Higher-order of thinking Higher-order thinking essentially means thinking that takes place in the higher-levels of the hierarchy of cognitive processing. Bloom‟s Taxonomy is the most widely accepted hierarchical arrangement of this sort in education and it can be viewed as a continuum of thinking skills starting with knowledge-level thinking and moving eventually to evaluation-level of thinking. A common example, used by Dr. Chuck Weiderhold of the application of the major categories in Bloom‟s Taxonomy, is show below, applying the taxonomy to the Pledge of Allegiance: Knowledge statements ask the student to recite the pledge. Example: “Say the pledge.” Comprehension statements ask the student to explain the meaning of words contained in the pledge. Example: “Explain what indivisible, liberty, and justice mean.” Application statements ask the student to apply understandings. Example: “Create your own pledge to something you believe in.” Analysis statements ask the student to interpret word meanings in relation to context. Example: “Discuss the meaning of „and to the Republic for which it stands‟ in terms of its importance to the pledge.” Synthesis statements ask the student to apply concepts in a new setting. Example: “Write a contract between yourself and a friend that includes an allegiance to a symbol that stands for something you both believe in.” Evaluation statements ask the student to judge the relative merits of the content and concepts contained in the subject. Example: “Describe the purpose of the pledge and assess how well it achieves that purpose. Suggest improvements.” (Wiederhold, C. (1997). The Q-Matrix/Cooperative Learning & Higher-Level Thinking. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Cooperative Learning.) When we promote higher-order thinking then, we are simply promoting thinking, along with the teaching methodologies that promote such thinking, that takes place at the higher levels of the hierarchy just provided, notably application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Critical/creative/constructive thinking is closely related to higher-order thinking; they are actually inseparable. Critical/creative/constructive thinking simply means thinking processes that progress upward in the given direction. First one critically analyzes the knowledge, information, or situation. Then they creatively consider possible next-step options, and then finally, they construct a new product, decision, direction, or value. The evaluation step listed above with the Pledge of Allegiance would require this sort of thinking.
Reading Beyond the Lines Another way to look at higher-order thinking is to look at the reading process in typical terms and then extend the terms one step to reach higher-order thinking. That is, being able to read, being literate, typically means having the ability to decode words and understand their meanings individually and collectively. Being able to read and to comprehend the reading is generally considered thinking and involves “reading the lines” and “reading between the lines.” Higherorder thinking or literacy though, is the next crucial step, often not even thought of in the reading process, that being “reading beyond the lines.” This is so crucial because it is in reading beyond the lines that reading the lines and reading between the lines have their real value.
Instructional Elements for Fostering Higher-Order Thinking in the Classroom (Synthesized from Teaching Children to Be Literate: A Reflective Approach, by Anthony and Ula Manzo, 1995) 1. Remember to ask for it; that is, for discovery, invention, and artistic/literary creation. 2. Great curiosity and new ideas with enthusiasm; these can often lead to the most valuable “teachable moments.” 3. Expose learners to new twists on old patterns and invite looking at old patterns from new angles. 4. Constructively critique new ideas because they almost always require some fine-tuning. 5. Reset our expectations to the fact that there will be many more “misses” than “hits” when reaching for workable new ideas. 6. Learn to invite contrary, or opposing, positions; new possibilities are often discovered in this way and existing thoughts, patterns, and beliefs can be tested and strengthened.
Questions that Invite Higher-Order Thinking (Synthesized from Teaching Children to Be Literate: A Reflective Approach, by Anthony and Ula Manzo, 1995) · How is this study like another you/we have read? This question encourages students to make connections and see analogies.
· Does this story/information make you aware of any problems that need attention? This amounts to asking students to see themselves as active participants in problem identification as well as problem solving. · What does this mean to you and how might it affect others? This pair of questions gives students a chance to express their own interests but also to empathetically consider and understand the views of, and possible consequences to, others. · Is there anything wrong with this solution, and how else might this problem be solved? These questions are the heart of successful critical analysis. · What more needs to be known or done to understand or do this better? This is a pointed request for creative problem solving that invites thinking “beyond the lines.” · What is a contrary way of seeing this? Being able to examine issues from multiple points of view helps the students to clarify their thoughts.
Questioning for Quality Thinking at Each Level of Bloom’s Taxonomy Knowledge: Identification and recall of information Who, what, when, where, how? Describe ___________________. Comprehension: Organization and selection of facts and ideas Retell ___________ in your own words. What is the main idea of ___________________? Application: Use of facts, rules, principles How is __________ and example of _______________? How is __________ related to _________________? Why is _________________ significant? Analysis: Separation of the whole into component parts What are the parts or features of ________________?
Classify _______________ according to ________________. Outline/diagram/web ____________________. How does ______________ compare/contrast with __________________? What evidence can you list for _____________________? Synthesis: Combination of ideas to form a new whole What would you predict/infer from __________________? What ideas can you add to __________________? How would you create/design a new __________________? What might happen if you combine _______________ with ________________? What solutions would you suggest for __________________? Evaluation: Development of opinions, judgments, or decisions Do you agree with _________________? What do you think about _______________? What is the most important _____________? Prioritize ________________. How would you decide about ________________? What criteria would you use to assess ______________________?
Head-on Approaches to Teaching Higher-Order Thinking
“Thinking Thursdays” o Consider setting aside a given amount of time on a regular basis to try some of these direct approaches to teaching critical and creative thinking.
Word Creation: o Define the word “squallizmotex” and explain how your definition fits the word. o If dried grapes are called raisins, and dried beef is called beef jerky, what would you call these items if they were dried: lemons, pineapple, watermelon, chicken.
Unusual Uses: o Have students try to think of as many unusual uses as they can for common objects such as bricks, used toys, old tennis balls, soda bottles, and 8-track cassette tapes.
Circumstances and Consequences: What would happen if . . . o school was on weekends and not during the week? o water stuck like glue? o gravity took a day off? o there were no colors? o everyone in the country could vote on every issue that is now decided by government representatives?
Product Improvements: o How could school desks be improved? o How could living room furniture be improved to provide better storage and even exercise while watching television? o How can we better equip book-carrying bags to handle lunches and other needs that you can think of?
Systems and Social Improvements: o A sample question that could lead into plenty of higher-level discussion and a good give-and-take of views and needs could be: “How can schools be made more fun without hurting learning?”
Higher-Order Thinking & REAP Read-Encode-Annotate-Ponder (REAP) is a teaching method developed by M.G. Eanet & A.V. Manzo at University of Missouri- Kansas City. It is a strategy developed for students to use to improve writing, thinking, and reading. As a teaching method, it is intended to teach students a variety of ways to respond to any text. The responses are brief and poignant ways to critique or annotate what they have read. There are different types of annotations which range from simple summary (reconstructive) to highly challenging critical-creative responses (constructive). Value of Annotating In writing annotations the readers discriminate and synthesize ideas presented by the author, then translate it into their own language. Writing and annotations enrich reflective thinking and reading. The readers analyze the author's purpose and explore their own feelings about the
written material. Students who write about what they have learned gain from the reading process. Consequently, writing should be an integral part (a vital component) in the classroom setting. Writing serves as a catalyst in improving one's reading, thinking and comprehension abilities. Learning the routine to write after reading ignites ACTIVE THINKING before, during and after a reading selection. Annotations ensure meaningful reading and encourage clear and concise thinking and writing. Annotations enhance reader's knowledge base as well as improve thinking and writing skills. Steps in REAP: R: Read to discern the writer's message. E: Encode the message by translating it into your own words. A: Annotate by cogently writing the message in notes for yourself, or in a thought book or on an electronic response system. P: Ponder, or further reflect on what you have read and written, through discussion and by reviewing others' response to the same materials and/or your own annotation. Using REAP as a Rubric for Monitoring Progress Toward Higher-Order Thinking REAP may be used as a way to monitor a student's progress toward higher-order thinking. By using examples of the various types of annotations, a teacher may compare and appraise the characteristic way in which the student responds to text. The annotation types listed above are roughly in order of difficulty. Lower numbers indicate more concrete thinking (or literalness) and higher numbers more personal and abstract patterns of response. Annotation Types Reconstructive... requires literal-level response to a text. Constructive... requires reading and thinking between and beyond the lines. -----------------------------------------------------------------------Reconstructive Responses 1. Summary response. States the basic message of the selection in brief form. In fiction, it is the basic story line; in nonfiction, it is a simple statement of the main ideas. 2. Precise response. Briefly states the author's basic idea or theme, with all unnecessary words removed. The result is a crisp, telegram like message. 3. Attention-getting or heuristic response. Restates a snappy portion of the selection that makes the reader want to respond. It is best to use the author's own words.
4. Question response. Turns the main point of the story or information into an organizing question that the selection answers. Constructive Responses 5. Personal view or transactional response. Answers the question "How do your views and feelings compare with what you perceive the author to have said?" 6. Critical response. Supports, reject s, or questions the main idea, and tells why. The first sentence of this type of response should restate the author's position. The next sentence should state the writer's position. Additional sentences should explain how the two differ. 7. Contrary response. Attempts to state a logical alternative position, even if it is not one that the student necessarily supports. 8. Intention response. States and briefly explains what the responder thinks is the author's intention, plan, and purpose in writing the selection. This is a special version of the critical response that causes the reader/responder to try to think like the author or from the author's perspective. 9. Motivation response. States what may have caused the author to create or write the story or selection. This is another special version of critical responding. It is an attempt to discover the author's personal agenda and hence areas of writing or unwitting biases. 10. Discovery response. States one or more practical questions that need to be answered before the story or facts can be judged for accuracy or worth. This type of response to text is the mode of thinking that leads to more reading and research and occasionally to a reformulated position or view. 11. Creative response. Suggests different and perhaps better solutions or views and/or connections and applications to prior learning and experiences. Students usually need some guidance and/or examples to produce this type of response. Once they begin thinking in this way, the results can be remarkably constructive. For more information about REAP, especially if you are interested in being involved with a current on-line REAP pilot study, please visit REAP Central Today
Writing to Promote Higher-Order Thinking (Synthesized from Teaching Children to Be Literate: A Reflective Approach, by Anthony and Ula Manzo, 1995) Advantages
Writing activates the reader‟s background knowledge before reading/thinking. Writing builds anticipation of upcoming learning events. Writing raises the reader‟s level of intellectual activity. Writing encourages meaningful comparisons of the student‟s perspective with that of the writer (in reading situations) Writing helps students better formulate their world view. Writing allows students to examine their perspectives on key issues. Writing builds metacognitive as well as cognitive abilities because writing forces deeper levels of introspection, analysis, and synthesis than any other mediational process.
Suggestions Related to Using Writing to Promote Higher-Order Thinking
Write daily or frequently rather than sporadically. Write for real audiences and purposes. Allot sufficient time for stages of thought and editing to occur. Encourage peer review Write with an initial emphasis on thinking rather than on proofreading and editing.
Contributed by Barbara Fowler, Longview Community College. Bloom's Revised Taxonomy divides the way people learn into three domains. One of these is the cognitive domain which emphasizes intellectual outcomes. This domain is further divided into categories or levels. The key words used and the type of questions asked may aid in the establishment and encouragement of critical thinking, especially in the higher levels.
Level 1: Remembering - exhibits previously learned material by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers. Key words: who, what, why, when, omit, where, which, choose, find, how, define, label, show, spell, list, match, name, relate, tell, recall, select Questions: What is . . . ? How is . . . ? Where is . . . ? When did _______ happen? How did ______ happen? How would you explain . . . ? Why did . . . ? How would you describe . . . ? When did . . . ? Can you recall . . . ?
How would you show . . . ? Can you select . . . ? Who were the main . . . ? Can you list three . . . ? Which one . . . ? Who was . . . ?
Level 2: Understanding - demonstrating understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, comparing, translating, interpreting, giving descriptions and stating main ideas. Key words: compare, contrast, demonstrate, interpret, explain, extend, illustrate, infer, outline, relate, rephrase, translate, summarize, show, classify Questions: How would you classify the type of . . . ? How would you compare . . . ? contrast . . . ? Will you state or interpret in your own words . . . ? How would you rephrase the meaning . . . ? What facts or ideas show . . . ? What is the main idea of . . . ? Which statements support . . . ? Can you explain what is happening . . . what is meant . . .? What can you say about . . . ? Which is the best answer . . . ? How would you summarize . . . ?
Level 3: Applying - solving problems by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way. Key words: apply, build, choose, construct, develop, interview, make use of, organize, experiment with, plan, select, solve, utilize, model, identify
Questions: How would you use . . . ? What examples can you find to . . . ? How would you solve _______ using what you have learned . . . ? How would you organize _______ to show . . . ? How would you show your understanding of . . . ? What approach would you use to . . . ? How would you apply what you learned to develop . . . ? What other way would you plan to . . . ? What would result if . . . ? Can you make use of the facts to . . . ? What elements would you choose to change . . . ? What facts would you select to show . . . ? What questions would you ask in an interview with . . . ?
Level 4: Analyzing - examining and breaking information into parts by identifying motives or causes; making inferences and finding evidence to support generalizations. Key words: analyze, categorize, classify, compare, contrast, discover, dissect, divide, examine, inspect, simplify, survey, take part in, test for, distinguish, list, distinction, theme, relationships, function, motive, inference, assumption, conclusion Questions: What are the parts or features of . . . ? How is _______ related to . . . ? Why do you think . . . ? What is the theme . . . ?
What motive is there . . . ? Can you list the parts . . . ? What inference can you make . . . ? What conclusions can you draw . . . ? How would you classify . . . ? How would you categorize . . . ? Can you identify the difference parts . . . ? What evidence can you find . . . ? What is the relationship between . . . ? Can you make a distinction between . . . ? What is the function of . . . ? What ideas justify . . . ?
Level 5: Evaluating - presenting and defending opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria. Key Words: award, choose, conclude, criticize, decide, defend, determine, dispute, evaluate, judge, justify, measure, compare, mark, rate, recommend, rule on, select, agree, interpret, explain, appraise, prioritize, opinion, ,support, importance, criteria, prove, disprove, assess, influence, perceive, value, estimate, influence, deduct Questions: Do you agree with the actions . . . ? with the outcomes . . . ? What is your opinion of . . . ? How would you prove . . . ? disprove . . . ? Can you assess the value or importance of . . . ? Would it be better if . . . ?
Why did they (the character) choose . . . ? What would you recommend . . . ? How would you rate the . . . ? What would you cite to defend the actions . . . ? How would you evaluate . . . ? How could you determine . . . ? What choice would you have made . . . ? What would you select . . . ? How would you prioritize . . . ? What judgment would you make about . . . ? Based on what you know, how would you explain . . . ? What information would you use to support the view . . . ? How would you justify . . . ? What data was used to make the conclusion . . . ? Why was it better that . . . ? How would you prioritize the facts . . . ? How would you compare the ideas . . . ? people . . . ?
Level 6: Creating - compiling information together in a different way by combining elements in a new pattern or proposing alternative solutions. Key Words: build, choose, combine, compile, compose, construct, create, design, develop, estimate, formulate, imagine, invent, make up, originate, plan, predict, propose, solve, solution, suppose, discuss, modify, change, original, improve, adapt, minimize, maximize, delete, theorize, elaborate, test, improve, happen, change Questions:
What changes would you make to solve . . . ? How would you improve . . . ? What would happen if . . . ? Can you elaborate on the reason . . . ? Can you propose an alternative . . . ? Can you invent . . . ? How would you adapt ________ to create a different . . . ? How could you change (modify) the plot (plan) . . . ? What could be done to minimize (maximize) . . . ? What way would you design . . . ? What could be combined to improve (change) . . . ? Suppose you could _______ what would you do . . . ? How would you test . . . ? Can you formulate a theory for . . . ? Can you predict the outcome if . . . ? How would you estimate the results for . . . ? What facts can you compile . . . ? Can you construct a model that would change . . . ? Can you think of an original way for the . . . ?