All About Bloom’s Taxonomy

In my search for an easy to understand Bloom’s Taxonomy, I came across two very helpful infographics.

The first one is an infographic developed by Rebecca Stobaugh, and can be accessed from Routledge’s Eye on Education Blog, which I am reposting below:

Stobaugh’s Infographic on Bloom’s Taxonomy, taken from Routledge’s Eye on Education http://www.routledge.com/eyeoneducation/blog/2724/

Another helpful resource is Smart Tutor’s Blooming Orange Poster which features verbs/ synonyms relating to each of the thinking skill. You can access a pdf file of the poster through this site, which is as reposted below.

Smart Tutor’s “Blooming Orange” infographic poster of Bloom’s Taxonomy, taken from this link http://thinkonline.smarttutor.com/blooming-orange-blooms-taxonomy-helpful-verbs-poster/

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Aligning GE Subjects

In the forums, a question was raised by one of my classmates, Pons Santos, on which of the learning components should be changed if despite of a well-aligned objective, teaching strategy and assessment, learning outcomes are still not achieved. I answered teaching strategy citing my own experiences of teaching strategies often failing to live up to its purpose.

The question though reminded me of my general education (GE) classes in when I was in college in UP Diliman. During my time (it was not so long ago, but long enough for a lot of changes in the GE curriculum to be implemented – from the OLD G.E. program to the “new” REVISED G.E. program), we had to take required GE subjects wherein there would be 30-40 (or even maybe more than 50!) students from various departments and colleges in the university sitting in an auditorium listening to the lecture for an hour and a half. The objectives of the course were noble and true to the university’s commitment to academic excellence, the readings were quite exciting for a freshman who is willing to dive into 12 inch thick photocopied reading articles. It looked like a scene from Hollywood movies set in hallowed Ivy League campuses in the US.

Until you get to sit beside a bored senior college student who was catching up on his/her GE courses to graduate. Or that is until you get to hear your professor speak for the first time. That’s when you realized that your freshmen illusions are shattered and that this GE class is just an academic requirement you need to pass. The fact that a lot of professors in most of these huge-auditorium type classes are simply there to talk for an hour without caring so much (or maybe they do, they just don’t show it maybe?) as long as their students pass the departmental exams, was enough to make me wish that I would be qualified enough to get out of the GE rut and take up my majors. Is this a failure on the teaching strategy or the objective? Is the objective not aligned with the assessment? I think it’s a failure on its objectives.

This brings us to a question as to what are GE classes really for? According to the iskWiki! website of the UP Diliman Interactive Learning Center (2013), GE classes makes up for the “liberal arts education that makes the U.P. student a well-rounded person and ready for lifelong learning skills.” Further, the same website mentioned the following objectives for the GE Program, “to broaden the intellectual and cultural horizons, to foster a commitment to nationalism balanced by a sense of internationalism, to cultivate a capacity for independent, critical and creative thinking, and to infuse a passion for learning with a high sense of moral and intellectual integrity.” How lofty is that?

I do have several fun GE classes, like Humanities 1 & 2, Social Studies 1& 2, my Communication 1-3 classes, even my Math 1 and Nat Sci 1  & 2 were somehow fun. We had a lot of exciting projects that made it interesting to perk up general interest and made me conversant in topics pertaining to arts, psychology and social sciences, public speaking, geography and biology. Though there were some GE subjects where I can’t remember a thing more than a decade after college. It seemed that time spent inside the classroom attending to those subjects were a just a blur. I do have some funny anecdotes about STS or PI 100, but they were really all I remembered in class, though in fairness to STS, I managed to read the abstract on Einstein’s “Theory of Relativity” because it was required.

But how much of the GE subjects went beyond appreciation?  Humanities and Communication subjects were somehow a pre-requisite to more survey courses and eventually our major subjects in Anglo-American Literature, so it helped me a lot in terms of enhancing reading comprehension and writing skills, as well as a general understanding of arts and humanities which were required for the course. And maybe to some extent Math 1 and Philosophy 1 in terms of logically arranging my ideas. But how about STS? PI 100?

During my time in college, maybe right before I graduated, there were already too many disgruntled students who had the same opinion that some GE classes are just not worth their time. Department heads were scrambling around trying to find the solution to classes wherein students attend simply for attendance purposes and maybe get a passing grade to be able to graduate. Eventually the university managed to pass a Revised GE Program in 2003 (not without protest, as this is UP. People protest everything and you can never please everybody). According to a page from UP Baguio – College of Science (2013), RGEP still have the same objectives of ensuring that every UP student becomes a “well-rounded person, with lifelong learning skills” and still focuses on 3 main subject domains in the (1) arts and humanities, (2) social sciences and philosophy, and (3) natural sciences and mathematics. But it has a very specific statement on the competencies that a U.P. student should develop after completing 45 units of GE courses, “oral and written communication skills, independent and critical thinking, and creative thinking.” And unlike when I was taking up GE courses, students can choose which subjects to take, as long as they meet the required number of units per subject domain.

While I do not have access to studies assessing the implementation and outcomes of the RGEP, it was reported by The Philippine Collegian in 2011 that based on a study conducted by the UP Diliman Office of the Chancellor “students score an average of 1.25 in GE subjects.” This may have to be correlated with other UP units, and if students were indeed able to demonstrate higher levels of independent, critical and creative thinking in other subjects, more aligned to their major subjects, as well as in opinion-making on general issues, among others. However the article also pointed out the problem in logistics. Take for example, STS classes are the bane of a lot of UP students simply because the student to teacher ratio is too high. Teachers are not very effective because its really difficult to manage a class of 30-50 students from different departments and colleges.

In conclusion, the GE program has some very lofty and well-meaning objectives. In my experience, with having too lofty objectives, it fails to translate into appropriate teaching strategies and assessment. However, taking up GE subjects, based on my experience, somehow contributed to my personal and professional development by opening up whole new subjects I would have never read or understood beyond my own major. It would be interesting to know how UP (would) assess implementation of the RGEP and introduce innovations to the program based on the results. And as any UP student and alumni would tell you, taking up GE subjects and the anecdotes in relation to it is universal to any UP student and somehow (for better or worse) defines them when they step out of the university’s confines.

Going Back to the Start

I have mentioned this in the previous class journal that I am not a teacher, but I have”vague” future plans to be one. I think that growing up in a family with a teacher for a parent (and a grandparent too) influences this outlook that “hey, I can be a teacher too!”

Where am I headed? I try to ask myself this question a number of times when enrolling for class. I am pretty much clear on learning about teaching part, but what about learning on assessments? Well, I wanted to learn much about assessments as much I can (that’s a lot!). Of course, foremost would be being a parent and having that perspective of learning assessment would be helpful in raising and teaching my son.

Where am I now? Learning about assessment strikes close to the heart. Oftentimes, we have been stereotyped by our IQ averages, our grades. I’ve seen my mother march into our teachers’s desk wanting to know our grading system in school, because she doesn’t think it’s fair (she should know, she’s a teacher too).  We are assessed not just in school, but everyday at work, in the street, in restaurants (we are not just part of the crowd, for some reason someone notices us and passes off-shoulder judgement on how we look, etc). We just don’t know it, we just don’t give it much thought, maybe until the office gives us notice that it’s performance assessment time or when we are trying to get a decent grade for a class we took. Because I am not a professional teacher (yet), I have much to learn about assessments. Having a framework as basis for an objective assessment would be very helpful not just in the future professional life of teaching, but in my daily work. I am quite familiar with monitoring and evaluation systems because I deal with it everyday, but not with learning assessments. Having that lens would be very helpful in the cross-over of disciplines.

How do I get there? Last term was my baptism of fire in the world of UPOU. It was the first time that I paid for an online course so I had to make sure that I get most out of it (the tuition fees are not the same the last time I enrolled in UP! Waaah….). Of course with a full-time work and a demanding almost-toddler, I cannot guarantee to myself that I will be online most of the time and that I will be able to actively participate in online discussions.

I don’t think I can guarantee myself to post technical stuff about learning assessment, as most of my classmates do. I admit to feeling a bit insecure when I follow my classmates’s blogs and read on really technical  stuff in their blogs. They seem to be so…smart! Hehehe. While my posts seem to be so shallow. Huhuhu.

 

I will most likely still be lost, but maybe not as much this time. I will try my utmost best to beat the deadlines by doing the assignments ahead of time, read as much as I can and to write as often as possible in this blog. And to have fun, of course. 😀

The Habit of Attribution

A few months ago, a Senator was accused of plagiarizing some parts of his speech from another person’s blog and translated parts of another famous person’s speech without proper attribution. He went under a lot of criticism and he didn’t apologize because he felt that he didn’t do anything wrong. If a Senator could get  away with plagiarism, then what would that say of our country, wherein a lot of students (and academic institutions) take the issue of plagiarism very lightly?

When I was in college, a news article would appear once in a while in the college paper about so-and-so professor being stripped of his/her tenure or a student expelled from the university after being found guilty of plagiarism. Plagiarism was a crime and nobody could say they are ignorant of it.

Proper citation and awareness of plagiarism goes beyond the professional and academic setting. With the internet becoming a necessity and permanent fixture in our lives, it is easy to copy, cut or paste, words, ideas, photos and claim them for our own. Fortunately, the easier it gets to find information to copy and paste, the easier it gets for teachers or individuals to spot plagiarized words on the internet (through Google, of course!).

I was a victim of plagiarism too. Though it would look more like online theft and non-attribution. I had a landscape photo that I took during a summer vacation stolen through Facebook. I learned about it after a friend alerted me that a tourist page on Facebook was using my photo as their profile picture! I wasted no time in reporting this to Facebook “authorities” and they removed the photo and notified the page owner of their offense. More and more photographers and writers and personalities on the internet have raised the issue of copyright on the internet, how do we get into the “habit of attribution” as my current boss puts it?

it starts first with instilling respect for others ideas and being humble enough to acknowledge ideas that are not your own. It would be easy to say that this should start in school, as it should be. But also parents should get into the habit of teaching their own children responsible and ethical use of “copyrighted materials” that they encounter daily. If culturally, everyone gets into the habit of respecting what is not theirs, ideas included, I think the world would be a much better place.

Respecting Time

I once asked a Japanese acquaintance why being on time is such a prime importance for their culture. She answered, “Being on time means you respect the other person’s time.” It also got me thinking about how much do we respect our time as well to respect those of others.

I often complain that I have too much to do that I tend to get distracted and not get anything done. In order to better assess how I manage my time, I took a quick quiz from Mind Tools on “How Good is Your Time Management?”, and the results validates my current time management practices. I do have a lot of room to improve, I hope I don’t procrastinate! Hehe.

I got a mid-score and here’s what it meant:

“You’re good at some things, but there’s room for improvement elsewhere. Focus on the serious issues below, and you’ll most likely find that work becomes much less stressful.”(See more through this link)

I’m re-posting some of my results from Mind Tools here, so I’ll be reminded of it most of the time. Mind Tools have more tips and resources that you can use, so I recommended that you take the quiz and visit their resources through this link.

Goal Setting

Your score is 11 out of 20   

To start managing time effectively, you need to set goals. When you know where you’re going, you can then figure out what exactly needs to be done, in what order. Without proper goal setting, you’ll fritter your time away on a confusion of conflicting priorities.

People tend to neglect goal setting because it requires time and effort. What they fail to consider is that a little time and effort put in now saves an enormous amount of time, effort and frustration in the future. 

This is true. Usually at work, we are required to have a plan and I usually have a task list that I take a look up at when I get to the office, or when I shake myself awake while preparing for work. I usually mentally go over my task list to prep my thoughts up. But when it comes to personal projects or undertaking (like school) and my day-to-day tasks at home, I don’t really plan. I tend to rush to do things and lost steam midway. I do make efforts to set goals. But sometimes I lose track. I need to set these goals down on paper, so I don’t forget. (I will do it now before I forget and procrastinate!)

Prioritization

Your score is 21 out of 35   

Prioritizing what needs to be done is especially important. Without it, you may work very hard, but you won’t be achieving the results you desire because what you are working on is not of strategic importance.

Most people have a “to-do” list of some sort. The problem with many of these lists is they are just a collection of things that need to get done. There is no rhyme or reason to the list and, because of this, the work they do is just as unstructured. So how do you work on To Do List tasks – top down, bottom up, easiest to hardest?

To work efficiently you need to work on the most important, highest value tasks. This way you won’t get caught scrambling to get something critical done as the deadline approaches. 

I don’t compromise my time with my family and they are always the first priority. But at work, everything is urgent and a priority, I need to prioritize my priorities! I do tend to work on the easiest most of the time, which is not usually advisable. Though I try as I can to work on the hardest tasks in the morning when I’m not so tired and my mind is still fresh.

Managing Interruptions

Your score is 8 out of 20   

Having a plan and knowing how to prioritize it is one thing. The next issue is knowing what to do to minimize the interruptions you face during your day. It is widely recognized that managers get very little uninterrupted time to work on their priority tasks. There are phone calls, information requests, questions from employees, and a whole host of events that crop up unexpectedly. Some do need to be dealt with immediately, but others need to be managed. 

However, some jobs need you to be available for people when they need help – interruption is a natural and necessary part of life. Here, do what you sensibly can to minimize it, but make sure you don’t scare people away from interrupting you when they should.

I can’t seem to avoid interruptions at work, especially when the boss wants to get some tasks done right away on top of all other tasks that are screaming for attention. As I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraphs, I need to prioritize which of the priorities tasks is the most important! Sometimes when I lose track because of so many interruptions, I zone out.

Procrastination

Your score is 4 out of 15   

“I’ll get to it later” has led to the downfall of many a good employee. After too many “laters” the work piles up so high that any task seems insurmountable. Procrastination is as tempting as it is deadly. The best way to beat it is to recognize that you do indeed procrastinate. Then you need to figure out why. Perhaps you are afraid of failing? (And some people are actually afraid of success!)

Once you know why you procrastinate then you can plan to get out of the habit. Reward yourself for getting jobs done, and remind yourself regularly of the horrible consequences of not doing those boring tasks! 

I procrastinate as a result of zoning out when everything tends to be overwhelming. Sometimes my excuse for procrastination is that I am still processing the task. Or that I work best under pressure. But whatever it is, there is no good excuse and procrastinating  never fails to get me in trouble.

Scheduling

Your score is 7 out of 15   

Much of time management comes down to effective scheduling of your time. When you know what your goals and priorities are, you then need to know how to go about creating a schedule that keeps you on track, and protects you from stress.

This means understanding the factors that affect the time you have available for work. You not only have to schedule priority tasks, you have to leave room for interruptions, and contingency time for those unexpected events that otherwise wreak chaos with your schedule. By creating a robust schedule that reflects your priorities and well as supports your personal goals, you have a winning combination: One that will allow you to control your time and keep your life in balance. “

I am not really a good scheduler. But if I am successful in goal-setting and prioritizing, I could very well manage my time. How well I manage my time would show how much I value it and that of other people. And when other people see how much I value my time, they’ll value my time and their own as well. I better get into the habit of it then. 😀