Theory

The Bard Blitz is made up of four progressive stages that move from close reading to the development of an original argument. These stages follow David A. Kolb’s experiential learning cycle.

  STAGE 1 STAGE 2 STAGE 3 STAGE 4
KOLB concrete experience reflective observation abstract conceptualisation active experimentation
BARD BLITZ experiencing the text comprehending the text developing a concept hoard constructing an argument
ACTION  Students work in small groups to familiarise themselves with the extract Students work in pairs to consolidate their understanding of the precise meaning of the extract by translating it Students brainstorm as a small group to come up with concepts that they feel are exemplified in the extract Students work individually with their concept hoard to build an evidence-based argument about the extract and text

As the student is guided through the Bard Blitz she or he will be engaging in intellectual activity that exemplifies all levels of John B. Biggs and Kevin F. Collis’ SOLO (‘Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome’) taxonomy. The SOLO taxonomy describes levels of learner understanding detectable in learning task responses ranging upwards through these categories:

  • prestructural (student ‘misses the point’);
  • unistructural (does simple procedures);
  • multistructural (describes, lists and combines);
  • relational (analyzes, relates and applies);
  • extended abstract (theorizes, hypothesizes and reflects).

(For more on this taxonomy follow up with Biggs and Tang's Teaching for Quality Learning at University.)

While activities located within the first two stages of the Bard Blitz call for unistructural and multistructural thinking (determining word meanings, identifying linguistic features, describing what is being said), activities located in the latter two stages provoke relational and extended abstract thinking (analysing and explaining features of the text, comparing and contrasting, relating to larger contexts, deriving general ideas and hypotheses, building abstract and complex theories). Each stage in the SOLO taxonomy benefits from the preceding stages and the same is true of the Bard Blitz.