07 April 2010

The cognitive domain: Where do you feel you operate?

I'm a huge fan of this model of thought created by David Bloom in the 1950s.  In early grade school, maybe 5th grade, I remember being introduced to this concept with a stack of multi-colored cards cut out to resemble Pac-Man, bound together by string.  The most basic level, "knowledge" i.e. learning facts, is the easiest, maybe most comfortable level in which to operate.  In school, we are/were routinely learning facts, but also working at the highest levels, whether we were more given toward analyzing, synthesizing or evaluating ("highest level of thought") is up for debate.  During the course of higher education, our main focus areas may be raising a family, going to work, putting out routine fires.  We get to feeling a little rusty (so many mechanical analogies)! 

When we must look far inward and summon the guts to put pen to paper for class, well,  it takes momentum and warming up to operate there - the usual manual transmission analogies.  Once you've been there for awhile though and can "flow," it can be very satisfying.  (See my first post!) Maybe we operate at top gear more often that I think - in a multitude of ways - but as I sat surfing Fark before writing my last test, I thought about this model and how a runner trains.  Reading, like regular p.t. to physical fitness, builds the mental sort of discipline you want to easier slip into higher gears.  And not waiting until the last minute helps too.  I understand that David Bloom found that students operated at the knowledge level most often - regurgitating information.  So summer's coming, we have stacks of books begging to be read and plans to make, let's turn off the computer and get to it!

Do you feel you're primed to operate in top gear with only little warming up needed?  If so, well done!

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