My dear friend @joedale sent me a link to a TES discussion board about how to use Bloom's/Anderson's revised Taxonomy in the languages classroom. I was amazed by the negative nature of some of the responses that were posted claiming that our language learners could only ever get up to applying on the taxonomy as their language level is not good enough -rubbish say I!!!!
Anyway, I then spent a little time reflecting and wrote this post on the thread in reply...
"Hello! I think there is a little bit of confusion here about what Bloom's/Anderson's taxonomy is for. As Graham rightly points out, it is a generalised framework of higher order thinking skills. It is a way to look at the complexity of thinking a learner is using - however, it has nothing to do with linguistic outcomes and trying to artificially superimpose this taxonomy onto "what they need for GCSE French/Spanish/German etc" is wrong. This approach will lead to the disastrous situation where teachers think that learners can only function at the first three levels in a languages classroom because they do not have a sufficient level of language to write an evaluative essay on veil wearing. Put simply, we are teachers of languages but we should also be teachers of learning. I bet that every teacher here has talked to students about the best way to learn new vocabulary; lists, mind maps, word hooks, look cover spell check etc. By talking to the students about different ways to learn a language and giving them the chance to evaluate which works best for them, we are allowing learners to use higher order thinking skills. At the end of a series of lessons about the perfect tense in French, getting students to create a flow diagram to help others to form the tense correctly is an example of synthesising/creating. Analysing is about comparing constituent parts and deconstructing ideas/language - i.e. the best form of deductive grammar learning (rather than explicit grammar teaching). Evaluation is also about hypothesising - think about pre listening exercises before you attempt a gap fill - "what kind of word might fit in this space?" "a noun because there is a la before it"... Basically I think that we need to differentiate between learning language (memorising words and structures and using them - gets us up to "applying" on the taxonomy) and learning to be a better linguist (analysing constituent parts, hypothesising, bringing together different grammatical concepts to create a piece of writing or speaking which takes us right to the top!) We are doing a huge disservice to our children if we do not get them to think in language learning (something the exam boards do not do) as we are trying to create better language learners, not better exam passers! The entire Bloom/Anderson's taxonomy is applicable to language learning and we should be explicit with the learners talking to them about the different levels of thinking they are using.
As for De Bono's hats - I have an entire Y9 scheme of learning in French based on them! We take the topic of the environment and each lesson is based around one of the hats - Lesson 1; white hat thinking - we learn to use facts and figures about the environment. Lesson 2; black hat thinking - what are the problems to do with the environment? Lesson 3; yellow hat thinking; what are the positive things you do now? Lesson 4; red hat thinking - what are your opinions and feelings about the environment? Lesson 5 green hat thinking; use the future tense to say what you are going to do to be more environmentally friendly. Assessment? A letter to the European Commission - on the writing frame we have a different coloured hats next to each few lines to encourage the students to write a paragraph about each hat, therefore giving different points of view. So where is the blue hat? When I mark the work and give them feedback I am wearing my blue hat to suggest what else they could do to improve their work.
We should not be shying away from things that are accepted as being effective pedagogy and ways of thinking by saying that "you can't do that in languages". We can do anything in languages because, as we all know, linguists do it best."
Any comments or thoughts would be greatly welcomed!