Marzano and Bloom: How do they matter to my teaching?

     I have taught for 2 years now, and I have been learning about Marzano/Bloom for roughly the same amount of time. Both have developed a valuable tool that allows teachers to effectively design lessons to meet the needs of students. While the tools are not the end all/be all of teaching strategies, they do give insight into how students learn. Keeping that in mind, let’s take a look at what each has to offer in the classroom (mine specifically).



     Bloom’s taxonomy is a good look at the hierarchy of learning. I teach at a charter school that uses a similar, though more simplistic, model in the way that we design instruction (more on that later). Bloom proposes that there are different levels of learning , or orders of knowledge, each of which has benefits, and which  form  a structure that can be used in the classroom. At my school we use the ideas of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric as our “taxonomy”, and our teaching philosophy is based around this. These stages are roughly analogous to groups of Bloom’s Taxonomy:

     Grammar – Remembering, Understanding

     Logic – Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating

     Rhetoric – Evaluating, Creating  (mostly focused on Creating)

As such, these ideas are highly visible in my instruction, as my school requires it. Though we almost never refer to these levels  by Bloom’s categorization, we do use them when we are looking at lesson planning. For example, I teach 7th grade, and middle school is supposed to be mostly revolving  around the Logic stage. Due to this, when I am designing lessons, I try to include grammar where necessary (Remembering, Understanding), Logic as the main scaffold (Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating), and Rhetoric where appropriate (Creating). Science at this level naturally tends towards Applying, Analyzing and Evaluating, so the fit is good. Other subjects may or may not naturally line up this way, so I hesitate to make any broad statements in that respect.



     Where Bloom looks at knowledge, Marzano seems to focus more on the act of learning itself. Marzano’s strategies are a good starting point when I design my lessons. Whenever I want to add a new concept to my curriculum, I start by defining my objectives, then I move to designing activities for my students. I find Marzano especially helpful when it comes to homework, as I have always held the belief that it should be deliberate and not busy work, and that it should come with feedback and debriefing for my students to be as valuable as possible.

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