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Cambridge English Teacher © Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment 2014

Building up Critical Thinking skills using
Anderson’s Revised Version of Bloom’s
Taxonomy (Anderson and Krathwohl, 2001)





Aims:
! To encourage teachers to take a step-by-step approach to task design
! To promote Critical Thinking skills in students by incorporating action verbs from Anderson's
revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy into each task.

Materials required:

• None

Appropriate for:

• Teachers with all levels of experience

Applicable to learners:

• B1 and above




When teaching Critical Thinking, we should not teach the skills in isolation. However, expecting our
students to get to grips with all six skills together is a daunting task. We should, therefore, adopt a
structured approach to teaching Critical Thinking. We can “mix and match” the skills, for example,
by giving students a “remember” task then an “analyze" task or we can work through the skills one
at a time while building up to a final task. This could be an individual output such as an essay, a
report or a presentation, or it could be a series of tasks which contribute to a project or a portfolio.





Cambridge English Teacher © Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment 2014






To do this, we can use the verbs which relate to the individual skills to help us to design tasks which
promote that skill. Let us take an example: Remember. The verbs which relate to this skill are:
name, describe, relate, find, list, write, tell. For example, students could be asked to:

Name the girls in your class
Describe a member of your family
Relate (= re-tell) a story from your childhood
Find six objects beginning with the letter “b”
List your favourite foods
Write about your favourite holiday
Tell your partner about the text you have just read

We can do this for each of the Critical Thinking skills in Anderson’s Revised Version of Bloom’s
Taxonomy and build up towards a final task, which is the output we want students to create. The
individual tasks can be relatively short and simple or longer, more complicated tasks (see example
task below). However, it is important to keep the output in mind when designing the tasks to make
sure that they contribute to the final task.

Example task

You are preparing your students to write an essay entitled: ‘Outline the factors that can contribute to
a person’s happiness.’ Design a number of tasks using Anderson’s Revised Taxonomy to promote
Critical Thinking in your students.




Cambridge English Teacher © Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment 2014









Task

In this task, you are going to take a step-by-step approach to preparing students for a task, working
through the six skills one by one to achieve an output.

You are preparing your students to do a presentation entitled: ‘An investigation of the causes and
effects of environmental problems in developing countries.’ Design a number of tasks using
Anderson’s Revised Taxonomy to promote Critical Thinking in your students. Complete the table
below with your ideas.










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Possible answers

Note: any tasks which encourage students to develop their Critical Thinking skills are acceptable
provided they lead towards the goal of creating the presentation.








Cambridge English Teacher © Cambridge University Press and Cambridge English Language Assessment 2014









Further reading

MENTORING MINDS, 2013. Critical Thinking Strategies Guide. [Online.] Available at:
http://www.mentoringminds.com/research/critical-thinking-strategies-guide Accessed: 3
January 2014.

MENTORING MINDS, 2013. Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy Wheel. [Online.] Available at:
http://www.mentoringminds.com/research/depth-of-knowledge-revised-blooms-taxonomy-
wheel Accessed: 3 January 2014.

ROZAKIS, L., 1998. 81 Fresh and Fun Critical Thinking Activities. [Online.] New York: Scholastic
Professional Books. Available at:
https://talesfromthepen.wikispaces.com/file/view/81+Fun+Critical+Thinking+Activities.pdf
Accessed: 3 January 2014.