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Flipped Blooms?

I’ve been reading a few articles recently suggesting changes to Bloom’s Taxonomy. I’ve never been a complete fan of the theory myself as I think it tries to simplify something that just isn’t simple.

Some of the recent ideas about changing Bloom’s Taxonomy are summed up in this blogpost by Steve Collis entitled The Curious Case of the Flipped-Blooms Meme.

Anyway, I just can’t agree with the idea (probably first mooted by Shelley Wright) that Creativity should be the first level of a revised Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s just not possible to create anything without knowledge or understanding. How can I write a story if I don’t know words or understand sentence structure? How could I create a movie without first knowing how to use a video camera and understanding the basics of shots, scripts and dialogue?

It just seems madness to suggest that creativity comes first.

I agree that it is possible to create something with only a little knowledge or understanding, but what you create probably won’t be very good. Shelley’s blogpost describes a process she uses with her students to create an advertisement.

My students start with the standard elements of an advertisement (product photo, copy, logo etc.)  and create a mockup.  Then students evaluate their mock-up by comparing their ads to a few professional examples and  discuss what they did right and wrong in comparison to what they’ve seen…

What Shelley has failed to realise is that the students enter into the process already armed with a degree of knowledge and understanding. They have been exposed to advertising all of their lives and although they may not have studied it, they will almost certainly have recognised recurring techniques used in the design of advertising, which they will almost certainly apply to their own designs. The first few stages of Bloom’s Taxonomy have already occurred to an extent.

Certainly I like Shelley’s back-to-front process for teaching design, and I can see how it may work in that situation, however I don’t think it warrants the suggestion that Bloom’s Taxonomy should be flipped.

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