Benjamin Bloom, a well-respected American educational psychologist, headed a group who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. The image of the pyramid gives a visual of how lower level thinking builds up to higher level thinking.
This hierarchy shows how a critical thinker can build upon and consciously employ multiple levels of thinking and learning:
When you analyze a text, you want to be able to employ all of the levels of thinking. Let’s take a look at a passage from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass.
I was now about twelve years old, and the thought of being a slave for life began to bear heavily upon my heart. Just about this time, I got hold of a book entitled The Columbian Orator. Every opportunity I got, I used to read this book. Among much of other interesting matter, I found in it a dialogue between a master and his slave. The slave was represented as having run away from his master three times. The dialogue represented the conversation which took place between them, when the slave was retaken the third time. In this dialogue, the whole argument in behalf of slavery was brought forward by the master, all of which was disposed of by the slave. The slave was made to say some very smart as well as impressive things in reply to his master—things which had the desired though unexpected effect; for the conversation resulted in the voluntary emancipation of the slave on the part of the master.
Either using this passage from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass or your current reading assignment, fill in an example sentence (in the white boxes below) that demonstrates each level of thinking. An example has been included for each level to guide you.