Challenge and Engagement

Levels of challenge and development of pupils’ higher order thinking.

At Dashwood Banbury Academy we understand the importance of ensuring that all pupils are challenged in their learning to ensure they make good and exceeding levels of progress. We understand that questioning is an imperative part of excelling pupils’ learning. Bloom’s Taxonomy provides an important framework to focus on higher order thinking. By providing a hierarchy of levels, this taxonomy assists our teachers in designing performance tasks, crafting questions for conferring with pupils and provides a feedback strategy for pupil work.

Questions for critical thinking are used in the classroom to develop all levels of thinking within the cognitive domain. The aim is to develop in our pupils:

  • encourage higher-order thought in our pupils
  • improved attention to detail
  • increased comprehension
  • expanded problem solving skills

At Dashwood, we use five major categories of cognitive processes to challenge our pupils’ and develop their higher order thinking. Starting from the simplest to the most complex these categories are:

Remember (Knowledge): Recall or retrieve previous learned information.

Understand (Comprehension): Comprehending the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. State a problem in one’s own words. Applies what was learned in learning to other situations.

Analyse: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that it may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.

Evaluate: Make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.

Create: Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements. Put parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new meaning or structure.

We are proud to provide a range of opportunities for our pupils that extend their learning, challenge them and develop their higher order and critical thinking. Some of the ways we do this across the curriculum are:

Literacy – Reading and Writing -, we offer after school opportunities; a ‘Reading Club‘ (KS2) and a ‘Library and Reading Club’ KS1. For Years 4-6 there are ‘Books for Breakfast’ and ‘Books for Afternoon Tea’ groups where, through the study of a challenging texts, children develop and refine the key comprehension skills of summarising, inference and prediction. From this they begin to develop an understanding of what makes successful writing and how they can apply these strategies to improve their own writing.

STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – we have established  links to Wykham Park Academy and Futures Institute Banbury where our upper KS2 pupils experience KS3 science lessons to inspire awe and wonder in the STEM subjects. Higher achieving Year 5 pupils have attended a STEM day with a focus on engineering . Through links to national programmes such as the Polar Explorers programme, the Bloom’s Taxonomy challenge planning has been used to develop thinking and reasoning skills.

Physical Education – through our NOSSP affiliation, KS2 pupils have attended Gifted and Talented Level 2 competitions in Sportshall Athletics.

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