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The Broncos' voice. online resource (None) 198?-2005, October 01, 1993, Image 3

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A Blooming Education By Earl J. Moniz Back in 1956, an educational researcher named Benjamin S. Bloom devised a theory of the different levels of the cognitive domain in an attempt to determine the different levels of learning. There are six levels in his theory that have become known as the "Bloom model" or "Bloom’s taxonomy." These six levels are, in in creasingly more complex stages, knowl edge, comprehension, application, analy sis, synthesis, and evaluation. They are described thoroughly in "Stating Objec tives for Classroom Instruction," (Norman E. Gronland, 3rded., Macmillan Publish ing, 1985.). Briefly, knowledge is the simple recall ing of previously learned material. This level is the lowest level of learning. Comprehension is the ability to understand the meaning of the material being recalled. This level is a step above simple recall and is the lowest level of understanding. Ap plication is the ability to use learned material in the resolution of new and perplexing situations. Successful resolu tions of new problems at this level require a higher level ofunderstanding than simple comprehension. To this point, these levels of learning should be instilled and incul cated in all high school graduates. These levels provide the individual with the confidence to learn on the job, recall that learned information when necessary, modify the solutions to previously solved prob lems, and decide on a course of action for the situation at hand. Education is fairly simple and straightforward to this point. The main objective is to provide the stu dents with the wherewithal to succeed in their adult lives as employees and as members of society as well. The purposes of higher educational insti tutions must be to provide the more intellectually inclined or more personally motivated individuals with the opportunity to move above and beyond the simple success in personal OTdeavors. This institu tion, which, for our purposes we will call the Universitas, must encourage and el evate students above and beyond the simple learn, recall, and apply pattern of dealing with life situations. TThe Universitas must coax its students, as well as provide them the opportunities, to aspire to higher levels cognitive abilities in the resolution of more complex problems. The next level of learning is the analysis stage. At this point, the student must be able to break down complex material into its component parts in order to understand more easily the organizational structure of the subject being studied. Once the healthy organization is understood, the identifica tion of the causes of an unhealthy organiza tion, organism, or structure may be accom plished. The next level of this learning model is the synthesis stage. This level is character ized by the ability to take individual pieces and parts of analyzed organizations, organ isms, or structures learned in the previous stage and rearrange them into con^>letely new organizations, organisms, or struc tures. This stage could also be identified with creativity: the ability to put old pieces together to form a new whole, and to form completely new pieces from previous learning experiences as well. The final stage in the Bloom tax onomy is the evaluation stage. At this level, an individual is concerned with evalu ating and judging the quality of material for a given purpose. Upon reading a statement, poem, or research report, the individual should be able to break down the total into components and determine whether these indicates that much of the problem in education lies in the inability to instill in students the desire to search for the good life based on the search for truth. This argument may be one of the reasons why critical thinking is making such a surge in the “buzz word” vocabulary of many edu cators. Students have been lulled into a state of complacency by an educational system that believes it can manipulate the truth to its own whims and wishes. Stu dents must be alerted to the fact that learning is an active endeavor and that students must be critical about what is being taught. Don’t settle for a four-year coUege- levelhigh school education. Demandmore! How can students idraitify the level of learning being presented before the ordeal of an entire semester and final exams have passed? Simple. Each student is provided a syllabus at the beginning of each semester. A carefiil study of this syllabus will determine which level the professor is attempting to reach. Behavioral objectives like “knows, defines, selects, understands, summarizes, applies, solves, and predicts” are normally associated with the three lower levels of learning. Courses with objectives that limit themselves to these levels should be scrutinized thoroughly. Find other students with experiences with that professor and determine through your own values whether continued enrollmmt is worthwhile. Syllabi of courses that do not provide even these simple guidelines to objectives, or are absent of objectives en tirely, should be avoided. Higher level learning can be identified by behavioral objectives like “recognizes, distinguishes, categorizes, writes, inte grates, proposes, formulates, judges, ap praises, interprets, and criticizes. ” Profes sors teaching at this level will be challeng ing, inspiring, and thought-provoking, so, do not expect mediocrity here. These parts support the overall theme or purpose of the piece. In addition, if the purpose is not reached by the supporting evidence, the individual should be able to synthesize new theories or additional statements from previously learned material that will turn the piece into a stronger argument for the intended purpose. This level is the highest in the Bloom taxonomy because it involves the application of all previously learned information and final judgments are also influenced by individually held beliefs, morals, or concepts. In this fashion, the Universitas ideal is to push the student into the higher levels of learning and understanding. Many profes sors, too many, are satisfied to establish the application level as a final objective of their college studmts. This determination on the part of college professors produces college graduates with little more than high school graduate abilities. Simply put, these typ>es of professors are satisfied to produce college graduates with a degree without an education. Understandably, many students reach the college level without attaining evea the rudimentary level of application. Many teachers, too many once again, at lower grade levels also settle for lower levels of learning. This attitude produces high school graduates without their attain ment of even the fimdamental levels of learning. Many college professors lammt about having studmts that cannot write complete sentences or even devise a simple topic sentence for an essay. Is it any wonder that those high school graduates who have attained those fundamental levels get bored with college work, lose interest so quiddy, and yearn for stem professors with an inspiring and challeng ing message? Allan Bloom (What’s with all these “bloom”ing educators, anyway?), in his book, "The Closing ofthe American Mind,* professors will also appreciate creativity and umovation. Students can expect not only to learn while attaining high stan dards, but also to have fiin. Leamingcanbe fun... now there’s a tnily innovative con cept! When, and if, an effective, challenging, ^Cominued on next page)

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