Monday, 21 May 2012

Bloom's blooms

One of those rare CPD moments happened  to me more than 20 years ago. In a NATE workshop led by Stephen Parker of UEA we were asked early on to spend some time writing a poem about cats. Now I'm pretty ambivalent about cats (I'm more of a dog man). I find them beautiful but I distrust them. I remember trying to encapsulate this in my poem.  I struggled to frame this ambivalence in words. Stephen eventually called our pen-chewing to a halt and handed us a small collection of  poems about cats. With a shock of recognition and admiration  I read:
                                                              Gentle hunter
                                                              his tail plays on the ground
                                                              while he crushes the skull.
                                                              Beautiful death
                                                              who puts on a spotted robe
                                                              when he goes to his victim.
                                                              Playful killer
                                                              whose loving embrace
                                                              splits the antelope’s heart.

 Anon. - translated from Yoruba by Ulli Beier

Stephen went on to talk about the way that we commonly ask learners to read first and write after and suggested that sometimes it can be more powerful to reverse this. It was a lesson I learned well.  I was fascinated by the sense of empathy I had for a fellow-poet from a culture so very different from my own. I admired the directness and economy of his words. I had a profound sense of co-ownership of that poem that I still feel, perhaps a quarter of a century later.

So what's brought on all this reminiscing (apart from age)?  Well it's this blog post, Flipping Bloom's Taxonomy, flagged up on Twitter by the redoubtable Bill Boyd (@literacyadvisor). The post reminded me of something I'd written back in February where I suggested that it is often better to create in order to remember. 
On my drive home I thought about all this and wondered if the problem with the taxonomy is that it is often represented as a pyramid. Maybe some other visual representation would serve it better as it seems to me that that cognition in action is so much messier than a pyramid suggests. Perhaps something like this would serve better

Not all the links would be active all the time of course although creating tends to fire up the synapses more than any activity I know. And besides, if this mathematical form were adopted it would mean that that When Learning to Think a Mystic Rose Bloom's...
Good Lord poetry at the beginning and ending of a blog...I'd better go and have a cold shower.

Modupe spotted the text of this blog on the whiteboard while I was working in the ICT suite during a free period. Excitedly she asked me to click through my tabs until it appeared again. With great delight she told me that Yoruba  (pronounced Yoroba she tells me) is her mother tongue. 
Only connect....

See also: