Higher Order Thinking Skills

I find it’s common for students (of all ages) to say ‘they know something’.

I’m fond of challenging them with three questions.

First, “How do you know what you know?”
This question is designed to help them to reflect and evaluate what exactly they know and where they got their information.

The typical student response is usually one of two answers:  (1) “I did X” (where X is: the assignments, the units, the chapter, etc.  or, (2)  “I got an A on the test!” = school tasks.
Neither of these is a sufficient evaluation of learning, for me.

In my opinion, the ultimate goal for school and teaching is to foster an educated populace. But what does that mean?
Nearly every school district in the country touts “Critical Thinking” in their Mission Statement and a cornerstone of the often used and misguided “21st Century Skills.”

I strongly agree that critical thinking is important. But simply, critical thinking cannot occur in the absence of HIGHER ORDER THINKING SKILLS.  Memorizing a bunch of facts (Knowledge) is not going to develop critical thinking.

Memorizing a bunch of facts (Knowledge) is not going to develop critical thinking students.

I believe in fostering in students the tools to articulate what they’ve learned and know to be important. Confidence is dramatically increased when students can share what they learned vs what they did.  Importantly, creating students who are confident, and hence willing to argue because they have a personal toolbox– or repository of reasonings and justifications

“So What?”

My second favorite questions to ask students is “So What?”

Students should be confident in their learnings and willing to argue because they have a personal toolbox– or repository of reasonings, evaluations, experiences, and justifications.  If you’re a “critical thinker” and not willing to step-up and challenge others intellectually, what good is it?

Their confidence should be buoyed by an open mind, or as Aristotle is quoted as saying: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

The critical thinking muscle is strengthened when it wrestles with new, different, and competing data, information, and ideas.  Gathering new and different information and either modifying one’s own views or strengthening existing ideas, is part of growing and the continuous learning process we should want in anybody.

“Show Me”

I am most fond of students creating demonstrations of their understandings.  Using Web 2.0 tools, students can integrate images, graphics, photographs, videos, sights, and sounds that allow them the freedom & flexibility to express their learnings in ways that are meaningful to them. These public displays can be shared and built upon and I find that

These public displays can be shared easily with links,  integrate collaboration, modified, and used as in learning portfolios over time.

 

Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognition

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a framework that helps teachers categorize educational objectives and increase the rigor of their questions to deepen understanding. The key is to move students from lower levels of factual recall to levels of higher thinking and understanding. graphic that helps guide teaching and learning for higher-order thinking.

The goal is to work from the foundation (lower levels) to the top of the pyramid

The following image includes the original taxonomy of cognition (1956) next to its revised version (2001).

This original taxonomy by psychologist Benjamin Bloom is 60 years old. The taxonomy on the right is the recent adaptation and redefined work of Bloom in 2000-01, by Lorin Anderson and David Krathwohl. The revision included people with expertise in the areas of cognitive psychology, curriculum and instruction, and educational testing, measurement, and assessment.

The revision included people with expertise in the areas of cognitive psychology, curriculum and instruction, and educational testing, measurement, and assessment.

The “NEW Bloom’s Taxonomy” also took into consideration many of Bloom’s own concerns and criticisms of his original taxonomy.(1)

IMAGE COMPARISON: Changes in Blooms Taxonomy 1956 to 2001

More details on HOW to use Bloom’s Taxonomy can be found here–> with BLOOM’s VERBS (pdf), VERBS & ASSESSMENT TYPES, and the following image (click for larger image):

Best Bloom's Taxonomy Chart from http://www.educatorstechnology.com

In conclusion, develop higher thinking skills and help move students from “this is what I did” to be able to explain what they learned and why it’s important.

 

Sources: (1) http://thesecondprinciple.com/teaching-essentials/beyond-bloom-cognitive-taxonomy-revised/
Images: https://globaldigitalcitizen.org  &  http://www.educatorstechnology.com

Takeaways from the 2015 Stanford Graduate School of Business Entrepreneur Symposium

Technical and…enlightening presentation on the future of Internet of Things

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