I was reminded by Dr. McGuire that it is important to re-iterate the ideas in Bloom’s taxonomy and to instill these concepts into general practice with the students. Teaching General Biology, we often meet resistance from the students. They simply don’t want to be there and they take it because they have to. What is the goal for reading an assignment? “To finish the reading.” We’re reminded of how explanations of expectations and minding the motivational levels of our students can help us adapt to their needs.
The lowest level of Blooms is the act of Remembering. As students come in to the class on the first day, they will tell me that they are not good at the Sciences. They believe that Science is rote memorization. But I remind them to treat Science as a language. In order to excel at a language, one must practice it. When explaining Bloom’s to my students, I often inform them that the things we see in action in stem from Creating and Evaluating. Rote memorization of jargon and differentiating it from the vernacular is the challenge that students should undertake in order to have an ability to seek out a more meaningful appreciation of the course. Does it really help to explain Bloom’s to students? This can influence the way that students prepare for exams. But this also requires them to have a higher awareness of what each level actually means.
Dr. McGuire also focused on the aspect of metacognition that tends to plague the students. They’re assessments of themselves and their prior knowledge challenge their progress in the course. Finding ways of having the students assess themselves when reading their texts so that they are not simply trying to finish is a difficult task and continues to plague any meaningful processing of the material. This is a particular nuisance with first year students since they often invoke numerous incorrect pieces of prior knowledge that can interfere with self-assessment. I feel that this is the greatest challenge and I wished there was greater discussion about this topic during the workshop.