Bloom’s taxonomy


What is Bloom’s taxonomy?


Benjamin Bloom developed a way of categorizing our thinking skills into a hierarchy like this:


Key Points


The taxonomy is very useful for English teachers when devising questions for students or asking them to arrive at their own questions.


Start with simple ‘what’ questions for ‘remember/understand’, .e.g ‘what is happening in this text?’


Ask students to ‘how’ questions next for apply/analyse: ‘how does the writer create interest/suspense/drama etc.?’


Ask students evaluative questions after that: ‘how successful is the text?’


Ask creative questions to achieve the top of the pyramid, e.g. ‘Write a diary entry based on a character’s thoughts and feelings in the novel’, ‘Write a poem in response to this text’ etc.


Many educational theorists have questioned whether there is a hierarchy of cognition like this.

Learn more

(Armstrong, 2017)


About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing ( which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network,, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.
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