Hi everyone, and welcome to the Effective Teaching Podcast. I'm your host. Dan Today. We are continuing our series applying how students learn to our classrooms. Now we've covered a lot so far in this series and actually think that possibly next week we might take a break from the series and I might actually provide something a little bit different and then we'll come back to this series.
But today what I want to look at is Bloom's taxonomy. Now I know that for most teachers they are familiar with blooms taxonomy. It has a lot of just general things in about how our brain works. And it's essentially kind of this hierarchy of thinking processes. So it starts at the bottom, the easiest thing that we need to work on with our students is for them to be able to remember something.
Once they can remember, then go up to understanding which is a bit harder. And here, we're explaining our key ideas and concepts, we then move up into apply where we're using information in new situations. And for me, I actually see understanding and applying kind of coming together. I actually see understanding is to be able to apply something in a different context to what you were taught it.
So, if you understand something really well, you can actually take those key concepts and apply it in another context. So if you learn how to, you know, break down a text and work out if it's trustworthy or not, if you can do that with an essay that your teacher did with you, that's great.
But if you can then apply that to a newspaper article and apply that to an email and apply that to a blog article and apply that to a book, you know, that's your ability to understand it. So, you applying it for me, I see them, very connected, The next step up is to then analyse things.
So, you're drawing connections between concepts and stuff that you need to be able to connect to understand what really to understand things really well. But also analyse that bit deeper. Then have a value-weight where we're justifying our decisions and the things that we decide are good or not good.
And that kind of stuff. And then the top level is to create where we're actually taking, what we something new. Now, the way most teachers use blooms taxonomy is that they will start at the bottom with their students and they'll start with some basic easy activities in the classroom where they might teach something to the students and ask them to be able to recall the facts about what they just taught them.
And then they'll move on to the idea of understanding it and the kids being added to explain the key concepts and ideas to each other and then they'll go on to applying it and then analysing evaluating. So they're kind of moving their activities up throughout the lesson and what that tends to do is that tends to keep everything that's happening in your classroom at the bottom, end of Bloom's, taxonomy, You really are always at the bottom of the Pyramid.
You don't have enough time in your lessons to do, more than that, if that's what you're doing in your classroom. If you're starting by teaching and getting your kids to recall and explain and then apply you really that's gonna take up most of your lesson. And then what teachers end up doing is they send homework home for the students and the homeworks have often involves this whole process of analysing evaluating or maybe even creating, and yeah, we do this throughout assignments, even we'll actually make our assignments and evaluate or for the students to create something using the knowledge that they have.
But we tell them to do this work at home, which I think is really backwards, you know. I'm actually a big advocate for flip learning and the reason why I am advocate for this is actually because it takes Bloom's taxonomy and it flips it around in terms of the amount of time spent on each level of the pyramid.
So your normal classroom will put most time into remembering and understanding and applying and have little time left in the class to do the analysing evaluating and creating, which is actually the point where I see students needing the teachers. The most Students can generally listen to stuff and learn to remember things without the help of a teacher, Don't really need the teacher for that bit.
And so If we can somehow take those lower order thinking skills, those remembering understandings and applying and shift them home, particularly that remembering and understanding to the home or at least to the students doing it outside of our classroom. It gives us so much more time in our classroom to then focus on helping our students doing those higher order, thinking skills, like analysing, evaluating and creating.
And so for me, flipped learning is about sending the easier stuff home rather than the harder stuff home. And so We're going to set things up so that the students are going to watch a video before they come or they're going to read an article or read a blog article or they're gonna read a chapter from a book or something before they come to class and you want them to do something with it before they come that shows that they actually paid attention.
Maybe they've taken some notes, maybe they've answered a short little quiz on it or maybe you're gonna start the lesson with the quiz but what that does is it allows us to then focus. Our help with the students on those higher auditing things thinking skills when they need us.
And this is super important, I think for us to leverage how students learn We need to be able to spend most of our time, with our students, on the bits that they struggle. With the most, There will always be here, students, who struggle to do the remembering, and you'll need to focus on helping them do that.
But if we can move things around and give students more independent time to do the remembering and understanding that then gives us more time in the classroom with the whole group, to be able to focus on helping them apply analyse evaluate, and then create. And this is also why I advocate things like enquiry based learning and project-based learning, is because we're bringing those high-order thinking skills into the centre of what you're doing.
When you use those strategies, When you use enquiry, you really helping your students to do the lower order stuff themselves and then they get to their questions and they're struggling with things. And that's when you step in to help them to analyse things or to help them evaluate something, or apply it to answering the question for enquiry, based learning or to helping them to create something with their project.
And so we're shifting the amount of time that we have with our students, into the higher order thinking skills. And so when it comes to, how students learn like, this is how things like they need to be building. And that's why this Bloom's text tell me you set up this way, is because the students need to build their understanding and their knowledge before they can really do high order thinking with it.
So we need to make sure our students really grasp that lower order stuff. They need to be out of a cool things. They need to be able to explain basic concepts and then they can begin to apply those concepts into multiple other concepts. So they're applying the concepts into the other contexts and that I think is super key to helping our students learn long-term for us to make sure they've really grasped, that It's kind of like the pre-knowledge that's needed for those higher order thinking skills, You can't jump straight into high order thinking skills.
If our students don't have the lower order thinking skills, already under grasp, you know, if they don't, they can't remember the facts that it's hard for them to analyse it. They can't draw connections between ideas, when they actually can't recall the ideas themselves. So if they can't recall, the facts that they need to then analyse, that makes it very difficult to analyse.
And so we need to be building up through blooms. It's kind of that prior knowledge type approach, but we also need to make sure that we are around in our classroom to help them. And so I think using approaches such as flip learning enquiry, based learning or project-based, learning really helps to do that, and I think there's a great book called understanding by design.
I actually interviewed Jay McTye, who's one of the authors of that book, that there's a three-part series in the podcast, you can go back and find it. And I've interviewed Jay about understanding by design, understanding by design is very much similar to, an enquiry, based learning approach. And I think it's really key for us to go back and understand that process when we're looking at our teaching.
So that process is really just about identifying the goals. You want to achieve identifying the learning outcomes and the evidence of learning you want and then designing your learning from there. But it's got these, you know, really key essential questions which are very similar to inquire-based learning's driving questions and project-based, learnings overarching questions.
And so we're looking at using these big questions to help drive things, which helps us to focus but also helps us to move. Kids forward on blooms taxonomy. And so using, flip learning you can blend flipped learning in with the other approaches. I find that's super helpful because it allows a lot better differentiation.
If you've already got the content ready for the students, whether it's in videos, or articles, or you've written up a page or two for them, or there's a section of the textbook, you want them to read, it can be anything for them to get that low order thinking themselves that frees you up to, then be with the students when they need it.
For those higher order, thinking skills. And I found when I did this, I actually even by to watch the videos in my classroom. I got so much more time with my students to work with them. On those high order thinking skills and that really helps students long-term because once they get the understand, the fact that they need to grasp the concepts, they'd be able to recall facts, need to be able to really identify and explain key ideas and the key concepts that they're going to apply.
Once they understand, they've got to do that and you tell them, you know, I want you to be able to do this by yourself as much as possible. Ask me if you struggle with this, but these are the easier part. Once you've got that, then we're going to do things with that.
And that's what I want to be there, to help them. And I found that it really just revolutionised my classroom. I found that my students were way more engaged during my lessons. They enjoyed my lessons, they found that I, suddenly found enjoying teaching, even because I could now do the activities that I enjoy doing with my students, where they were doing practical things, applying the concepts that they were learning through the videos that I sent home.
Or at first, I started off with just PowerPoints I sent in. The kids could read through the PowerPoints and stuff, and I put some notes underneath each slide and it was really helpful for them going forward. They did really well, you know, that was a year 11 and 12 classy this with, and they did really well for their HSC, one of my best classes I had.
And I think If we can start to find approaches that enable us to have the students, do the remembering and understanding in the individual learning space, that gives us more time with them. In the group spaces, whether it be small groups or large groups as they do, the applying analysing evaluate, even if that's still individual, you're still there to be able to help them.
And when they're in the classroom, they've got other kids. They can ask, they can help them, and you're developing their capacity for learning, because they start to collaborate with other students, they're working on their communication. We're we're there to help them to learn how to how to really put together a creative piece of writing or whether they're doing our creative project or something.
We are there to help them to work through the barriers that come up with that and to guide them through that and as they get to learn in this process, it really we're leveraging how their brain works and if we teach it explicitly to them, it will also help set them up.
Long term to be lifelong learners. Let's thank you so much for joining me for this episode. I think that this is a simple thing with blooms, but it's also a difficult thing for us to be, able to work out the balance, so that we can spend more time with the students in those higher order, thinking areas.
And I think that flip learning, you know, enquiry based learning and project-based learning a really the keys to getting us there. If, you know, another way that you've found that works really well for you. I'd love to hear from you. Please shoot me an email or come and connect with me on Instagram or something and send me a message.
I love to hear how else you're getting your students into those high order thinking skills in your classroom. Now, I also want to let you guys know that I have recently decided that I want to give away my book for free. So I wrote a book last year it's called Work Less.
Teach More how to be an effective teacher and live a life you love. And the whole point of this book is to help teachers to reduce their workloads that they can have life outside of school. But also maintain the effectiveness that they have inside schools. So they still having that impact on the students that they're teaching.
And so that's the goal of the book. And with current conditions, you know, I know here in Australia where I am we have a massive teacher shortage at the moment we have teachers who are way too. They're working way too hard at the moment. Like, it's hard for them to get a day off.
It's there's a lack of casuals around and it's really hard for them because there's no casuals that all their, you know, the relief time or non-face-to-face time is now getting taken up with covering for other teachers, who are sick, who are struggling, who are getting sick because they're burning out.
And so I wanted to make this book free for you. I just ask you cover, postage, and handling. If you would like to grab yourself a copy of this book, you can go to teacherspd.net slash free WLTM. So that's WLTM for work. Less, teach more and free before that because it's free.
So teachespd.net slash free WLTM. You can grab yourself a free copy of that book, just cover the postage, you're handling and I'll send it to you. I would love to get a copy of it into your hands for you to read a few, to apply it to your teaching into your life.
So that you can enjoy a long career in teaching where you're not getting burnt out. And you're actually have this great balance between what you're doing at school and what you're doing at home with your family, with your friends, having time for hobbies, I can't remember. As a teacher, it was so hard to have time for those hobbies and for your family and for work, but this book will really help you to do that.
I found a great system alert, a great system of how to do it. It's really big these kind of systems in business and so as I set up a business, I learnt heaps and I've then applied it to teaching and I found it very effective as I was a teacher and that then led me to writing this book to share it with everyone else because I want to help to reduce your workload and give you the life back that you really deserve.
As a teacher, You having such a great impact on students, you're changing people's lives and I want your life to not suffer because of that. So grab yourself a free copy of work, less, teach more at Teachers PD.net slash free WLTM. Thank you so much for coming and joining me.
If you enjoyed this episode, I would love you to leave me a review. It helps other people to find the podcast. It also helps me to know how the podcast is going. It gives me feedback, all that kind of stuff. Please leave me a review, make sure you subscribe, come back and join me next week where I'm actually gonna be talking a whole bunch about my book.
I'm gonna tell you what's in it, what you'll get because I do these episodes that are kind of like, book reviews. Want to give you insights into what you will learn from a book. And so, I haven't done that for my book yet. So I'm actually gonna do that for my book and share it with you because I'm doing, yeah, I'm giving them away for free, and I want you to come and get yourself a copy.
So Thanks so much. I'll catch you next week.