How do children ‘Think to Think’ & ‘Learn to Learn’? Konshius’ & Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy – Part 2

Children are like soft clay – they soak the environment and experiences provided and take shape accordingly. It is then the job of us parents, educators and teachers to give them learning experiences and opportunities that are based on encouraging their creative thinking abilities and do not depend on just memorization capacities. We have already discussed that the modern world and its learning requirements cannot be justified and accomplished with academic rote learning. Therefore, importance is to be given to the originality and uniqueness of each child. But, how do we do that? What means do we use which can work with each child, despite the diversity and disparity?

Learn how to learn
Learning is synthesizing seemingly divergent ideas and data.

In our previous blog, we discussed the six cognitive domains that make the 2nd dimension of the taxonomy – Verbs. In this blog, we will explore their application and go deeper into some of these ‘mental action words,’ i.e. verbs as per this Taxonomy. Let’s take a step further and focus on the 250+ cognitive skills that have been distributed in these six domains. We have listed a few skills here, and let’s go through them briefly;

6 Cognitive Domains & Thinking skills as per Bloom’s taxonomy

DefiningGroupingFindingMatchingNamingStating
RepeatingSortingQuotingDescribingReproducingLabelling
UnderliningPointingCountingDrawingRecallingEtc.
1st Cognitive Domain – Remembering
SelectingCalculatingFocusingExplainingExpressingDemonstrating
ExtendingComprehendingRelatingCo-relatingRephrasingSummarizing
RestatingClarifyingParaphrasingRecognizingObservingEtc.
2nd Cognitive Domain – Understanding
ChoosingIllustratingCombiningAddingGraphingReferring
InterpretingInterviewingImplementingUtilizingModellingIdentifying
ComputingExecutingCollectingSpeculatingSolvingEtc.
3rd Cognitive Domain – Applying  
InferringCategorizingClassifyingComparingOrganizingAttributing
QuestioningDifferentiatingInspectingInvestigatingInterrelatingAssuming
SequencingDeconstructingDiscriminatingDecodingInquiringEtc.
4th Cognitive Domain – Analysing  
AssessingExperimentingConcludingCritiquingDecidingValidating
EliminatingPrioritizingReasoningJustifyingAnticipatingVerifying
DeducingHypothesizingPerceivingEstimatingDisapprovingEtc.
5th Cognitive Domain – Evaluating  
ImaginingVisualizingExtrapolatingConstructingMappingCharting
CompilingForecastingRestructuringReconstructingCollatingCoding
PredictingInventingPlanningIntegratingFormulatingEtc.
6th Cognitive Domain – Creating  

As you see in this grid, each of these six domains has a list of verbs, i.e. thinking skills. Would you please look at each skill and try to define them in your terms? Do they all mean the same? Or are they completely different in meaning? Are some of them often used interchangeably? How do they play a part in one’s life experiences?

As you see in this grid, each of these six domains has a list of verbs, i.e. thinking skills. Would you please look at each skill and try to define them in your terms? Do they all mean the same? Or are they completely different in meaning? Are some of them often used interchangeably? How do they play a part in one’s life experiences?

creative thinking, think how to think

Let’s understand it better with an example. We would be looking at two sets of words from two different domains that we often use in our daily lives with our children, be it at school or home.

  1. For the first set, let’s take ‘Selecting’ from the ‘Understanding domain’ and ‘Choosing’ from the ‘Applying domain’.
  2. For the second set, let’s look at ‘Imagining’ and ‘Visualising’, both from the ‘Creating domain’.

For the first set, I want you to do this exercise of defining how these two words – ‘Selecting and Choosing’ – are different from each other. I have seen umpteen instances where these words are used interchangeably in the education system as well as at home. That might be because ‘Selecting’ and ‘Choosing’ are often used interchangeably in everyday conversation and even in our classrooms. However, upon careful consideration, you will realise that their meanings are quite different and the mental behaviour associated with them are also distinctive. Well, for this reason, this taxonomy quite consciously has these two words in separate domains because they are indeed different.

For the second set, both the words – ‘Imagining and Visualising’ – are from the same ‘Creating domain’. Now, you might wonder that since both are from the same domain, they ought to be synonymous. However, just like in the first set, the words in the second set also have different meanings. Additionally, the mental actions underlying them are not similar. Pretty interesting! Right?

Let’s do one more exercise to take our understanding a step ahead. In the ‘Creating domain’, you will see the word ‘Collating’. Now scan the entire list of thinking skills and think of those 3, 4 or 5 verbs (from any of the six domains) that can synthesise together to form the mental action or behaviour associated with the word ‘Collating.’ Initially, it might seem like a challenge, but you would be surprised to discover for yourself how the meaning of commonly known words change just by looking at them closely from the space of cognitive or mental actions.

Before we dive deeper, let us take a moment to think about the following questions;

  1. When we teach our children, do we really use these verbs based on the mental actions or cognitive meanings associated with them?
  2. Do we impart to our children the thinking behaviour or mental actions that these words are supposed to create?
  3. Do we create learning activities and design assessments based on the associated mental actions, or is it done based on commonly understood meanings of these words?

Now that we have successfully looked at a few words, let’s ask ourselves – ‘Will our children learn the best through the bottom-up approach, i.e. go up the ladder from ‘Remembering’ to ‘Creating’ domain or the whole system needs to be redesigned to suit the child’s learning needs in this modern world? When “Creating’ is the endpoint that we want our children to reach, then shouldn’t our education system be designed top-down, i.e. ‘Creating’ becomes the core of every learning objective, and then the movement is towards ‘Applying’ and ‘Understanding’.

Imagine the extent of children’s potential that could be unlocked if the whole system was upside down. It would have been such a wonderful and different world for our children’s learning if they were allowed to start their journey from ‘Creating domain’ as the stepping stone. But sometimes, these visions do transform into reality, and it is right here at Konshius!

With Konshius’ game-based learning, the hierarchy has been viewed in an upside-down manner. We have embedded the entire list of 250+ skills in the design of our games’ activity-based curriculum progression. We have taken this design a step further by creating single-player and multiplayer games, where multiplayer games are built on the cognitive learning of single-player games.

game-based learning, learn how to learn
The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds possess the capabilities to harness continuous growth.

So in these two blogs, we explored mental actions or verbs quite well. It is pretty clear how cognitive processes contribute to meaning-making and generate products of knowledge. Now, you might wonder what is ‘knowledge’? What are these mental actions working towards? Well, that is a story for Part 3. Till then, keep deconstructing words around you and looking for new meanings!

I welcome you all to stay connected and bookmark this page so that you are the first ones to read when we post new updates here.

A pioneer in using games as learning tools for developing thinking skills and learning potential of children. His 'game-based learning' pedagogy has been adopted by schools in India, valuing it as integral part of child development process. His movement to formally include games as learning aids in Indian schools has already impacted lives of 250,000+ children. His game-based learning system has been awarded Method Patent by USA Patent Office, and has several prestigious national and international recognition to his name.

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