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Was ist das?

Learning with Luther

Martin Luther wrote in his Small Catechism these words that we, as Lutherans, all know so well. Was ist das? Literally: What is that? How we would use it today: What does this mean?

Though he didn’t know it at the time, he was implementing a framework of learning that wouldn’t be put to paper until a man named Benjamin Bloom chaired a committee of educators to design a framework that would improve communication between educators as they created curricula and assessments.

The publication Taxonomy of Educational Objectives became more readily known as Bloom’s Taxonomy and has gone through several revisions, most notably in 2000 when the revised version of the taxonomy was created.

If you aren’t familiar with Bloom’s Taxonomy, and you should be, please let me refer you to Pastor Peter Jurchen’s wonderful series of explanations to the revision.

Educational Objectives in the Parish

The Four Types of Knowledge

The Six Levels of Learning

How Knowledge and Learning Process Work Together

Four Questions To Keep You On Track

Tips for Improving Instruction

The Three Types of Assessments

Did you read them? Seriously! Did you read them? If not, go back and do that. Put them in your to-do list. I promise you, he dissects Bloom’s at a level that is easily understandable for every reader. If you have anything to do with education in your parish, reading these posts will give you great insight into the process that is learning.

The big question is this: How do you know that they (students) know “What does this mean?”

One of the most overlooked things in parish education is assessing whether our learning objectives were met. How do we know students (adults and youth alike) learned the material? Did they learn the material at the level of understanding that we wanted them to? How do we check for understanding without administering a “test”?

In my next post, I will begin to tackle these questions as they relate to the parish. There are two pieces of homework before the next post:

· Read all seven articles posted above. (You didn’t think I was going to forget about that, did you?)

· Go and download Luther’s Small Catechism from your app store of choice. We will be using this as a reference point in upcoming posts.



About Concordia Publishing House

Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. For 150 years, CPH has been providing individuals, churches, and schools with products that are faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. From books and Bibles to church supplies, curriculum, and software, CPH offers over 10,000 products to support the proclamation of the Gospel worldwide. Visit CPH online at