Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Have you forgotten something, Dr. Bloom?

I was reading Center for Media Literacy's Literacy for the 21st Century from the MediaLit Kit this evening (all in the name of my capstone!) when I was struck by the parallels between the media literacy processes and good ol' Bloom's Taxonomy (Revised, of course!). Now, never mind the knowledge dimension for just this bit. My brain just couldn't take that addition right now.


Here nor there, Thoman and Jolls suggest that the media literacy process skills are:

  • Access
  • Analyze
  • Evaluate
  • Create
  • Participate
Really, they're not so different from Freire's Empowerment Spiral (also cited in the CML MediaLit Kit). Freire says the spiral toward deeper learning only has four steps:
  • Awareness
  • Analysis
  • Reflection (aka evaluation)
  • Action (aka create + participate)
Either way you shake it, both models call for students to recognize their power as active, engaged citizens in a democratic society with voices. They matter, and both spirals call for students to recognize that.

It makes me wonder why Bloom (and his successors who modified his Taxonomy) failed to include a participatory level at the highest level? Creating is one thing, but certainly a whole new dimension of understanding of self and society must come into play when a child participates as a democratic citizen. These skills doubtless transcend those named at lower levels. Context is everything. 

Of course, isn't it the way with these things that the more you think about it, the less sense it makes? I'm one good argument away from a whole lot of retweets and a truly engaging discussion, I think ... but heck, we need to get started then get better. (Thank you Richard and Rebecca DuFour!). Even a half-crazed blog entry is a good starting point.

What do you think? Is Participation the next level, or does it fit within the cognitive dimensions already established within the current taxonomy? Is authentic learning just what a teacher needs to do to engage students, or are there skills and cognitive processes involved that transcend what's been named in Bloom's Revised Taxonomy? (And if it's a new addition, why the heck haven't smarter people than me added it already?) 

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