About Bloom´s taxonomy

It was interesting and awesome to read about the origins of Bloom´s taxonomy, in 1948, a young Doctor (Dr. Benjamin Bloom, then only 35 years old but already a college examiner of the prestigious University of Chicago) met informally with a group of colleges and set forth in motion the production of the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain. The hierarchical classification system listed in a hand book published in 1956, more commonly known as “Bloom´s Taxonomy”. It is a classification system widely recognized and applied all over the world in the discipline of teaching, curriculum writing and learning theory, as well as content development, instruction and assessment (Seaman, 2008).
In 2001 a group of eight scholars worked in a revision of original handbook they had two objectives in mind: “refocus educator’s attention to the value of the original handbook”, and “incorporate new knowledge and thought into the framework”. The result was a revised handbook that emphasized that the revised taxonomy is not a sequence with sequential relationships as implied in the original framework; this revision takes a much more lenient application of the hierarchy, allowing for some overlap between categories so an emphasis is placed in teacher use as opposed to the development of the strict hierarchy. The popularity and international use of the taxonomy ensures that it will continue to be researched, studied, developed and used as a tool for planning and assessing educational objectives (Seaman, 2008).
Experts opinion is that Bloom´s taxonomy has not only stood the test of time, it will continue to make significant contributions to the field of education and this as teachers can help us to improve our classes using these cognitive approach tools to reach our students in addition to other considerations we made like learning styles, multicultural strategies and diverse needs.

taxonomy

http://www.lionden.com/slides-intro.htm

We can improve and base our lesson plans in moving up our students through the Bloom´s taxonomy levels, focusing our efforts in helping our students to develop their critical thinking.  We need students who can  remember, understand, apply, analyze, evaluate and create so they can grow and prosper in school (and in life too!) building their own knowledge and developing all their potential. These are enough reasons to explore and research on this theory even though it is not part of our TKT book.

References

Seaman, M. (2008). Bloom´s Taxonomy. Curriculum & Teaching Dialogue , 29-43.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson plan, a recipe

I love food and desserts and I think we can say a lesson plan is like a recipe, we need instructions to bake the perfect chocolate cake so an expert baker has already figured out the exact mix of ingredients, established the portions, and carefully indicates the steps and baking technics to get to a luscious final result:

Image

http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/article/13-omg-chocolate-cakes.html

Yummy, yummy, same tempting result can happen in the classroom or not depending on our ability to follow instructions, our teaching skills, motivation, pre planning, knowing our students, making small changes on the way and many, many other factors that affect both: teacher and student, but the key here is: the recipe = lesson plan, product of the work of previous education experts but with our creativity, knowledge and personal experience added that enriches our English classes and even if the final outcome varies, I bet the teacher-student experience will still  be delicious!

 

 

My personal learning philosophy

I was not aware until now of how important it is to explore and discover our personal learning style and how our personal intelligence map looks, (see mine in PREZI following this link or copy and paste: http://prezi.com/biaff8zx8wxa/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share).

 How we best learn is certainly a valuable tool to understand how different and unique our students are and how important is to know each one as well as we know ourselves.

Now the challenge is how to use this knowledge in a real English class so we can promote our learners engagement using multiple intelligences and choosing a variety of activities that covers all learning styles… well I found out that in fact it is not really very complicated if you read educational articles from experienced and expert teachers and apply some of their ideas to your own class, in this case I found an article by an ESOL teacher (Gardner, 2011) who took a workshop: “Multiple Intelligences in Adult Education” by Silja Kallenbach of World Education at the Literacy Assistance Center in New York City. The main objective of this workshop is to provide students with list of activities and each activity would reflect one of the multiple intelligences (MI). Students would choose which activity to work and how –alone, in pairs, or in small groups- at the end of a designated time period all students would share their work with the class.

The lesson design is created based in activities menus that cover all MI so students can have a list of different activities and the teacher invites them to choose (like choosing from a food menu in a restaurant!) the menu covers all eight intelligences outlined in Garner’s research.

Here’s an example of a MI-inspired activity menu created by Renee Perl Amster an ESOL teacher from the Center for Immigrant Education and Training (CIET) at La Guardia Community College.  

                List of options for an intermediate-level ESOL class that was exploring goal setting.

1. Spatial-visual

  • Draw a picture of yourself achieving your goal.
  • Find photographs that show others achieving your goal.

2. Kinesthetic-movement

  • Write a scene in which you perform movements related to reaching your goal.
  • Created a dance about your goal.
  • Make something that illustrates your goal.

3. Linguistic-verbal

  • Write a poem about reaching your goal.
  • Write a scene with characters about archiving your goal: funny, dramatic or emotional.

4. Musical-song or instrumental composition

  • Write a song or a piece of music about your goal.
  • Learn a song related to your goal.

5. Interpersonal-self and others

  • Create survey questions for others to answer to help you reach your goal.

6. Intrapersonal-self

  • Write a monologue (speech) including your reasons for and emotions about this goal.

7. Mathematical-numbers

  • Create a statement showing amounts of money, time, and materials you need to achieve your goal.

 

MI-inspired activity menus do not need to be as comprehensive as this example and can include many different topics like: reading the news, talking about Thanksgiving, shopping at the supermarket, and summarizing a chapter in a story. We can also modify menus; make them shorter with fewer choices, adding clip art and varying the tasks to incorporate other classroom activities such as including an option for grammar or pronunciation review.

This kind of lesson design will help you as a teacher to understand that allowing students to work in different media could empower them to engage more deeply with difficult topics while they learn more about themselves and one another.

This is another and an interesting way to foster a student-centered classroom while still achieving language-learning goals and I believe it worth to consider incorporating it in our classrooms.

References

Gardner, H. (2011). Promoting Learner Engagement Using Multiple Intelligences and Choise-Based Instruction. Adult Basic Education and Literacy Journal, 97-101.

 

My experience with online education

I took my first online course about one year ago as a part of my master degree program, I was really scared at the beginning thinking that my lack of technological skills (and inexperience using a computer in an online course) will affect my performance and that this may be reflected in my grades, later on I learned this is common fear almost all of us, first time online students, experienced.

My experience could not be more enjoyable, rich and practical; although it was a course exigent in time and effort it really was a great experience.

These are some examples of what I think were the key points to make this experience a complete success for me:

  • The friendly course design. Since day one, we had access to an one-line platform with brief and clear instruction on how  to navigate in a detail menu that include: all activities, tools and  tips, assignments and homework, evaluation matrix, a calendar with important data like due dates for assignments, exams, team discussion and live video classes and chats.
  • Introductory activities to create a sense of community. Our teachers introduced themselves with brief videos and we posted also our personal information to start interacting with our classmates sharing experience and getting to know each other just like in a real classroom but with the magic of internet.
  • Discussion forums.  Very important part of the interaction, we discussed in small teams and after that in bigger groups about some real life practical cases. There were also forums for important or key topics, doubts, questions and also technological support if needed.
  • Team work. An important part of our grade was the team assignments, discussions, collaborative tasks and a final team presentation, we had to organize video conferences, set up schedules to accomplish all the team work assigned and also co-evaluate our teammates.
  • Our own progress chart. We individually had our scores, a chart with a detail record of our performance and very important, our teacher’s feedback.
  • Experienced teachers and assessors. A professional, well trained, experienced and motivated team of educators it is a real warranty of success. If you had issues, complains or questions you have an assessor assigned ready to help you anytime.

What I learned from this experience is that technology has made online education possible and accessible for all types of teachers and students, from all over the world with the only condition to have an internet connection, but it involves a huge amount of work, time, effort, commitment and challenge. I think it is very important to consider all the factors that can contribute to a successful teaching-learning process.

 

 

Web 2.0 Tools Exploration: “TRIPLINE”

Checking on Ian James’ blog about on line speaking activities I discovered “Tripline” a cool tool for our teenager students, here we can create interactive animated maps and share them through blogs, Facebook or even e-mail!  Our students can create their own trips, individually or in collaborative teams using creativity and imagination, we can add a voice description, pictures, music, links, write details and have an amazing journey sharing your dream trip with your friends, it is funny and friendly to use!  

Image

In preparation for a class using this tool I would ask students to discuss in small groups and plan a dream trip to a place they have always wanted to visit, responding questions like:   What time of the year would you like to go? Why?   Where would you go first? How are you going to get there? How long are you staying there?  What places and interesting sights would you like to visit? Where would you stay? Etc. They can write notes with the details before going on line, once they have a draft plan we can have them work on their trip on “Tripline”, this can be a project where all team members can contribute with ideas and talk in an informal and real context using imagination and creativity once finished they can share with all the class and even with their families and friends using the social media!

Here’s a link to use as an example of what they can achieve, an amazing trip to ancient Greece!

 

 

Literature Circles Activity

Let’s use what we have learned about literature circles and GO and put both tools in practice with a reading activity.

My reading is in book: New Interchange 2, a reading about Joan Chen.

Pre-reading:

Þ     First we need to organize the class in small groups; depending of the number of students I suggest groups of four; if the class is too big we can form groups of five or six students. We need to manage to have at least one strong student on each group so the discussion can be successful.

Þ     Using a this GO:

 Image

http://spring13ell.wikispaces.com/KWL

Students can fill in the topic and then review with the teacher the film terms provided in the top of the article page, they can know try to write down what they already know and what they would like to know.

 Reading, using literature circles:

Next we are going to assign each group a role, I have prepared this table to help the students understand their roles:

Role

Activities

Be ready to respond

Inquisitor

Read the story and prepare several questions to discuss

What kind of story are we reading? Do you like it?

Summarizer

Read the story and try to identify the main idea

Why is the most important event in this reading?

Connector

Read the story and try to connect it to other readings or things in your real life

Does Joan Chen help you to understand how real people you know think?

World Master

Read the story and note 5 words you think are important and necessary to understand the reading

Why is this word important in the reading?

Culture Collector

Read the story and note the differences or similarities between the culture presented in the story and your own

How is the story similar to your culture and how is it different?

Artist

Read the story and draw a simple picture of the most important events

What events have you drawn, why?

 

After each student have read individually and done with their activities, they can discuss in the same roles groups their activities, now we are ready to organize new discussion groups, this time we need a different role member so we can have groups that contain all the roles and we are ready for real discussion to start! In turns all students can express their opinions from the perspectives of their roles.

Post-reading: Now students are ready to finish their GO, they  fill in the last column of their sheets what they have learned about Joan Chen.

Graphic Organizers

Really useful for teaching and in a great variety of forms and designs for almost any purpose, they are a great tool to organize, simplify and explain specific information to our students and also a great visual tool for our students to organize themselves their own ideas.

Here is a link to a short, funny and clever video that explains graphic organizers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6xsCE4kkb0

Also this one so you can see how to work with them in the classroom:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IY6e0kFo4lg

Some examples:

  • Story Map

Image

http://www.dailyteachingtools.com/language-arts-graphic-organizers.html

I would use a chart like this with children in a reading activity, to help them to understand a story they have read, in small groups I would ask them to describe the situation, identify the problem and propose a solution.

 

  •  KWL Chart

Image

http://creately.com/blog/examples/graphic-organizers-in-k12-classroom-education/

I would use this type of GO with secondary students, during pre-reading activities of a lesson to find out what they already know about the topic and what they want to learn about it, during the reading to organize their ideas and after reading to asset what they have learned.

  • Venn Diagram

Image

http://babblingabby.blogspot.mx/2010/11/thanksgiving-activities-for-first-grade.html

This example is great to use to compare and contrast two different families that have common characteristics, in the example it is used in a kid’s class, a thanks giving activity about pilgrims and Indians where they can discover their similarities and differences.

  • Time Line Charts

Image

http://teacherexpress.scholastic.com/graphic-organizer-posters-my-timeline-grades-k-2-mkt15010

This GO is intended also for children and can help them to organize written personal information and then, to make an interesting an oral presentation!  It will help them to organize their thoughts and encourage them to talk about themselves more fluently.

Teaching trought Music

Most of us taking this TKT preparation course have in common our love for English language and for English music, when working with young learners (and I mean young in spirit not exactly in age) I have seen many teachers using songs in the classrooms and I have experimented myself the benefits of a song in a relaxing Friday evening English class but, are we really using all the potential that music can spill in our classrooms?    

Teaching with music can give help our students with pronunciation, increase their listening skills, help us to teach grammar, functions and even learn more about a particular country culture, history and literature.

I find this brief article that explains usage of music to teach to EFL students, with the experience of a couple of Chinese teachers, I find it interesting and very practical and make me also realize that many Asian countries have greatly improve their English language proficiency in the last  5 or 6 years.

Hope you find it useful too:

Most of us taking this TKT preparation course have in common our love for English language and for English music, when working with young learners (and I mean young in spirit not exactly in age) I have seen many teachers using songs in the classrooms and I have experimented myself the benefits of a song in a relaxing Friday evening English class but, are we really using all the potential that music can spill in our classrooms?    

Teaching with music can give help our students with pronunciation, increase their listening skills, help us to teach grammar, functions and even learn more about a particular country culture, history and literature.

I find this brief article that explains usage of music to teach to EFL students, with the experience of a couple of Chinese teachers, I find it interesting and very practical and make me also realize that many Asian countries have greatly improve their English language proficiency in the last  5 or 6 years.

Hope you find it useful too:

http://jalt-publications.org/archive/proceedings/2001/371.pdf

CEFR and ALTE

Comparison Matrix of CEFR and ALTE

 

 

Scale

CEFR (Language Policy Division, Council of Europe, Strasbourg., n.d.)

ALTE (The Association of Language Testers in Europe, n.d.)

 

Characteristics

The Common European Framework provides a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, curriculum guidelines, examinations, textbooks, etc. across Europe. It describes in a comprehensive way what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language for communication and what knowledge and skills they have to develop so as to be able to act effectively. The description also covers the cultural context in which language is set. The Framework also defines levels of proficiency which allow learners´ progress to be measured at each stage of learning and on a life-long basis.

ALTE has established a set of common standards for its members’ exams, which cover all stages of the language testing process: test development; task and item writing; test administration; marking and grading; reporting of test results; test analysis; and reporting of findings.

 

As a result, users of the exams – whether individuals, employers, educational institutions or government bodies can be confident that the language assessments devised and delivered by ALTE members meet specified professional standards.

Purposes

1. To encourage practitioners of all kinds in the language field, including language learners themselves, to reflect on such questions as:

  • What do we actually do when we speak (or write) to each other?
  • What enables us to act in this way?
  • How much of this do we need to learn when we try to use a new language?
  • How do we set our objectives and mark our progress along the path from total ignorance to effective mastery?
  • How does language learning take place?
  • What can we do to help ourselves and other people to learn a language better?

2. To make it easier for practitioners to tell each other and their clientele what they wish to help learners to achieve, and how they attempt to do so.

  • Establish common standards for all stages of the language testing process
  • Promote transnational recognition of language certification
  • Improve language assessment through joint projects, sharing best practice, and the work of special interest groups

Provide training

  • Raise awareness of issues relating to language testing through regular meetings
  • Provide thought leadership through our international conferences.

Teaching Applications

The Council supports methods of learning and teaching which help young people and older learners to build up the attitudes, knowledge and skills they need to become more independent in thought and action, and also more responsible and cooperative in relation to other people.

ALTE works to promote multilingualism across Europe – and beyond – by supporting institutions which produce examinations and certification for language learners. Through our work we raise awareness of the benefits of a multilingual society, provide a forum in which related issues can be discussed, and set quality standards for language assessment.

 

Levels of proficiency

Council of Europe Levels

A1

A2

B1

B2

C1

C2

ALTE   Levels

ALTE Breakthrough Level

ALTE     Level 1

ALTE     Level 2

ALTE     Level 3

ALTE     Level 4

ALTE     Level 5

(Language Policy Division, Council of Europe, Strasbourg., n.d.)

 

References

Language Policy Division, Council of Europe, Strasbourg. (n.d.). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/source/framework_en.pdf

The Association of Language Testers in Europe. (n.d.). The Association of Language Testers in Europe. Retrieved from http://www.alte.org/

The Grammar thing…

“A man’s grammar, like Caesar’s wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.”

Edgar Allan Poe

Thinking about funny ways to learn Grammar, I came out with a crossword puzzle (I love them) using the nine parts of the speech in English we studied in the first unit of our TKT book.

Give it a try and comment if you want me to post the answer key! Hope you can have some fun too!

NINE PARTS OF SPEECH CROSSWORD PUZZLE

Image

http://www.crosswordpuzzlegames.com