In our next installment of articles about English for Academic Purposes, Ann Snow, a series consultant for Q Skills for Success, explores the levels of critical thinking in Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive objectives has been around for a long time. Since 1956, it has served as a guide for teachers to think about how they can design lessons that will help their students to think critically. Basically, the taxonomy designed by Benjamin Bloom and his colleagues provides a way to describe levels of thinking. The taxonomy is essentially a hierarchy, with knowledge as the first level and evaluation as the sixth level. I’ve listed the six levels below and included an example of each in parentheses.
- Knowledge – recalling information (e.g. answering comprehension questions from a reading)
- Comprehension – interpreting information (e.g. discussing why a character behaved in a particular way)
- Application – using knowledge gained to solve problems (e.g. applying information from one situation to a different situation in a debate activity)
- Analysis – breaking down concepts or ideas to understand the relationship of the parts to the whole (e.g. analyzing prefixes to see how word meanings change)
- Synthesis – putting together something original from learned information (e.g. writing an essay; making an oral presentation)
- Evaluation – judging something against specific criteria (e.g. peer editing using a checklist or rubric)