The Impact of Last Week’s Seminar

Dr McGuire had plenty of good things to say about increasing our students’ motivation, but the notion of teaching our students Bloom’s Taxonomy had the greatest impact on me. I don’t think that Dr. McGuire was literally suggesting that we take a day of class to teach Bloom’s to our students, rather that we take advantage of “teachable moments” to enlighten our students and challenge them to analyze their learning process. I found myself, in the week following the seminar, pointing out to students where they were stuck at the memorizing stage of Bloom’s, and challenging them to think about how they might develop understanding. It also just so happened to be a week where my lecture topics were about applications and I found myself similarly trying to ask questions that would push my students into analysis and evaluation.

Of course, it is quite understandable that our first-year students come to us stuck in the first (maybe second) level of Bloom’s. With the current nearly exclusive focus on standardized exams, the concept of learning has been twisted into this grotesque notion that the purpose of education is to be able to vomit facts onto a scantron. Convincing our students otherwise is one of our greatest and most important challenges, and training our students to think about their learning process is the key.

3 thoughts on “The Impact of Last Week’s Seminar

  1. I have found that in private conversations I have spoken to students about Blooms Taxonomy but I do not believe I have made concerted efforts to explicitly do so in class. At times I mention “The next exam will be more about what you understand, not what you know about the topic” but I am unsure if that makes the same impact as the one on one conversations I have had.

    I will consider how to best incorporate Blooms concepts into my teaching.

  2. I would agree with the previous comments posted about Dr. McGuire’s presentation last week. What made an impression on me was her emphasis on creating an environment in the classroom that fosters self-confidence in students. She talked about giving students opportunities to do well and most importantly acknowledging their accomplishments, especially students that struggle with the subject matter. I could not agree more. Over the course of a semester there is a significant amount of information presented in the limited time-frame of a class. This can be isolating to students who take longer to process information and struggle to keep up. For such students receiving praise from an instructor can go a long way to boost the ego – something I believe to be an essential ingredient in the leaning process.

    • I have to teach about Bloom’s because we test according to the levels. For example, our exams are multiple choice questions that increase in ‘difficulty’ with each semester, moving up the Bloom pyramid from knowledge to analysis and synthesis. So, I have to prepare students as to testing methodology and expectations, along with the key wording/taxonomy. It is for them, eye-opening.

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