Saturday, January 31, 2015

backward Bloom...

The following is from InformEd, an online commentary for educators, an article on Bloom's Taxonomy that I'd been asked to reference in the blog. I've done it, but not in the way they intended.
"Broken down into pieces, anyone can understand the basics of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Even though Bloom himself used heavy academic language to create his Taxonomy, most of it makes a lot of sense. The word taxonomy means classifications or structures. When broken into its three parts, the categories seem almost simple.
  1. First, there’s the cognitive domain made up of the intellect where knowledge is stored and thinking takes place.
  2. Then, the affective domain embodies feelings, emotions, and behaviors giving us attitudes.
  3. Finally, the psychomotor domain consists of skills or tasks people do manually.
According to Bloom, each level must be mastered before graduating to the next. So, each category contains various levels within, becoming more challenging when moving forward."
This order of domains may seem quite rational and all well and good if looking at things from the conventional academic perspective. From the view of learning presented by the hands it's backwards. Early educators like Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel and Dewey, and educational psychologists like William James would have noted that the "psychomotor domain" is the point from which learning is launched, and that the affective domain provides through interest, the foundation for intellectualized exploration. In schools, the common approach is cart before horse.

We make huge mistakes in American education by failing to note the natural order of human development. We learn best by doing. As I've said before, the principles of educational Sloyd would be far more useful to educators than Bloom's Taxonomy. According to those principles, learning should  start with the interests of the child and thence move forward from the known to the unknown, from the easy to the more difficult, from the simple to the complex and from the concrete to the abstract.

Education has become disembodied... a ghost of what it could be if the hands were involved in it. Turning the ghost into real life is where the arts can come into play. Robert Keable Row in the Educational Meaning of Manual Arts and Industries, 1909 wrote:
"A study of the art of primitive peoples shows us that one form of art invariably begins with an attempt to decorate an article that has been constructed for some practical purpose. This seems to be a natural sequence. When one gets control of a practical activity the aesthetic impulse seeks its opportunity, its medium, for expression as an accompaniment of the practical. The utilitarian product expresses the purpose of the worker; the decorative element expresses the emotional attitude. This feeling may be pride in the result of the labor, or in ownership of the product, of a sense of joy in contemplation of what seems beautiful in decoration itself."
Make, fix and create...

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