To become acquainted with the big ideas of Understanding by Design.
As its title suggests, Understanding by Design (UbD) reflects the convergence of two interdependent ideas:
- research on learning and cognition that highlights the centrality of teaching and assessing for understanding, and
- a helpful and timehonored process for curriculum writing (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).
UbD is based on eight key tenets:
- UbD is a way of thinking purposefully about curricular planning, not a rigid program or prescriptive recipe.
- A primary goal of UbD is developing and deepening student understanding— the ability to make meaning of learning via “big ideas” and to transfer learning.
- UbD unpacks and transforms content standards and mission-related goals.
- Understanding is revealed when students autonomously make sense of and transfer their learning through authentic performance. Six facets of understanding—the capacities to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess—serve as indicators of understanding.
- Effective curriculum is planned “backward” from long-term desired results through a three-stage design process (Desired Results, Evidence, Learning Plan).
- Teachers are coaches of understanding, not mere purveyors of content or activity. They focus on ensuring learning, not just teaching (and assuming that what was taught was learned); they always aim—and check—for successful meaningmaking and transfer by the learner.
- Regular reviews of units and curriculum against design standards enhance curricular quality and effectiveness.
- UbD refl ects a continuous-improvement approach to achievement. The results of our designs—student performance—inform needed adjustments in curriculum as well as instruction; we must stop, analyze, and adjust as needed, on a regular basis.
Source: The Understanding by Design by
Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe
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