Asking the right question is very important in order to get the right information and in achieving the purpose of asking questions. When you formulate and ask your questions appropriately, you are able to understand easily, and if comprehension is not fully achieved, you are able to ask more questions that would dig deep into the information.
An individual who is able to progress the manner of questioning from easy to moderate to creative level is at the same time developing cognitive growth. This concept was studied and introduced many years ago by an education professor at the University of Chicago, Benjamin Bloom.
The Concept of Bloom’s Taxonomy
Benjamin Bloom developed a set of questioning strategies which he coined Bloom’s Taxonomy. This approach has been very useful for professionals in the field of education. He believed that asking questions should exercise the cognitive aspect or thinking ability of a person where the perceptions are broadened instead of just limiting responses to facts and knowledge. The more challenging the questions, the more creative and imaginative a person becomes in the manner of responding.
The word ‘taxonomy’ refers to a system of classification or level. Bloom is famous for introducing the classification of questions in a progressive level of thinking. He developed six classifications of questioning skills that serve as guide for many educators in formulating questions.
From the lowest level of thinking skill, the kinds of questions progress to a higher level of thinking. The higher order level of questions is very appropriate for mature people who have the ability to formulate questions that require the cognitive function.
The Six Thinking Skills
The different categories of questions according to the increasing level of thinking are based on knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
According to Benjamin Bloom, knowledge is the lowest level of questions generally used for recalling, remembering, defining, and describing. People ask questions to gather information such as questions answerable by who, what, when, where, and how. We ask questions to recall and verify names of people, locations, and many other things.
Comprehension questions are used to interpret understanding of the basic facts and ideas. In this level, the person is able to provide opinions about what is being communicated and rephrases or paraphrases it in one’s own words. The various activities involved in comprehension are discussion, explanation, interpretation, selection of facts and ideas, and creating outlines and diagrams.
Application questions elicit the use of abstracts, problem solving, and the use of facts, principles, and information to generate results. It requires the person to use information and put it into action or application. It is useful in activities such as illustration, solving, designing, constructing, inferences, demonstrating, manipulating and reporting.
On a progressive level of asking questions, analysis requires an individual to break down a large concept into itemized parts. So when you analyze by asking, you compare, sort, classify, investigate, make a survey, and perform a debate.
From a deductive approach in questioning, an individual may level up to a synthesized manner of asking where component parts are put together to form a whole. It asks a person to construct, design, create, formulate, compose, and plan.
The highest level of questioning and thinking skill is evaluation. These questions are meant to create judgment and decisions about issues and provide resolutions to problems.
Advantages of Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy
Bloom’s taxonomy is not just limited to individuals in the field of education. It is applicable to everyone who is interested in developing their questioning skills and level of thinking as well. Being able to ask the right and effective questions in any given situation adds more knowledge and improves cognitive creativity.
The use of higher order questioning (analysis, synthesis, and evaluation) is suggested for a better discovery of new learning concepts and knowledge. If we are asked questions that require personal viewpoints and inferences, our manner of thinking is improved.
We are bound to think of initiatives and think out of the box apart from factual knowledge which is pretty easy to grasp. Once you gradually develop asking questions in a progressive level, it becomes simple for you to interact and provide responses based from higher level of questions as well.