“Bloom where you are planted” is a popular saying attributed to many ancient sources. The Salesians credit founder St. Francis de Sales for the inspiration. I would like to use the saying in a different context, however. I will explore it’s meaning within the popular learning domains developed under the educational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Bloom known as “Bloom’s Taxonomy.”
Bloom’s Taxonomy, or classification, was developed in the mid-twentieth century in order to promote higher forms of thinking in education. Bloom recognized three distinct domains of learning: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. These domains focus on knowledge, feelings and emotions, and manual or physical skills. In this post we’ll concentrate on the cognitive domain.
The cognitive domain involves knowledge and the development of intellectual skills. According to Bloom, and many millions of educators since, there are six categories of cognitive processes: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. By the year 2000, however, these six categories were edited to change the categories from nouns to verbs, and rearranged the last two categories. These changes are reflected below.
We can see that the domain knowledge has been changed to remembering, comprehension to understanding, application to applying, analysis to analyzing, evaluation to evaluating, and synthesis to creating. The shift from noun to verb is significant as it illuminates the need for active learning with engaged students.
Bloom’s Taxonomy for Catechesis
Let’s see how this can be translated to the world of catechesis in the chart below.
So we can see that if we take the topic of our example, parables, the first step is remembering. Students should be able to remember that a parable is a story that Jesus told. Second, the understanding is that the story teaches a moral. The third step of learning is that the application is applied to a specific parable. The Mustard Seed is a story that when applied, means that faith, ever so small, can become powerful enough to move mountains. Students would be able to recognize that life situations. no matter how big or overwhelming, can be overcome with faith. The fourth level of learning is analysis. Students should be able to look at the parts of the story. For example, there is typically a context for the story, Jesus offers an illustration, people listen, deductions are made,and the result is the teaching purpose or a moral is brought forward. Next, students should make an evaluation. How do they feel about the story, what does it mean in real life, and do they like it. Finally, creating is the last step. Can they make something new from the story. Can they create a song, poem, or other representation that effectively communicates student understanding and understanding to the audience.
Call to Action
By using Bloom’s Taxonomy for catechesis, catechists are challenged to reflect on lesson content to consider whether they utilize all levels of learning. Are we stopping at remembering or are we presenting enough challenge for the students to go into greater depth with our topics? Ultimately, we are enabling students to move through the learning stages to the point where they also comprehend the meaning of the lesson topics, can apply them to different scenarios, analyze the parts, evaluate the meaning, and thus recreate the content in new ways!
For further reflection and to try other catechetical topics go to the Free Downloads page on www.TransformingCatechesis.com and download the free chart to try it for yourself. Make Bloom’s Taxonomy work for you!
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