Critical Thinking Tools: Bloom’s Taxonomy

Education professionals have long tried to find a way to help students effectively develop critical thinking skills in simple and accessible ways. And such methods have been found. One of them is Bloom’s taxonomy. It is a tool that is a hierarchical model of thinking skills, which consists of six different levels. 

What Is Bloom’s Taxonomy? 

The taxonomy of educational goals includes: 

  • Knowledge — memorization and reproduction of the studied topic. 
  • Understanding — interpretation of the received information. 
  • Application — the practical use of data in a particular situation. 
  • Analysis — processing data in parts for better understanding. 
  • Synthesis is the combination of ideas to create something new. 
  • Evaluation — the formation of conclusions with the help of criteria and standards.

At each level, certain algorithms for the operations of mental activity are mastered.

How to apply Bloom’s taxonomy? 

One useful technique for developing critical thinking using this tool is the “Question Daisy.” It consists of six types of questions: 

1) Simple questions — Who? When? Where? How? 

They presuppose knowledge of certain facts. 

2) Clarifying questions — Did I understand correctly…? 

Their goal is to obtain missing information that could be implied in the available data. 

3) Practical questions — How can I apply…? 

Used to establish a link between theory and practice. 

4) Explanatory questions — Why? 

They are needed to establish causal relationships. 

5) Creative questions — What will happen if…? 

Needed to predict the outecomes of a decision. 

6) Evaluation questions — How do you feel about it? 

They define the criteria for evaluating events.

There is another interesting technique called “Bloom’s Cube.” Its task is to check the assimilation of knowledge by the student. The die has 6 faces on which questions should be written that touch on different aspects of the current topic. After choosing the topic of the lesson, the student rolls the die and comes up with a question on the educational material, depending on the face that fell out. And the questions can be the most different. For example:

  • Describe (shape, size, color, name, etc.)
  • Compare (compare a given object or phenomenon with similar ones, indicate similarities and differences)
  • Name the association (with what you associate an object, a phenomenon)
  • Make an analysis (what it consists of, how it works, etc.) 
  • Apply (give examples of use or show application) 
  • Evaluate (indicate all the “pluses” and “minuses”)

A question starting with the word “Name …” may correspond to the level of reproduction, i.e., the simple reproduction of knowledge. Questions starting with the words “Why …” correspond to procedural knowledge. Children in this case must find causal relationships and describe the processes that occur with a particular object or phenomenon. When formulating the question “Explain …” the student analyzes the studied material, and when answering, they apply knowledge to new practical situations.

The taxonomy of Benjamin Bloom provides practical assistance to the modern teacher, and it is an effective tool in the hands of a practicing teacher both in teaching students how to solve problems and in evaluating learning outcomes.