisitive engines a jump-start to consider the “why are things the way they are?” or “how did we get here?” questions, just as they did as they did during childhood development. Could it be that easy to let them be creative first, rather than understand?
I know that I can translate this “upside-down” taxonomy model in the CIS courses I teach, but it will take some major brain surgery on my part to not fall into the traditional way of facilitating the students’ learning.
I am interested what others think about the notion of starting with “Creating” and ending up at “Remembering?”