“Understanding” is always fluid, transferable to new contexts and transformable into new theoryknowledge can be rote, more like correct beliefs than insight.
-when the student can give good reasons and telling evidence to support the claims.
make inferences and offer predictionsGo beyond the information given to make connections and associationsexplain why the answer is right or wrongGive valid evidence and argument for a view, and defend that view
The same physical phenomenon cannot have three accurate explanations. But the same stories and events can have many different plausible and illuminating interpretations. Making sense of the stories of others involves translation and interpretation A theory needs to be true to work;a story need only illuminate , engage, and have verisimilitude. The same physical phenomenon cannot have three accurate explanations. But the same stories and events can have many different plausible and illuminating interpretations.
A student with perspective is alert to what is taken for granted, assumed, overlooked, or glossed over in an inquiry or theory
It is the discipline of using one’s imagination to see and feel as others see and feel.Learning should be experiential.Whereas Perspective is to see from a critical distance, detaching one’s self to see more objectively – Empathy sees from inside the person’s worldview, embracing the insights that can be found in the subjective or aesthetic realm.
What evidence would I accept that students have attained the desired understandings and proficiencies?-before proceeding to plan teaching and learning experiences
What should students know, understand, and be able to do? What is worthy of understanding? What “enduring” understandings are desired?
Backward design for course development
Backward Design for Course DevelopmentWiggins, G & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by Design.Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and CurriculumDevelopment. (and their handbook)
How do you know that they know? They just did it! -Jane Vella
Understanding• What’s the difference between knowledge and understanding?
UnderstandingOccurs when “students are able to take information and skills . . . and apply them flexibly and appropriately in a new and at least somewhat unanticipated situation” -Howard Gardner
ExplanationDefinition: Sophisticated and apt explanations and theories, which provide knowledgeable and justified accounts of events, actions, and ideas (p. 12)When do you recognize this?
Understanding something “is to see it in its relations to other things: to note how it operates or functions, what consequences follow from it, what causes it” -John Dewey (as quoted in Wiggins & McTIghe, p. 12)
In AssessmentHave students:• Explain, not simply recall• Link specific facts with larger ideas and justify the connections;• Show their work, not just give an answer• Support their conclusions (p. 13)
InterpretationDefinition Interpretations, narratives, and translations that provide meaningWhat might this look like?
InterpretationBuilding a narrativeStudents “learn to build stories and interpretations, not just passively take in official ones. They need to see how knowledge is built ‘from the inside’.” (p. 17)
ApplicationDefinition The ability to use knowledge effectively in new situations and diverse contextsWhat might this look like?
ApplicationEmphasize• Performance-based learning (based in)• Authentic tasks• Only supplemented by more conventional tests
PerspectiveDefinition: Critical and insightful points of view (but not the student’s own point of view) Instead an understanding that complex questions involve multiple points of view – many which are plausible
PerspectiveBig Ideas!Give opportunities for students to• Confront alternative theories• Diverse points of viewBig questions… (such as?)
Perspective questions• From whose point of view? • What is justified or• From which vantage warranted? point? • Is it reasonable?• What is assumed or • What are the strengths tacit that needs to be and weaknesses of the made explicit and idea? considered? • Is it plausible?• Is there adequate • What are its limits? evidence?
EmpathyDefinition The ability to get inside another person’s feelings and worldviewImagination (how?)
Empathy• How does it seem to you?• What do they see that I don’t?• What do I need to experience if I am to understand?• What was the artist or performer feeling, seeing, and trying to make me feel and see? Experiential (p. 22)
Self-KnowledgeDefinition The wisdom to know one’s ignorance and how one’s patterns of thought and action inform as well as prejudice understanding. “An immature mind is not merely ignorant or unskilled but unreflective.” (p. 26)
Self-knowledgeMetacognition Thinking about thinking – and through it we “seek and find the inevitable blind spots, prejudices, or oversights in our thinking.” (p. 27)
Self-knowledge• How does who I am shape my views?• What are the limits of my understanding?• What are my blind spots?• What am I prone to misunderstand because of prejudice, habit, or style?
Backward Design Process 1. Identify desired results 2. Determine acceptable evidence 3. Plan learning experiences and instruction
Identify desired results• Look at the course goals and make choices• Consider the important ideas or core processes that are transferrable to new situations “Five years from now….”
Identify Desired Results• What is important for students to be able to do, know, or perform?• What enduring understandings are needed?• What are the essential questions?
Essential Questions• Overarching – transcend the particulars of a unit and point toward larger, transferable ideas• Topical – more specific – lead to particular understandings related to the topics of this unit, key inferences and generalizations
Examples: Overarching• Should the desire for economic productivity drive society’s adult education curriculum?• Should the focus of adult learning be on the needs of the individual or on the needs of society? – Who should decide/influence this?• Do “we” have an obligation to provide life-long learning?(and how do you define “we”?) What benefits are there to society in providing life-long learning?
Examples: Overarching• What should be the overall aim or role of adult learning in society today?• In what ways is your social and cultural context influencing the ways in which you think of yourself as a learner, in what you learn, and how you learn?• How do these influences get reflected in formal learning environments for adults?
Examples: Topical Consider your own motivation to learn • To what extent does your own experience reflect these research findings? • How does it differ from what we’ve read or discussed? • How might you account for these differences?
Think about the meaning of learningso far in your own life.• How have the events of your life led you to or away from learning?• How have your learning needs changed as you progressed through life?• How have life events affected your motivation to engage in learning?• Consider McClusky’s Theory of Margin – identify where you were in the margin at different times –Where are you now?
Examples: TopicalReflection: What have you learned about the nature of adult learning? About yourself as an adult learner?
Determine acceptable evidenceHow will we know that they know?• “Think about your course in terms of the assessment evidence needed to validate that the desired learning has been achieved – so that the course is not simply content to be covered or a series of learning activities” – (p. 39)
Determine acceptable evidence • How will enduring understanding be measured? • How will assessments vary? – Both formal and informal – Scope – Time frame – Setting – Structure
Begin with assessment• Authentic tasks / Problem based learning• More traditional approaches (quizzes, tests, etc) to supplement when appropriate – to evaluate knowledge and skill levels• Self-assessment• Peer assessment
Plan learning experiences and instruction• What enabling knowledge (facts, concepts, and principles) and skills (procedures) will students need to perform effectively and achieve desired results?• What activities will equip students with the needed knowledge and skills?• What will need to be taught and coached, and how should it best be taught, in light of performance goals?• What materials and resources are best suited to accomplish these goals?• Is the overall design coherent and effective?
WHERE do you focus?• Where the work is headed• Hook students with engaging works (key ideas)• Explore the subject in depth (equip & experience)• Rethink with students the big ideas (research, revise)• Evaluate and develop action plans through self- assessment
• Packets• Questions• Reference: Wiggins, G & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by Design. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. (and their handbook)