Questions, questions..


  Image from Patrick Hoesly Flickr

(An account of the research time from the 22nd February 2010 Training Day)

 I started by planning my day with the Accelerated Learning (AL) framework and allocated the time available:

  • Connection: What I know and don’t know about Bloom’s Taxonomy. What are the problems I’m having and what are the opportunities?
  • Activation: time to read some of the material being sent my way: a quick review of the VLE resources, The Trigger Verbs document by Ron Roody (as appeared on Doug Belshaw’s Blog) and longest of all on Harpaz and Leftstein ‘Communities of Thinking’ article.
  • Demonstration: Create a resource to help me improve questioning techniques.
  • Consolidation: Think about how I might use this. Produce a summary of what I feel I have learned today.


Teachers ask questions and students answer them, right? That’s the way we do things. But am I asking the right questions? And are the right students answering them? And if questions are useful – what happens if I’m not there to ask them?

 Harpaz and Leftstein argue that the comfortable answering pedagogy teachers use doesn’t challenge or undermine our thinking. They argue that  we need to ‘upset the cognitive equilibrium to which we aspire – a state in which experience may be assimilated by mental schemes without difficulty’ (my italics).

 As Geoff Hancock argues in ‘What makes an outstanding lesson’, learners need to be guided to assess work for themselves. Quoting the Ofsted lesson observation criterion he reminds us that there needs to be ‘thorough and accurate assessment that informs learners how to improve’ (again, my italics)

 So shouldn’t we be thinking about how to equip the students with a version of Bloom’s Taxonomy to enable them to develop their cognitive processes rather than just the teachers?

 That made the focus for the session a little clearer. I wanted a create a resource for students to use to help prompt their thinking.

 I found Ron Rooney’s ‘Learning Objectives: Trigger Verbs’ a very helpful starting point for my own questioning, so I thought I might be able to adapt it in to a series of generic prompts for students.

 So what is it to have ‘Knowledge’? To me it seems to be the basic nuts and bolts – the bits I remember which may not necessarily be related. As is often the case when I am thinking, I drew these onto my chart to help remember them. Once I’d started drawing I felt obliged to continue so ‘Understanding’ had  little cartoon of a though bubble making sense of the bits or ‘What does this knowledge tell me? What do these things mean?’

 As the questions came together, I started to look for a narrative to help organise and remember the sequence of the hierarchy. That’s when I started trying to find an analogy which would appeal to students and came up with the Top Gear Guide to Bloom’s Taxonomy.   More on this soon.


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