This is an email that I received as part of the ABC Teaching Science Discussion List, earlier this year, from Jennifer Riggs, a Brisbane Teacher, who has written about Bloom's... here is an extract:
"The aim? To work towards higher levels, to produce excellence. Even when the given topic only asks the student to ‘give an account of’, an account that is developed to the point of evaluation will be recognised as superior work.
Teachers of ‘the gifted’ are advised to keep them working at the end of the range – why only the gifted?
Parents and teachers who inspire and encourage the young to higher levels are encouraging giftedness, raising performance towards potential. (In fact teachers, and sometimes parents, don’t always recognise giftedness and the more we treat every child as gifted, the more we can expect some really nice surprises – with late Bloomers?)
The beauty is that it works. Quite easily too. No need to conscientiously work through the whole lot every time - the more basic stages take care of themselves. At the top of the ladder the lower rungs have already been negotiated. In ‘Bloom’ each category includes or subsumes the one before it (one can hardly apply something until one knows and comprehends, nor can one analyse or synthesise without having mastered the previous stages).
How to do it? Simply by moving towards higher stages in informal ways. A child who from early days understands the word and the concept of ‘house’ (knowledge and comprehension) could be led to think about:
• what it takes to build one, what goes into a house (analysis)
• planning an ideal house, making a cubby or a model (synthesis)
• evaluating one’s own product and houses in the environment or in illustrations (evaluation)
An assignment could well follow the Bloom pattern, starting with explanation and definition, as the introduction (Knowledge & Comprehension) followed by function etc. (Application) and going on to a breakdown of the topic (Analysis) and constructive thinking on the subject (Synthesis), culminating in the necessary conclusion, which is a fitting place for evaluative thinking …
A more sophisticated assignment model could differentiate tasks, so that students aiming for excellence can go straight to a complex product, subsuming earlier stages, whereas others could choose to do a similar amount of work at a lower level of consolidation and/or enquiry. The final evaluation could include the peer review that is such an essential part of high level academic work.
Every missed opportunity to press on to evaluation and metacognition denies the challenge that leads to an improved product.
When students know about the Bloom strategy, they begin to activate it in their own work, and that is the way to lift themselves from C’s to B’s to A’s." Jennifer Riggs (2009, 4/6/09 - Email to ABC Science Teaching Discussion List).
This position and thinking is very important when teachers are constructing lessons, resources and, particularly WebQuests! Raise the benchmark when giving students Higher Order Thinking Skill Activities! They will relish the challenge!
If you would like to contact Jennifer yourself, here is her email address: Jennifer Riggs [firstname.lastname@example.org]