English Language Learners Hone Thinking Skills With Bloom Taxonomy

Sharon with Fezeka students, Cape Town
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: teachandlearn via Compfight

English language learners (ELLS) should be developing thinking skills as they acquire English,and they should be asked critical thinking questions from all levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Bloom Taxonomy assumes that what we learn at lower level impacts our learning at higher level. It gives importance to skills and prerequisite knowledge that an educator must impart to students at lower level…In order to create a more holistic form of education, it divides educational objectives into three “domains”: CognitiveAffective, and Psychomotor. Bloom’s Taxonomy aims to motivate educators to focus on all three domains.- Wikipedia

ELLs’s lack of the language and vocabulary to work in English makes this a difficult task for teachers, still questions from all levels of the taxonomy that are age appropriate must be asked.

Michelle Edwards’ book, titled, Pa Lia’s First Day gives examples at each level of the taxonomy.

At Level 1 stands Knowledge, where beginners should be asked questions which could be answer in yes or no. Pictures, drawings, and realia will help students give the correct answer.

At Level II, known as Comprehension, students can be asked to contrast, compare, illustrate, and classify. Questions can be asked through Venn Diagrams and T-charts.

At level III, Application, previously learned facts help students solve problems. ELLs might need scaffolding and word banks to build, choose, construct, develop, organize, plan, select, solve, and identify.

At Level IV,  Analysis, learners may not have sufficient vocabulary to express response in English. At this level, teachers should ask students to refer to textbook. Students should be asked to find the sentences like “How do we know Pa La felt nervous?  in the story.

Level V talks about Synthesis while Level VI deals with Evaluation. At level V students are supposed to provide alternative solutions. For this, the book has framed questions like “Pa Lia is a new student at school and she has no friends. How would you solve Pa Lia’s problem?

Questions at level VI of Bloom’s taxonomy can be modified so that the language is simplified but the task remains the same. At this stage, standard of learning should be elevated to a level, which enables students to make judgments about the action in a story. Learners should also be asked to evaluate work of an author.

Questions like “What didn’t you like about the story? Why?’ tests students levels of learning at this level.

Adapted from “Bloom’s taxonomy and English language learners”, EverythingESL.

To know more about the questions that help in developing critical thinking among ELLS, click here.




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