Review-Remind-Reflect # 10
Research-Based Instructional Model for Inquiry Teaching and Learning
Cultures of Thinking/ Putting Thinking at the Center
By: Dr. Jean Schmeichel
Background: In RRR#6-#9, We addressed a series of essential questions (E.Q.) to build a conceptual framework for why, how and what we need to do to support students in developing the kinds of thinking that will prepare them for success in and out of school. In RRR 9, we emphasized the Cultures of Thinking focus that learning/achievement occurs when the individual constructs new/deeper understanding aligned with the intended outcome of the lesson. This is what we mean by inquiry or constructivist teaching and learning that puts thinking at the center. I created The Authentic Academic Achievement (AAA) umbrella graphic organizer to help us visualize the five standards that frame and provide the context for this kind of instruction. In this article we are using the labels for the standards created by Ron Ritchhart as presented in RRR # 9.
In RRR # 10, we will relate the AAA inquiry instructional model, using R. Ritchhart’s terminology and concepts for the first four standards, to Bloom’s Taxonomy and Art Costa’s model of Intellectual Functioning. This will help us understand the kind of intellectual activity in which students need to engage in order to be processing at the critical and creative levels of thinking. In subsequent RRR articles we will examine each of the standards and their relationship to CoT and putting thinking at the center of instruction.
E.Q. 10: How does the AAA inquiry instructional model, using R. Ritchhart’s terminology and concepts for the first four standards, relate to Bloom’s Taxonomy and Art Costa’s model of Intellectual Functioning?
When we examine Ron Ritchhart’s definition of Novel Application, we find that he uses the terminology for higher order thinking, (HOTS) e.g. “apply, organizing, interpreting, evaluation or synthesizing prior knowledge and skills …. to solve novel problems or form new judgments….” (Ron Ritchhart, 2010, Handout at Oakland Schools, MI. professional development, fall, 2013 “Creating Powerful Learning Opportunities For Students.”) See RRR # 9 for more details about the definition of terms used to describe the standards.
This standard links us with Bloom’s Taxonomy of Thinking. Let’s take a little time to try to more accurately understand what Benjamin Bloom was trying to convey to educators with this taxonomy. The term taxonomy means structure. Bloom’s Taxonomy of Thinking is a structure that illustrates the kinds of thinking necessary to generate new or deeper insights and understanding or knowledge. If we study Bloom more deeply it appears that he did not mean for this taxonomy to be seen as a hierarchy of thinking where some levels of thinking were considered more advanced or more important than others. He also did not intend to convey that we always start at the bottom of the taxonomy and worked ourselves to the top.
In fact, as we encounter issues and problems in life, our thinking can begin at any of the levels and our thinking follows a recursive process as we draw conclusions and solve problems. This may be best illustrated by first looking at Art Costa’s Model for Intellectual Functioning. The proportional dimensions of this model indicate that when we are learning, e.g. constructing new knowledge or understanding, we need to spend about twice as much time in the processing stage of thinking as in either the input or the output stage. The processing stage, (applying-evaluation that results in synthesizing to form new insights) is what Bloom would call higher order thinking.
The arrows in the Costa model indicate that our thinking is recursive as we learn. Our thinking moves back and forth through the stages depending on the insights generated. This in turn uncovers where we need to go next in our thinking in order for us to move forward in solving our problem, resolving our issue or deepening our understanding.
When we superimpose Bloom’s Taxonomy of Thinking, often referred to by practionners as the Three Story Intellect, on Costa’s model of intellectual functioning, we get a much clearer idea of what Bloom intended to convey and what he means by higher order thinking. Blooms Taxonomy of thinking fits with Costa’s model of Intellectual Functioning and helps o describe the kind of intellectual activity that facilitates each stage of learning. (See graphic below). It is important to note the kind of thinking students will be engaged in at the input, processing and output stages. During instruction this helps us identify the extent to which we have moved student thinking to the processing stage where each student constructs new meaning and understanding for the self. This is when learning takes place.
- Relating Bloom’s Cognitive Taxonomy to Art Costa’s Recursive Model of Intellectual Functioning.
RRR # 11 will explore revised models of Bloom’s Taxonomy that convey the recursive nature of learning and the first standard for inquiry instruction, Novel Application.