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Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

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Textbooks annoy me somewhat. Using them as a balanced resource within a classroom full of discussion and activity is fine but to be honest, how much do you, as an educator rely on the textbook?

The textbook companies design their books for the average child with the average teacher. Harsh, but an honest assessment. They are totally living in a land of knowledge, facts and shoving as much of that knowledge into a child as they can. I review a lot of textbooks and have used and seen every textbook going, the majority( 99.9%) of them are written under the premise of knowledge of a given subject with some of the activties moving to an incomplete understanding. Many of the textbooks do not follow our curriuculum, ignore technology and a blended way of learning.

They are also boring, to me. What frightens me even more is that some of the textbooks (particularly the Gaeilge textbooks) ar going back a few centuries and using “nostalgic” ways of teaching Irish. Many teachers prefer these old-fashioned, no messing, traditional approach to teaching but looking at the our weak performance in Irish, these do not work. They also ignore the learner, the child. Most, of all, these textbooks work on a simple premise:

Give information. Test the child with 50 different types of questions. Throw in a crossword (for the fun element!) and test them again at many occasions. Call it assessment and use the word “differentiation” in the Teachers’ Manual. Get some brilliant artist to make some nifty posters and for the piece de resistance- A CD to accompany the book or how about a web link? That proves we are with it, innovative and most of all, we are SMART learners!

I’m sure you have heard of a wonderful man called Benjamin Bloom. He invented a little thing called Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s basically a way of categorising the different ways of learning in a scale of 1-6. When, you reach 6, according to Bloom, the learner has complete mastery  of the subject matter. I like this image I found of a representaion of Bloom’s Taxonomy in a digital teacher way. Have a look, do you use any of these tools? Well done, if so! If you stay in the bottom 3 though, that’s bad news! ;(

It is brilliant though, the taxonomy. It’s old! 1950s! But Isn’t it what we all want as true educators?

Again, looking through a huge sample of textbooks, I found they all stayed on the bottom rung of Bloom’s taxonomy, those being knowledge and understanding.

How will the students in our class ever get a holistic learning experience of they are subjected to these from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m. Simply put, they won’t.

The curriculum works on this premise, beginning with the knowledge and understanding and then moving up the scale in the older classes. I think that the 6 rungs of Bloom’s Taxonomy can be reached within, even the Infant classes. It should at least be an aim for teachers and the learners, the children. taken from this interesting website.

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