Graduate Professional Experience 1 · NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards · Web 2.0 Applications

Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy

The NSW Institute of Teachers’ Professional Teaching Standards includes:

Element 4; Aspect 4.1.2 Demonstrate a range of questioning techniques designed to support student learning.

In observing my teacher, it is evident that teachers spend a significant amount of time asking questions and responding to answers. Research confirms that teachers can ask up to several hundred questions each day.

Questions can be used in order to stimulate interest, summarise important points, promote discussion, inspire higher cognitive level thinking, monitor class progress, routines and behaviours, uphold attention and assess learning.

Evidently, good questions are very important and require planning.

When we provide our students with higher order questions, they are required to think beyond simply remembering; reaching higher order levels and developing their thought processes. Different types of questions involve the use of different thinking skills.

My observations confirm that this is not an easy task as higher level questions are not being used often, if at all, in my current classroom.

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a multi-tiered chart which classifies thinking according to six cognitive levels of complexity. As teachers, we can use these levels, which can be seen in the butterfly poster below, to support our students to reach a higher level of thought.

Two of the most difficult skills in teaching refer to effective questioning and responding to answers. When planning questions, it is important to ensure they match the main points that are to be developed. Questions which focus on insignificant facts that do not focus on the material that needs to be covered need to be avoided.

Questions can be divided into two broad categories: fact and higher cognitive. Fact questions derive from the first tier of Bloom’s Taxonomy, while the higher cognitive level questions derive from the other levels. Independent thinking is encouraged via the higher cognitive level questions, with the amount varying according to the level of taxonomy.

Take a look at this Storybird I made, which provides some examples of applying Bloom’s Taxonomy in your classroom (click on the image).



Click here to learn about using Storybird in your classroom.

Among fact and higher order questions, teachers ask procedural questions pertaining to the routines and procedures of the class. Research states that 60% of the questions asked by teachers are fact, only 20% are higher cognitive and 20% are procedural.

This definitely needs to change.

Our students need to be provided with more higher cognitive level questions if we want to foster independent thinking and support our students in reaching a higher level of thinking to support their learning.


Alford, G., Herbert, P. & Frangenheim, E. (2006). Bloom’s Taxonomy Overview. In Innovative Teacher’s Companion, (pp176-224). ITC Publications.

Ball, M. (n.d.). Developing Thinking Skills. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from

Barry, K. & King, L. (1998). Developing instructional skills. In Beginning Teaching and Beyond, (3rd ed.), (pp144-167). Social Science Press.

Forehand, M. (2005). Bloom’s taxonomy: Original and revised. In M. Orey (Ed.), Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from

New South Wales Institute of Teachers. (2006). Professional Teaching Standards. Retrieved 4 Februray, 2009 from

Storybird. (2011). Collaborate Storytelling. Retrieved 18, April, 2011, from

Suki Husain. (2009). Bloom’s Taxonomy Poster for Elementary Teachers. Retrieved 18 April, 2011, from,

10 thoughts on “Applying Bloom’s Taxonomy

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and these wonderful graphics! I am a consultant who observes lots of classes per year. Most of the questions posed by teachers (and students) are at the lowest levels. And wait time is way too short for quality responses. You’ve made me think this morning. Thanks!


    1. Thank you for commenting, I’m so happy to hear you liked it! Hopefully if there is more talk about it, there will be more higher order questions being asked. I’m definitely thinking of writing a post about wait time! Have a nice day.


  2. We are working on wait time in our school. It is important to give the students time to process. We definitely need to think about our questioning techniques as well. Formulating our questions and writing them down before the lesson begins will insure that we have many higher order questions.

    You have me thinking. The pie chart is very telling and I will certainly be trying to get my questioning in the red level!!!



    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment, it is greatly appreciated.

      It is so good to hear that your school is focussing on wait time! It is such a simple thing to do and just as easy to forget!

      Taking that extra bit of time to plan questions has the potential to make a good lesson great. I’m so happy to hear your enthusiasm!


  3. This was a really interesting read Ashley! I mentor several NQTs across different schools and one of the main things I get them to focus on is appropriate and challenging questioning. One of the major influences on my teaching career once told me that good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers. Something I always come back to to refocus me.


    1. Thank you, Stuart! That is truly fantastic to hear! I really like that line ‘…good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of right answers.’ It is very true and I will definitely keep that in mind and pass it on.


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