To what extent does Bloom’s taxonomy actually apply to foreign language teaching and learning?

Finally, the application of Bloom’s Taxonomy to language learning is being questioned publicly. In earlier times, educators were adamant that language teachers need not concern themselves with the higher domains of the taxonomy. Now, it seems that we may be emerging from Benjamin Bloom’s long shadow. Gianfranco Conti is a fine critic and takes nearly 30 years of thinking head on.

The Language Gym


Bloom’s taxonomy of higher order thinking skills has acquired a mythological status, amongst educators. It is one of those reference frameworks that teachers adhere to with some sort of blind allegiance and which, in 25 years of teaching, I have never heard anyone question or criticize. Yet, it is far from perfect and, as I intend to argue in this article, there are serious issues undermining its validity, both with its theoretical premises and its practical implementation in MFL curriculum planning and lesson evaluation in school settings.

Why should we be ‘wary’ of the Bloom taxonomy, as the ‘alarmist’ title of this article implies? Mainly because people forget or fail to consider that the Bloom Taxonomy was not meant as an evaluative tool and does not purport to measure ‘effective teaching’. In fact, the book in which the higher order thinking skills taxonomy was published is entitled: Taxonomy of Educational…

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