Blog Post: [Part 2] Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Instruction - Recall Is Not Knowledge

Richard Paul Archives
Nov 14, 2023 • 249d ago
[Part 2] Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Instruction - Recall Is Not Knowledge

{"ops":[{"insert":"[Missed Part 1?"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"link":""},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"insert":"]\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"A One-Way Hierarchy"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nThough not designed to further critical thinking instruction as such, "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Cognitive Domain "},{"insert":"contains a wealth of information of use in such instruction. Reading it in its entirety is most rewarding, particularly the sections on analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. These sections disclose that most of the cognitive processes characterized as essential to higher-order questions in fact presuppose use of basic critical thinking concepts: assumption, fact, concept, value, conclusion, premise, evidence, relevant, irrelevant, consistent, inconsistent, compilation, fallacy, argument, inference, point of view, bias, prejudice, authority, hypothesis, and so forth. This is clear, for example, in the explanation of analysis:\n \nSkill in analysis may be found as an objective of any field of study. It is frequently expressed as one of their important objectives by teachers of science, social studies, philosophy, and the arts. They wish, for example, to develop in students the ability to distinguish fact from hypothesis in a communication, to identify conclusions and supporting statements, to distinguish relevant from extraneous material, to note how one idea relates to another, to see what unstated assumptions are involved in what is said, to distinguish dominant from subordinate ideas or themes in poetry or music, to find evidence of the author’s techniques and purposes . . . ("},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Cognitive Domain"},{"insert":", p. 144)"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nIn other words, if the ability to analyze usually requires students to do such things as distinguish facts from hypotheses, conclusions from evidence, relevant from irrelevant material, note relationships between concepts, and probe and detect unstated assumptions, then it seems essential that students become not only familiar with these words (by teachers introducing them frequently into classroom discussion) but also comfortable with using them as they think their way through analytic problems. This need becomes more evident if we recognize that by analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, the authors of the Taxonomy have in mind only their "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"explicit"},{"insert":" (not subconscious) uses. They rightly emphasize what has become a virtual platitude in cognitive psychology – that students (and experts) who do the best analyses, syntheses, and evaluations tend to do them mindfully with a clear sense of their component elements. So, if the concepts of critical thinking are presupposed in mindful analysis, synthesis, and evaluation, we can best heighten that mindfulness by raising those component concepts to a conscious level.\n \nAlthough "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Affective Domain"},{"insert":" implies that it is "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"value neutral"},{"insert":", many of the examples of higher-order valuing illustrate values intrinsic to education conceived on a critical thinking paradigm, wherein a student:\n \nDeliberately examines a variety of viewpoints on controversial issues with a view to forming opinions about them."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"[Develops] faith in the power of reason in methods of experimental discussion."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"Weighs alternative social policies and practices against the standards of the public welfare rather than the advantage of specialized and narrow interest groups."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"[Achieves] readiness to revise judgments and to change behavior in the light of evidence."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"Judges problems and issues in terms of situations, issues, purposes, and consequences involved rather than in terms of fixed, dogmatic precepts or emotionally wishful thinking."},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"Develops a consistent philosophy of life. (pp. 181-185)"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nAlong with the usefulness of Bloom’s Cognitive and Affective Taxonomies, we must bear in mind their limitations for critical thinking curriculum construction. To some extent, the Taxonomies represent an attempt to achieve the impossible: a perfectly neutral classification of cognitive and affective processes that makes no educational value judgments and favors no educational philosophy over any other – one that could be used by any culture, nation, or system whatsoever, independent of its specific values or world view:\n \n . . . to avoid partiality to one view of education as opposed to another, we have attempted to make the taxonomy neutral by avoiding terms which implicitly convey value judgments and by making the taxonomy as conclusive as possible. This means that the kinds of behavioral changes emphasized by "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"any "},{"insert":"institution, educational unit, or educational philosophy can be represented in the classification. Another way of saying this is that any objective which describes an intended behavior should be classifiable in this system. ("},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Cognitive Domain"},{"insert":", p. 14)"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nThis approach to knowledge, cognition, and education is partly irreconcilable with a commitment to critical thinking skills, abilities, and dispositions:\n \nTo a large extent, knowledge as taught in American schools depends upon some external authority: some expert or group of experts is the arbitrator of knowledge. ("},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Cognitive Domains"},{"insert":", p. 31)"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" . . . the scheme does provide levels for the extreme inculcation of a prescribed set of values if this is the philosophy of the culture. ("},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Affective Domain"},{"insert":", p. 43)"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"It is possible to imagine a society or culture which is relatively fixed. Such a society represents a closed system in which it is possible to predict in advance both the kinds of problems individuals will encounter and the solutions which are appropriate to those problems. Where such predictions can be made in advance, it is possible to organize the educational experience so as to give each individual the particular knowledge and specific methods needed for solving the problems he will encounter. ("},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Cognitive Domain"},{"insert":", p. 39-40)"},{"attributes":{"indent":1},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \nBut precisely because of this attempt at neutrality the category of “knowledge” is analyzed in such a restricted way and the relationship of the categories is assumed to be hierarchical in only one direction. For instance, according to Bloom’s Taxonomy, “comprehension” presupposes “knowledge”, but “knowledge” does not presuppose “comprehension”. The second of these conceptual decisions would be questioned by those who hold that the basic skills and dispositions of critical thinking must be brought into schooling from the start, and that for any learning to occur, they must be intrinsic to every element of it.\n"}]}

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