The thing about debates is, that there are 2 sides to an argument, it’s very black and white, with no room for grey. The problem is, I thrive in grey. I think that being extreme one way or another lends itself to limitations, when you are rigid in your thoughts you miss out on many perspectives, and potentially (in my opinion) fail a lot of students who need a lot of different things.
I’ve always been very ready to assume that when we are teaching higher level thinking the ‘basics’ will fall into place. However, after doing some research and consideration of the students I work with I do feel there is space for teaching basic facts that build the brain foundation for deeper learning.
Top down, bottom up or bottom up, top down?
One of the big questions I have leaving the debate this week is: What is the best way to ‘do’ Blooms?
Luke, Ashley, and Andrew posit that Bloom’s should be flipped, and the ‘higher’ level thinking should be taught without the ‘lower’ level in order to engage our learners in deeper level thinking which enables students to develop skills needed by 21st century learners.
I agree, higher level thinking is important, and our students require problem solving skills and analytical thinking abilities in order to be successful in their future careers, but I still can’t help but feel that it is somewhat like “putting the cart before the horse”.
After all, isn’t it our job as teachers to scaffold and help our students build upon prior learning? If we start at the top – what is the prior knowledge?
That being said, I think the ‘agree’ side of the debate was on point when discussing the teacher’s role of curating curiosity within a ‘googleable’ world.
The Evolution of Learning in a Googleable world
If we consider for a moment, that the landscape of our knowledge is changing as quickly just as our employment landscape is evolving and changing. As I’ve considered previously:
In the book Creating Cultures of Thinking Ron Ritchhart explains in that a survey of employers about the suitability of future candidates, the ability to think, understand and problem solve are the most valuable things a future employee can possess. As teachers, we need to value this feedback – and work to evolve in our practice so we can transform from the givers of knowledge to the facilitators of knowledge challengers who function in participatory culture.
Do I think we should revert to the ‘one room school houses’ of the past, placing students as the ‘absorbers’ of knowledge? Not likely.
Do I think thoughtful considerations need to be made in order to transition the learners of today into a space of thorough contemplation and problem solving skills? Absolutely!
Now the only question that remains is: What is the best way to reach that goal?