Understanding by Design - Education Essay Example

Wiggins And McTighe’s Understanding By Design (1998) INTRODUCTION The Understanding by Design framework was designed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. It offers a planning process and structure to guide curriculum, assessment, and instruction towards interfering students’ understanding. This approach had been used in many countries as a guideline in designing curriculum. It has two key ideas which are, focus on teaching and assessing for Understanding and learning transfer, and also design curriculum “backward” from those ends.

Covey, S (1994) also quoted from this, one of the tips if you want to success is “To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination”. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen. Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe introduce the notion of a backward design process that begins the purpose of the task or the desired results and works backward from there.


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They pragmatically discuss the importance of clear goals and the thoughtful alignment of goals, assessments and also learning activities. They also highlighted a theory of the six facets of understanding and the priorities for establishing what is worth understanding. In additions, they describe the kinds of questions that can organize material for understanding by using three stages of backward design, identify desired results; determine acceptable evidence; and plan learning activities. WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING BY DESIGN (UBD)?

Wiggins and McTighe defined, Understanding by Design is a “framework for designing curriculum units, performance assessments, and instruction that lead your students to deep understanding of the content you teach. UbD expands on “six facets of understanding”, which include students being able to explain, interpret, apply, have perspective, empathize, and have self-knowledge about a given topic. (http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Understanding_by_Design) It is the Backwards Approach to Curriculum Design. It also means, ‘Think with the end in mind,

Start with assessment’. This is an approach to develop curricula and assessments with a focus on developing and deepening students’ understanding of important ideas. This approach is used to teach differs from others in that it requires the use of a backward design process. To apply this approach, teachers need to determine what the students should know, understand, and be able to do as a result of instruction first. Then they can plan the curriculum, instruction, and assessment around those goals. This is differs from traditional approaches to designing curriculum.

Instead of planning activities or tasks first, you begin with how and what will be assessed. THE ‘BIG IDEA’ OF UBD The ‘Big Idea’ of UbD should be the focus of education for understanding. A big idea is a concept, theme, or issue that gives meaning and connection to discrete facts and skills. There are two ‘Big Ideas’ of UbD: 1. Teach and Assess for Understanding 2. 3 Stages of Backward Design TEACH AND ASSESS FOR UNDERSTANDING: WHAT IS UNDERSTANDING? Before teachers teach and assess their students, they need to understand a topic or subject first.

Understanding means to use knowledge and skill in sophisticated, flexible ways. The knowledge and skill are the necessary elements of understanding, but they are not synonymous with understanding. Matters of understanding require more on students need to make conscious sense and apt use of the knowledge they are learning and the principles underlying it. (Wiggins and McTighe: 1998) SIX FACETS OF UNDERSTANDING Understanding by Design identifies six aspects, or facets of understanding that help designers to determine a deep or mature understanding of an idea.

Wiggins and McTighe (1998, p. 44), suggest that when we truly understand an idea we: * Can explain: provide thorough, supported, and justifiable accounts of phenomena, facts, and data. * Can interpret: tell meaningful stories; offer apt translations; provide a revealing historical or personal dimension to ideas and events; make it personal or accessible through images, anecdotes, analogies, and models. * Can apply: effectively use and adapt what we know in diverse contexts. * Have perspective: see and hear points of view through critical eyes and ears; see the big picture.

* Can empathize: find value in what others might find odd, alien, or implausible; perceive sensitively on the basis of prior direct experience. * Have self knowledge: perceive the personal style, prejudices, and habits of mind that both shape and impede our own understanding; we are aware of what we do not understand and why understanding is so hard. BACKWARD DESIGN Wiggins and McTighe (1998) introduced Understanding By Design, which is a framework for designing curriculum units, performance assessments, and instruction that leads students to deeper understanding of the content.

This approach to teaching differs from others in that it requires the use of a backward design process. That is, teachers first determine what the students should know, understand, and be able to do as a result of instruction, and then plan the curriculum, instruction, and assessment around those goals. Accoridng to Wiggins and McTighe (1998), Backward design may be thought of as purposeful task analysis: Given a task to be accomplished, how do we get there? Or one might call it planned coaching on what kinds of lessons and practices are needed to master key performances?

This is designed to eliminate instruction that is activity oriented or coverage oriented. It starts with the end in mind and work backwards. The UbD process includes three stages. These stages are as follows: • Stage 1: identify desired results, • Stage 2: determine acceptable evidence • Stage 3: plan learning experiences and instruction. Stage 1: Identify desired results Stage 1 is a critical part of the Understanding by Design process. In this stage the desired results of instruction are specified. The backward design process comes into play as the focus of the designers is directed to the end results expected from instruction.

Stage 1 involves the designers in three specific tasks: identifying enduring understandings, identifying essential questions, and identifying other important knowledge and skills that will result from the unit. Identifying enduring understandings. The most difficult task with which the designers will have to grapple is what knowledge is most essential and enduring; in other words, what are the enduring understandings that should result from the unit. This task is difficult because the curriculum identified by national standards, state standards, district standards and textbooks is far more than can be reasonably handled in school year.

Determining the desired results of instruction needs thoughtful consideration by the individual designer or the design team. The design team’s task is to prioritize content knowledge so that the most essential and enduring ideas are given the attention they deserve. Essential and enduring ideas are defined as those big ideas that students will retain long after they have forgotten many of the details about them. They are ideas that are as useful and valid in the “real world” outside of the school as they are in the classroom. Stage 2: Determine acceptable evidence

This stage identifies specific assessments that will be used to judge whether the results were achieved and how well they were achieved. The teachers need to identify the summative assessment and also what is the culminating activity that will represent the Understandings students have gained from the unit. To determine acceptable evidence, we can use G. R. A. S. P. S. to plan performance tasks, which are: G| Goal| R| Role| A| Audience| S| Situation| P| Product/Performance and Purpose| S| Standards for Criteria and Success| G. R. A. S. P. S.

is provided as a prompt for the teacher in constructing quality performance tasks scenarios. Variety of assessment types are required such as tests and quizzes, academic prompts, informal checks in class, performance tasks, observation and dialogues. Stage 3: Plan learning experiences and instruction Plan learning experiences and instruction occurs when enduring understandings and appropriate evidence of understanding culminate in an effective instructional activity. This requires the teacher to consider the intersection of engaging tasks and effective tasks.

Activities at this intersection motivate students to explore understandings and misconceptions. W. H. E. R. E. T. O. is an acronym for planning steps to help meet the requirements for a lesson. W| Where are we going? What is expected? | H| How will we hook the students? | E| How will we equip students for expected performances? | R| How will we rethink or revise? | E| How will students self-evaluate and reflect their learning? | T| How will we tailor learning to varied needs, interests, and learning styles| O| How will we organize the sequence of learning? |

This WHERETO should be used effectively to develop tasks that are engaging, that are consistent with state educational standards, and that promote self-directed and life-long learning. UbD TEMPLATE A UbD template was created and suggested by Wiggins and McTighe for teachers’ guidelines as attached in Appendix 1 which was taken from McTighe website: http://jaymctighe. com/resources/ Below is the sample of UbD Template: Stage 1- Desired Results| Established Goals: * What relevant goals (e. g. , content standards, course or program objectives, learning outcomes) will this design address?

| Understandings:Student will understand that… * What are the big ideas? * What specific understandings about them are desired? * What misunderstandings are predictable? | Students will Know:… * What key knowledge and skills will students acquire as a result of this unit? * What should they eventually be able to do as a result for such knowledge and skills| Students will be able to … | Stage 2- Assessment Evidence| Performance Tasks: * Through what authentic performance tasks will students demonstrate desired understandings?

* By what criteria will performance of understanding be judged? | Other Evidence: * Through what other evidence (e. g. , quizzes, tests, academic prompts, observations, homework, journals) will students demonstrate achievement of the desired results ? * How will students reflect upon and self-asses their learning? | Stage 3- Learning Plan| Learning Activities:What learning experiences and instruction will enable students to achieve the desired results? How will the design:| W| Help the students know Where the unit is going and what is expected?

Help the teacher know where the students are coming from (prior knowledge, interests)? | H| Hook all students and Hold their interests? | E| Equip students, help them Experience the key ideas and Explore the issues? | R| Provide opportunities to Rethink and Revise the understandings and work? | E| Allow students to Evaluate their work and its implications? | T| Be Tailored (personalized) to the different needs, interests, and abilities of learners? | O| Be Organized to maximize initial and sustained engagement as well as effective learning?

| Source: http://www. slideshare. net/abanos/ubd-edi-soh-presentation Establishing Curricular Priorities By using backward design, the teacher starts with classroom outcomes and then plans the curriculum, choosing activities and materials that help determine student ability and foster student learning. It also emphasizes the teacher’s critical role as a designer of student learning. Ubd has the standards-driven curriculum to help teachers clarify learning goals, devise revealing assessments of student understanding, and effective and engaging learning activities.

Therefore, Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, and published by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), Understanding by Design is based on the following key ideas: * A primary goal of education should be the development and deepening of student understanding. * Students reveal their understanding most effectively when they are provided with complex, authentic opportunities to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective, empathize, and self-assess. When applied to complex tasks, these “six facets” provide a conceptual lens through which teachers can better assess student understanding.

* Effective curriculum development reflects a three-stage design process called “backward design” that delays the planning of classroom activities until goals have been clarified and assessments designed. This process helps to avoid the twin problems of “textbook coverage” and “activity-oriented” teaching, in which no clear priorities and purposes are apparent. * Student and school performance gains are achieved through regular reviews of results (achievement data and student work) followed by targeted adjustments to curriculum and instruction.

Teachers become most effective when they seek feedback from students and their peers and use that feedback to adjust approaches to design and teaching. * Teachers, schools, and districts benefit by “working smarter” through the collaborative design, sharing, and peer review of units of study. (Source: Understanding by Design by  G. Wiggins,  J. McTighe 2nd ed. 2006. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Alexandria, VA. http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC1885909/ ) In practice, Understanding by Design offers:

* a three-stage “backward planning” curriculum design process anchored by a unit design template * a set of design standards with attendant rubrics * and a comprehensive training package to help teachers design, edit, critique, peer- review, share, and improve their lessons and assessments. These materials provide educators with a powerful set of resources to make their work more focused, engaging, coherent, and effective. Basically, below are the three-ring Audit process and assessments can be used as the teachers’ guidelines: Three-ring Audit Process: Worth Being Familiar With

Important to Know and Do Enduring Understanding What concepts should be students be familiar with What important knowledge and skills must students have for mastery Anchors the unit; Why is this topic worth studying Three-ring Audit Process Assessments: Worth Being Familiar With Important to Know and Do Enduring Understanding Traditional quizzes or tests Constructed or selected responses Authentic performance tasks and projects CONCLUSION The backward design process developed and described by McTighe and Wiggins has useful application beyond the development of lesson plans for a classroom.

It is applicable in education systems. The awareness of its importance to create clear learning goals and the thoughtful alignment of goals, assessments, and learning activities, are beneficial towards enduring understanding. It familiarizes teachers with the ideas and materials that will enable them to create effective and engaging in a lesson. The teacher’s critical role as an assessor and designer of student learning, to make the students’ understanding, and effective and engaging in learning activities. The six facets of understanding can serve as indicators of students’ understanding.

Students’ learning can be improved and enhanced when teachers think purposefully about curricular planning. The UbD framework helps to focus curriculum and teaching on the development and deepening of student understanding and transfer of learning the ability to effectively use content knowledge and skill. REFERENCES http://dc364. 4shared. com/doc/V9nrZ0He/preview. html Wiggins, G and McTighe, J. 1998. Understanding by Design. Alexandria: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Understanding_by_Design http://ezinearticles.

com/? Understanding-By-Design—The-Way-I-Understand-It-%28Part-One%29&id=4976052 http://grantwiggins. files. wordpress. com/2012/09/mctighe_wiggins_final_common_core_standards. pdf Understanding by design 2004 http://www. grantwiggins. org/documents/mtuniontalk. pdf Understanding by Design by  G. Wiggins,  J. McTighe 2nd ed. 2006. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Alexandria, VA. http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC1885909/ ) http://jaymctighe. com/resources/ http://www. slideshare. net/abanos/ubd-edi-soh-presentation

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