I love chatting with the teachers in my faculty room. I work with some pretty awesome people. Loving, encouraging, fair, friendly, and smart! Just today we had a discussion about thinking skills.
It all started because of a comment about cheating, which I think deserves its own post. (The question was, is cheating wrong in every situation?) And through that we got to talking about how students may not remember, for example, every battle of the Civil War, but it’s important that they know how to interpret the causes and outcomes of the war. So, using higher level thinking was deemed more important in this case.
I fully agree that we need to give our students more opportunities to develop higher level thinking skills. Often, I find that students want formulaic directions and answers that are “easy to figure out.” Giving them the chance to stretch these muscles and think for themselves is a “21st century skill” that will help them as they grow older.
Then one of the teachers brought up the fact that there is something to be said for memorization, too. Our students today have such short attention spans that sometimes they have trouble memorizing a simple list of 3 step directions. I experienced that today- I showed the students an activity I had put on my class website, and I told them to click the link on their desktop (which looks like a gold circle), go to the Grade 2 page, then click the picture of the map. After they went to their seats, many of them forgot where to click. I found myself repeating, “Gold circle, grade 2, map,” for those who had, already, forgotten those relatively simple steps.
Are our students forgetting how to use simple, basic, LOWER level thinking skills? Have we placed so much of an emphasis on higher level skills that simple memorization is no longer being used at all?
Translation for teachers: Don’t mistakenly place all the emphasis at the top of your Bloom’s Taxonomy when planning. Include skill practice that meets all levels of thinking skills.
What are your thoughts?