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Thinking Frameworks

Thinking Frameworks

Looking at Thinking

Educators have been working for years on the development of a simple, practical framework to help teachers be more effective and systematic in teaching their students how to think.  The result has been a confusing array of terms which often overlap and are defined differently by different authors. This section aims to clarify the research on thinking skills.

Bloom's Taxonomy >
By far, the most common model for describing thinking is Bloom’s Taxonomy, a list of six thinking skills arranged from the most basic to the most advanced level. These descriptions are used to help teachers and students focus on higher-order thinking. Bloom lists a hierarchy of skills: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Marzano's Taxonomy >
Robert Marzano, in response to problems he sees with Bloom’s Taxonomy, has developed what he calls a New Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. His four systems: self, metacognitive, cognitive, and knowledge domain work together to produce learning. Generally, the information in Thinking Skills is organized around his work.

Learning Styles >
Research suggests that when students are introduced to a new concept through their learning styles, they are then able to adjust to different ways of learning. The consideration of learning styles also results in improved motivation and learning. Several frameworks have been suggested to describe the different ways in which students learn.  The most commonly used framework identifies learners as visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners. Howard Gardner’s (1993) work on multiple intelligences has struck a chord with many educators as he identifies eight different ways in which students can be “intelligent”: linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist.


Anderson, L. W. and Krathwohl, D. R. (2001). A taxonomy for learning, teaching, and assessing. New York: Longman.

Bloom, B.S., (Ed.) (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals: Handbook I, cognitive domain. New York: Longmans.

Gardner, H. (1993). Multiple intelligences: The theory in practice. New York: Harper Collins.

Marzano, R. J. (2000). Designing a new taxonomy of educational objectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Thinking Models

Learn about different frameworks for teaching thinking skills.

Bloom’s Taxonomy >

Marzano’s Taxonomy >

Learning Styles >