Going SOLO involves the whole school – blog post 1 from #SWATCONF15


Making flowers out of bits of foam at 10am in the morning, I wondered how this could ever help me in teaching Economics. SOLO taxonomy is a way of getting the students to order their learning to enable them to asses how they are progressing, what stage they are at and what they need to do in order to achieve top level. What I particularly like is that students can visually see how they can stretch themselves in any subject. I can visually see how students are able to become more independent learners if they understood exactly how this works.

The orders are PRESTRUCTURAL; Find out the key idea takes you to UNISTRUCTURAL; Find out more, do further research, ask questions takes you to MULTISTRUCTURAL; Go deeper. Find out WHY. Link knowledge and ideas to the bigger picture takes you to RELATIONAL; Think critically about the issue. Analyse and evaluate. Be creative. Think for yourself, takes yourself to EXTENDED ABSTRACT.

For Theory of the Firm in Economics it would look something like this:

PRESTRUCTURAL – I do not know anything about the structure of different markets

UNISTRUCTURAL – Explain how the market goes from Perfect competition, to Monopolistic, to Oligopoly to Monopoly. I can define what these are.

MULTISTRUCTURAL – Describe the characteristics of each of these markets. I can list and explain the key characteristics of each market structure.

RELATIONAL – Explain how different firms fit into different markets dependent on their objectives. I can independently analyse the market structure for long-haul and short haul flights (for example)

EXTENDED ABSTRACT – Critically evaluate how firms can move from one market structure to another dependent on their behaviour. I can analyse and evaluate using examples of different firms the type of market structure they operate in and how impacts on profit.

To help both the teacher and the learner in this quest, there are colour-coded symbols for each of the stages. We saw it effectively used in Art, Design Technology and French. During the student research presentations we saw it effectively used in History.  I can see it being used effectively in Economics, so does this call for a whole school approach to solving the dilemma of how to help the students visualise stretch and challenge?

I have lots of resources on how to use the method if you are interested in seeing if it would work for your subject.

Nicola Lilley @nicolalilley3

Teacher of Economics and Business


2 thoughts on “Going SOLO involves the whole school – blog post 1 from #SWATCONF15”

  1. Very interesting read I tried this out about 3 years ago and really tried to push it with my classes, showing them keynotes, explaining the theory and getting them to use it in their maths lessons – infact I still have it up in my classroom. Good to see you giving it a go. Good Luck.

    1. I would like to catch up with you to see what you have displayed in your classroom and how it has worked in Maths. I will be embedding it into my teaching of Y12 Economics after CEW so would like to invite you along to a class to see how it works. It would be great to discuss the effectiveness afterwards to see if anything needs tweaking and compare to your experience. Thanks for commenting

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