Friday, October 14, 2011

Bloom's taxonomy and English language teaching in primary education

Bloom's taxonomy revisited for ELT in Primary Education
Our English language learners should be developing thinking skills as they acquire English.

English language teachers should ask suitable thinking questions from all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy adapting, the language, the age level and taking into account children’s multiple intelligences. Some of the tasks on the taxonomy are difficult for learners in primary because they lack the language and vocabulary to work in English. But, even very young children can work at the Evaluation and Creation levels if we plan appropriate activities.

Level 1: Knowledge/Remember. Questions of this level are the most frequently used in the first stages of primary ELT, because students are at the first level of English language acquisition. Answers to the questions can be made using yes/no or embedded answers. Flashcards, drawings, and realia will help students give the correct answer. Remember (recognition), match, list, sing, colour, chant... are typical activities at this level.

Level 2: Comprehension. At this level students can understand the facts. In primary we use this level of questioning a lot. We ask students to describe, complete, illustrate or draw.

Level 3: Application. At this level students might need scaffolding and word banks to solve several problems by using previously learned facts in a different way. We ask students to choose, construct, explain, organize, plan, select, solve, and identify.

Level 4: Analysis. At this level students have not got enough vocabulary and language to express responses in English. So they will need teacher scaffolding to classify, contrast, categorize, sequence and interpret facts.

Level 5: Evaluation. At this level teachers have to modify the language of the questions to be simplified, but the task should remain the same. Some tasks at this level are giving opinions, making judgments about stories, comparing and evaluating the work of classmates in English.

Level 6: Creation/ Synthesis. Students will need lots of support and scaffolding to answer questions at this level, because they are asked to compile information in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern. Synthesis is particularly difficult. Some tasks at this level are to combine, create, design, develop, imagine, make up, predict and solve.

But, apart from cognitive questioning and responses, we also have to take care of affective and psycomotor aspects. 

Bloom's taxonomy: not only revisited but also implemented. Coming soon!

Enric Calvet, 2011. Adapted from Haynes, Julie “Bloom’s taxonomy and English Language Learners”

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