The Classics Never Go Out of Style

I’m a fan of the classics. Literature, movies, cars, clothes- I have a deep, abiding love for things you can count on. (Yes, I realize that might seem contradictory for someone in the change business. What can I say- I’m a complicated person.) Education, on the other hand, is full of here-today-gone-tomorrow pedagogy. We’ve all lived through never ending onslaughts of “the next big thing,” knowing that the innovation didn’t have staying power. There are exceptions, of course, with Critical Skills being at the head of the pack, in my book, followed closely by Progressivism- but we’ve already been down that road, haven’t we?

I’ll bet you might not realize, though, that one of the innovative educator’s best friends was actually born in the 1940’s. Bloom’s taxonomy, that old reliable instructional aid, is around 60 years old. (Amazing! I’d never guess a day over 40!) In honor of that, the folks at Learning Today have created this lovely poster for download:


Besides being absolutely gorgeous and totally downloadable (’cause you really can’t beat free), there’s one other interesting thing about this poster. It doesn’t look like the Bloom’s you grew up with. When I came through school (back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we scratched our arithmetic into the dirt with pointy sticks), Bloom’s Taxonomy looked like this:
This version has the old familiar stair steps- knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. (or, if you prefer,
Kitty Cooks Apples And Avocados Saturday Evenings).

The new version (which was actually the product of revisions done in the 90’s by a team lead by a former student of Bloom’s:

takes us into gerund land, reminding us that kids are supposed to be doing these things, not just experiencing them. There are also replacements- remembering for knowledge and understanding for comprehension, and with creating replacing synthesis at the top. (Makes sense to me- I’ve never created anything that didn’t call a whole host of skills into use.)

So it’s true that classics are classics- but a little updating never hurt anyone.

(graphics courtesy


2 responses to “The Classics Never Go Out of Style

  1. You just have to admire how stable things can be over a long period of time even though they may need a little adjustment as time goes by. But having said that if things aren’t going forward, they are going backward!

  2. That’s the beauty of classic, you know?

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