Friday, April 20, 2012

A Puzzling Objective

At first, it was kind of surprising to see Bloom’s taxonomy back on stage. Anyone who has been in college in the western hemisphere may be familiar with that taxonomy but it might be a bit hard to hear that someone is using it today (in my geographic context, at least). For some reason, this taxonomy faded away, probably to give way to new teaching approaches like Task-based or Competency-based learning in many institutional arenas. Perhaps, some of the reasons, if I recall well, was that Bloon was closer to the Structuralist/Behavioristic approaches for language teaching and learning by relying too much on conditioning “verbal behavior” and less on “success indicators”. It was also accused (by some) as being teacher/form-centered and less student-centered. For instance, there are 2 updated books on my desk from 2 very distinguished ESL authors (gurus) from both sides of the atlantic where Bloom or his taxonomy is not even mentioned in the bibliography.  (For ethical reasons I will not mention names here, but you may request the authors and book titles by e-mail)

Therefore, I was curious to know why it survived in the University of Oregon. To begin with, I was not aware of the review made by Anderson and Krathwohl (2002), or the work made on the knowledge dimension by one OU staff, Dianna Fisher. That is a very interesting work and it adds value to the taxonomy. 

Now, when it comes to writing an objective for language learning, I realized that there are many factors or elements that merge on the teacher´s desk. What should, in my opinion, be taken into account? Students language knowledge or level, Standards alignment, the type of knowledge dimension in target expressed by its category, level of cognitive order, linguistic skill to be developed, means to achieve the objective, and the product you wish to obtain in order to judge the final performance. For that reason, writing an ABCD objective is not a goal, but it is part of a whole broad equation. Oops!, did I forget to mention the slot for Web 2.0 tools?

To wrap up, I must say that even though I may not be finding myself writing ABCD objectives for everything I teach, knowing its benefits have given me a better perspective in terms of the essentials called to play. Teaching with objectives in mind should provide a clearer focus and a paved path to teaching and learning.


  1. Hello Julio! Without flattering, your blog is great, as well as the posts that you write. Certainly, there is much to be learned from you.Your reflections on Bloom's taxonomy are interesting, too. One thing that I would like to note here is that the key issue, as we all know, is that teachers must have clear ideas what they want to achieve prior to starting anything else, and that those ideas i.e. objectives are not stated just for the sake of stating them. In addition to that, again as we all know, the stress is on what the students will be able to do with the acquired knowledge. Now, whether Bloom's or someone else's taxonomy is current or dated is maybe not that important in this context.
    I couldn't agree more with you that all those factors that you mentioned come into play when it comes to writing good objectives for language learning.
    Have a great weekend, Dzemal

  2. Hi Dzemal,
    Thank you for stopping by and leave a nice comment here. I am glad that my ideas could come through, you paraphrased everything well. One thing, it was not my intention at all to highlight that Bloon´s taxonomy was dated, I just wrote about a general frame on it. I am clear now that Bloom´s is alive and kicking and that it provides a good workbench for creating meaningful objectives. It is really useful when it comes to integrate ICT since you have a clear idea of the products and web tools as means to achieve your goals. I hope to benefit from your thoughtful comments again in the future. Best.

  3. Hi Julio,
    It's good to have you and Dzemal in this class, the points of view of two university lecturers are really useful to those of us who have been in the classroom at school for a long time. Thanks!
    Mari Carmen

  4. Hey Julio!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in reference to Bloom´s Taxonomy. Absolutely! It was left aside due to its closeness to behaviorism. However, I think it comes handy and can be adapted to cognitivism. Just the fact that we can visualize the verbs that go with each cognitive domain level -remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating and creating-, can help us plan our objectives.

    Best regard,

  5. Hi Julio, I enjoy a lot your blog, I think you are a very experimented teachear and it is very enriching for all of us, because one of my personal objectives is to learn about other the best practices in other countries, and I think you are a very good example in your country.

    You posted very interesting insights and conclusions about week's work.

    I think this is the result of your passion for teaching and your excellence spirit, so please keep your enthusiastic behavior in favor of BTS-IW 2012 Generation!!!

    Best Regards,
    Diana Lira

  6. Thank you all for your comments. I am sure this constructivist arena will benefit all of us equally.