Sunday, January 18, 2015

Bloom's taxonomy...

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tax·on·o·my takˈsänəmē/ noun

the branch of science concerned with classification, especially of organisms; systematics. the classification of something, especially organisms. "the taxonomy of these fossils" a scheme of classification. plural noun: taxonomies "a taxonomy of smells"

Bloom's taxonomy was an attempt to systematize and intellectualize an understanding of the learning process. Occasionally, when I've described the Theory of Educational Sloyd as outlined by Salomon, people have said, "That's like Bloom's Taxonomy." The following is from Wikipedia:
Bloom's taxonomy is a way of distinguishing the fundamental questions within the education system. It is named after Benjamin Bloom, who chaired the committee of educators that devised the taxonomy. He also edited the first volume of the standard text, Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.
Bloom's taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three "domains": cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as "knowing/head", "feeling/heart" and "doing/hands" respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom's taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.
Bloom's taxonomy is considered to be a foundational and essential element within the education community. A mythology has grown around the taxonomy, possibly due to many people learning about the taxonomy through second hand information. Bloom himself considered the Handbook "one of the most widely cited yet least read books in American education".
I've often tried to introduce my readers to a more easily understood framework for planned learning. It comes from Educational Sloyd, and while very few in education, it being as intellectualized as it is, would be willing to find anything of value as a "take-a-way" from manual arts training, it can apply as a teacher's guide for all things children might learn in school.

Educational Sloyd laid things out as follows:
  • Start with the interests of the child.
  • Move incrementally from the known to the unknown,
  • from the easy to more difficult,
  • from the simple to the complex and
  • from the concrete to the abstract.
I add to this, that the end of all educational endeavors should also be in the concrete expression of knowledge, not left solely in the abstract.

What I would see as an error in Bloom's taxonomy is that it starts with abstract learning, and appears to end at a higher point in the same place. How is "knowledge" to be attained?

When children are engaged right off the bat in doing real things, those real things drive learning beyond the intellectualization of it. My own taxonomy would start and end in the child's concrete creative experience. Bloom's consists of a list of objectives that gives the educator the impression that it is OK to hammer concepts into the child's head. That may seem quite acceptable to those schooled in conventional education, but I would rather see the kid do the hammering. And I suggest that Salomon's Theory of Educational Sloyd gives a more useful grip on curriculum design.

As you can see, my hinge slot cutting machine is complete. It is not as large as it may appear, as it's designed to use on the workbench and to be put away between uses.

Make, fix and create...

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