In my search for ways to focus on students’ progress, I have stumbled upon this post about SOLO taxonomy. The model is similar to Bloom’s in that it describes several levels of understanding, from pre-structural (when the student knows only some disjointed information, e.g. words that he or she cannot put in a sentence) to uni-structural (just one scripted answer – survival level) to multi-structural (the student knows about several concepts but uses them additively), relational (a more coherent understanding) and extended abstract (seeing connections between different areas and subjects). How can it be used to give students a better sense of progress? The proponents of the taxonomy suggest teaching them to self-assess their progress using SOLO descriptors. It has worked for some, but it does sound like a lot of extra time spent in the classroom, doesn’t it? Some teachers got quite disillusioned because they saw that the model detracts from building a solid knowledge foundation.
So, perhaps SOLO is too complex to use with most learners. Still, I find myself mentally applying it to teacher training and development: how we move from the level of ‘what on earth can I do to teach the Past Simple???’ to ‘what activity shall I choose to teach the Past Simple?’ to ‘how and why is this activity going to help my learners reach their goals?’.
What are your thoughts, would you use a model like this in your classroom? Language or teacher training?