Blog Post: [Part 4 - Final] Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Instruction - Recall Is Not Knowledge

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Dec 26, 2023 • 206d ago
[Part 4 - Final] Bloom’s Taxonomy and Critical Thinking Instruction - Recall Is Not Knowledge

{"ops":[{"insert":"[Missed Part 3?"},{"attributes":{"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"bold":true,"link":""},"insert":"Read It Here"},{"insert":"]\n\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"Rational Learning"},{"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":" "},{"insert":"\nTo sum up, the authors of the Taxonomy organized cognitive processes into a one-way hierarchy, leading readers to conclude that knowledge is always a simpler behavior than comprehension, comprehension is a simpler behavior than application, application is a simpler behavior than analysis, and so forth through synthesis and evaluation. However, this view is misleading in at least one important sense: achieving knowledge "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"always"},{"insert":" presupposes at least minimal comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. This counter-insight is essential for well-planned and realistic curriculum designed to foster critical thinking skills, abilities, and dispositions, and it cannot be achieved without the development of the teacher’s critical thinking.\n \nFrom the very start, for any learning, we should expect and encourage those rational scruples realistically within the range of student grasp, a strategy that requires critical insight into the evidentiary foundation of everything we teach. We should scrutinize our instructional strategies lest we inadvertently nurture student "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"irrationality"},{"insert":", as we do when we encourage students to believe what, from the perspective of their own thought, they have no good reason to believe. If we want rational learning (and again, "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"not all learning is rational"},{"insert":"), then the process leading to belief is more important than belief itself. Everything we believe we have in some sense "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"judged"},{"insert":" to be credible. If students believe something just because we or the text assert it, they learn to accept blindly.\n \nRight-answer inculcation is not a preliminary step to critical thought. It nurtures irrational belief and unnecessarily generates a mindset that must be broken down for rational learning and knowledge acquisition to begin. The structure of our lifelong learning generally arises from our early cognitive habits. If they are irrational, then they are likely to remain so. There are twin obstacles to the development of rational learning: "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"1)"},{"insert":" being told and expecting to be told what to believe (belief inculcation); and "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"2) "},{"insert":"being told and expecting to be told precisely what to do (the over-proceduralization of thought). Together they fatally undermine independence of thought and comprehension.\n \nBloom’s Taxonomy, all of the above notwithstanding, is a remarkable tour de force, a ground-breaking work filled with seminal insights into cognitive processes and their interrelations. Nevertheless, the attempt to remain neutral with respect to all educational values and philosophical issues is a one-sided hierarchical analysis of cognitive processes that limits our insight into the nature of critical thinking. (To minimize misunderstanding, let me express in another way one basic sense in which I consider it misleading to call Bloom’s Taxonomy “neutral”. By labeling the first category “knowledge” rather than ”rote recall”, the Taxonomy legitimates calling the product of rote recall “knowledge”. Such labeling is educationally tendentious and therefore not neutral.) Successful critical thinking instruction requires that:\n\nteachers have a full range of insights into cognitive processes and their complex interrelationships."},{"attributes":{"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"Bloom’s hierarchy become two-sided."},{"attributes":{"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":"teachers see that rational learning is "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"process-"},{"insert":" rather than product-oriented – a process that brings comprehension, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation into every act of the mind that involves the acceptance, however provisional, of beliefs or claims to truth, and that thereby fosters "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"rational"},{"insert":" habits of thought and "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"rational"},{"insert":" learning:"},{"attributes":{"list":"bullet"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" \n . . . the teacher’s primary job is that of making clear the bases upon which he weighs the facts, the methods by which he separates facts from fancies, and the way in which he discovers and selects his ultimate norms . . . . This concept of teaching . . . requires that the purported facts be accompanied by the reasons why they are considered the facts. Thereby the teacher exposes his methods of reasoning to test and change. If the facts are in dispute . . . then the reasons why others do not consider them to be facts must also be presented, thus bringing alternative ways of thinking and believing into dialogue with each other.\n– Emerson Shideler"},{"attributes":{"align":"right"},"insert":"\n"},{"insert":" "},{"attributes":{"align":"right"},"insert":"\n"},{"attributes":{"italic":true,"bold":true},"insert":"References"},{"insert":"\n \nBloom, Benjamin S., and others. "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Affective and Cognitive Domains"},{"insert":". New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1974.\nKneedler, Peter. “Critical Thinking in History and Social Science” (pamphlet). Sacramento: California State Department of Education, 1985.\nNewman, John Henry. "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Idea of a University"},{"insert":". New York: Longmans, Green and Company, 1912.\nSumner, William Graham. "},{"attributes":{"italic":true},"insert":"Folkways"},{"insert":". New York: Dover Publications, 1906.\n"}]}

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