Teaching for Understanding Framework in Practice


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This article is prepared by Su-Tuan Lulee for EDDE 803 at Ed. D., Athabasca University, Canada in 2010.

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Teaching for Understanding Framework in Practice

  1. 1. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 1Running head: TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 1 Teaching for Understanding Framework in Practice Su-Tuan Lulee Professor: Dr. Susan Moisey Prepared for Assignment 1 EDDE 803: Teaching and Learning in Distance Education Ed. D., Athabasca University October, 2010
  2. 2. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 2 AbstractThis paper describes the Teaching for Understanding framework, a pedagogical theory developed by theTeaching for Understanding team at Project Zero in the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and waysof using it in actual instruction. The essential elements of the framework are described first. The paperthen delineates how the framework can be applied in unit design and learning processes with thesupporting tools and techniques. The conclusion points to a need for exploring the integration ofemerging social learning technologies with the Teaching for Understanding framework so that theframework can better support teaching and learning from distance. Keywords: Teaching for Understanding framework, instructional design
  3. 3. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 3 Teaching for Understanding Framework in Practice Most educators would agree that learners in schools need to develop understanding aboutimportant academic subject matter, not merely memorize facts and figures. Leaders in all fields wouldwelcome employees who know how to think and learn in the constant changing Information Age. Howcan educators foster understanding outcomes? Educators strive to explain clearly, look for opportunitiesto re-clarify, and plan activities that call for and build understanding. However, it is not rare to find thatsome students still don’t understand. How can factual knowledge be accumulated into understandingthat equips learners to demonstrate their knowledge in real problems? What strategy would bestsupport daily teaching for understanding in terms of designing units or curriculum, conductingeducational activities with learners, and assessing learners’ progress? This paper tries to answer thequestions through examining the Teaching for Understanding framework. Literature Review In this paper, “Teaching for Understanding” is used as a specific term for describing thepedagogical theory developed by the Teaching for Understanding team at Project Zero, Harvard GraduateSchool of Education. The principal investigators are Howard Gardner, David Perkins, and Vito Perroneand the project managers are Rebecca Simmons and Martha Stone WiskeWhat is Understanding? “Understanding is a matter of being able to do a variety of thought-demanding things with atopic - like explaining, finding evidence and examples, generalizing, applying, analogizing, andrepresenting the topic in a new way” (Perkins, & Blythe, 1994, p. 5). For example, understanding inmathematics is not just being able to apply equations to routine textbook problems. Students must beable to carry out a variety of “performances” that apply equations to or make predictions aboutauthentic situations. Based on this definition, we can say that being able to achieve a high score in a
  4. 4. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 4paper-and-pencil test alone is not “understanding”; being able to describe facts or methods only is notnecessarily “understanding.” Understanding is not just having knowledge (i.e., information) ordemonstrating skills (i.e., routine performances). “Understanding is the ability to think and act flexiblywith what one knows” (Perkins, 1998, p.40). It is not to say that factual knowledge is not important. Factual knowledge is the foundation ofcompetence. However, students must understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptualframework and organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application (Bransford, Brown, &Cocking, 2000).Teaching for Understanding Framework Teaching for Understanding was a research project (1988 - 1995) in Project Zero at HarvardGraduate School of Education. In the developing years, researchers and participants collaborated todevelop, refine, and test a pedagogy called the Teaching for Understanding framework. The frameworkwas tested in collaboration with 60 middle and high school teachers. It has grown to become a widelyadopted framework in the US and some non-English speaking countries like Mexico and China throughonline teacher development certificate programs. The main contribution of the Teaching forUnderstanding framework to the field of teacher education is that it provides a set of language andstructure for planning curriculum and for discussing pedagogy with other colleagues and students. The core of the framework is a performance view of understanding – When students“understand” a topic, they not only can rephrase knowledge but also can put their understanding intoaction and applies it to a novel situation. For example, a student in a literature class might be able todescribe the outline of a story in her own words,role-play a character in an episode as she reacts todifferent part of the story, or write out an imagined debate to the authors to challenge them about someideas. These “performances of understanding” provide opportunities for students to demonstrate what
  5. 5. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 5they understand and in the meantime allow the educators to assess students’ levels of understandingand to adjust their teaching accordingly. Figure 1: The interplay between the elements of TfU framework The original Teaching for Understanding framework contains four elements: Generative Topics,Understanding Goals, Performances of Understanding, and Ongoing Assessments (Figure 1). All thesefour elements serve the purpose of focusing the energy and time of the educators on helping students tolearn about the most important topic for understanding in a particular domain or discipline. The fifthelement was added to the framework few years after the model was first proposed, when technologyintegration began to be taken into consideration by the researchers (Wiske & Franz, 2005). Constructivism Assumption The Teaching for Understanding framework is based on the assumptions of constructivism(Perkins, 2006b). In general, constructivism is a philosophical and psychological view of learning thatargues that knowledge and understanding cannot be learned through rote learning. Rather, learnershave to construct their knowledge and understanding by experiences given by the world and especiallyby the educators. Constructivism emphasizes active participation by the learners and that knowledge
  6. 6. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 6and understanding are socially constructed (Philips, 1995). Core Elements Generative Topics Since limited time is available for teaching at schools, considering “What topics are worthunderstanding?” is the first priority for the instructors when planning a curriculum. The instructors needa topic that is generative enough to allow the essential concepts, principles, and procedures to evolve inthe teaching-learning process. What topic is not only central to the domain, but also interesting to bothstudents and the instructor? Certainly, to investigate the topic, there must be sufficient appropriateresources available. Also, the topic should be able to generate multiple connections to more than onedomain. For example, global warming is a generative topic that can connect to weather, glaciers, or rainforests in a biology course; because it’s an important issue, everyone will be concerned about it; plentyof resources are accessible; and it has potential for multiple connections. Generative Topics are not just themes because themes lack centrality to the discipline. Forexample, a mathematics teacher may decide to use the theme of gorillas. The unit might involvemeasuring the number of gorillas in certain regions, collecting facts about the height and weight ofgorillas, locating gorillas on maps with coordinate tools, and so on. The unit might involve lots ofmathematics, but not a central mathematical idea. As such, “gorillas” is a theme, but not a generativetopic. Generative Topics should be concerned first with the core idea of the domain or discipline. Due to limited teaching hours, it is difficult to create one generative topic per lesson. Thegenerative topics are usually designed by unit. A unit is a group of lessons intended to deliver relatedconcepts, principles, processes, or facts, e.g., Circle, Triangle, and Square could be the three lessons in aunit on Shapes. The creation of the generative topic should be targeted on the broad concept of shapesinstead of each lesson - circle, triangle, or square.
  7. 7. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 7 Understanding Goals Understanding Goals define what needs to be understood in terms of the ideas, processes,relationships, or questions involved. Since Generative Topics often have potential to develop more thanone understanding, in order to keep students’ focus on central concepts of the discipline, educators needto identify several specific understanding goals for a topic. For example, suppose that the topic is“Globalization.” One understanding goal might be: “Students will understand that globalization is notonly a global issue but will have great impacts on their career.” Another topic might be: “Students willunderstand the impacts of globalization on our society in terms of the transnational circulation of ideas,languages, or popular culture.” There is no right or wrong list of understanding goals so long as theyensure the focus of the instruction (Perkins & Blythe, 1994). However, Understanding Goals should alignwith the central idea or Generative Topic as well as the key disciplinary concepts, processes, and uses.Most important, Understanding Goals should address the “big ideas” and should not be behavioral suchas “Students will be able to state the three causes of Civil War” (Blythe, 1997; Hetland, 2006; Wiske,1998a). The Teaching for Understanding framework suggests two types of understanding goals (Blythe,1997; Hetland, 2006; Wiske, 1998a). One is the Throughlines that describe the overarching goals of anentire semester or year long course. Another is the unit-level Understanding Goals that define the focusof a particular unit. In addition, the theory behind the Teaching for Understanding theory also suggeststhat the instructors list their understanding goals in phrases of the form: “Students will understandthat …” or “Students will appreciate that …” Understanding Goals should also be stated as interesting,student-friendly questions so that students will be interested and focus on what they are expected tounderstand (Blythe, 1997; Hetland, 2006; Wiske, 1998a). Wiske (1998a) argued that UnderstandingGoals are most useful when they are explicitly defined and publicly posted, have nested structure, andare focused on the key concepts and modes of inquiry in the relevant subject matter.
  8. 8. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 8 Performances of Understanding Performances of understanding are the core of developing understanding (Perkins & Blythe,1994; Wiske, 1998a). The fundamental conception and assumption of the Teaching for Understandingframework is that it treats understanding as a performance rather than a mental state. That meansunderstanding is developed by performing one’s understanding. When students learn a sport, a craft,various arts, and most learning outside of the school, they learn by engaging in complex performances.The Teaching for Understanding framework argues that engaging in complex performances should havethe same value in formal learning in terms of fostering understanding. Performances that show one’s understanding of a topic and advance it called “performances ofunderstanding.” The focus is on what a student rather than the teacher does. Not every learning activityis a “performance of understanding”. We can distinguish Performance of understanding from activitiesby asking “Can students do this and not understand?” Some activities such as true-and-false quizzes aretoo routine to be considered performances of understanding. The student answer the quizzes correctlydoesn’t mean that they can apply the knowledge to solve a novel problem. A person may first learn howto ride a bicycle by reading instructions or watching other bike-riders in action. That might help, but theperson will not be able to ride unless he/she really gets on a bicycle and ride it. Perkins and Blythe (1994) claimed that in order to foster an outcome of understanding, studentsmust be engaged in performances that show understanding. There are three progressive categories ofPerformances of Understanding: the initial introductory performances, the guided inquiry, and theculminating performances. The introductory performances include varied entry points, analogies, andmultiple presentations of core ideas. As students demonstrate understanding of preliminary goalsthrough performances, teachers should move to guided inquiry and provide guidance during the laterphases of students’ learning. A useful strategy is to foster a thinking culture that makes thinking a habit
  9. 9. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 9in the classroom; for example, asking students with questions such as: “What do you think about this?”or “What have you seen make you say that?” and providing them with timely feedback. By the end ofthe unit, students should be required to work more independently than they did in the initialperformances and guided inquiries, and to synthesize the understandings that they have developedthroughout the unit. The culminating performance could be an exhibition of the final products, reportpresentations, extended essays, and so forth. Performances of Understanding should be challenging yet accessible to students. GoodPerformances of Understanding would provide evidence for assessments. Therefore, it is important tomake students’ thinking visible (Ritchhart & Perkins, 2008). Ongoing Assessments How can we tell what students understand? Rather than coming at the end of a topic andfocusing on grading and accountability, the Teaching for Understanding framework suggests thatassessments should be continuously executed throughout the course so that students’ progression canbe monitored and evaluated. The information obtained from Ongoing Assessments should be used tomodify the next step in an instructor’s approach to teaching. Perkins (2006a) emphasized the importance of involving students in the process of definingcriteria and constructing rubrics for the understanding performances they have to demonstrate.Students will likely be more motivated to meet assessment criteria that have been shared among andshaped by the class. The processes of co-constructing the rubrics also allow the teacher to play thestudent role, and to see things and recognize values that he/she might not be able to conceive in the roleof a teacher. Moreover, the co-construction of the criteria is stronger because of wider participation. It isnot to say that all settings of learning should be totally democractic. Educators can always add things tothe rubric that students might not think of, while having some forms of a democratic process for the
  10. 10. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 10construction of rubrics. Involving learners in their own assessment and that of their classmates’ work is essential. Theinstructor should not be the only person who controls the evaluation of performances. OngoingAssessment should include peer- and self-assessment. Peer- and self-assessment are important to helpstudents self-regulate their learning. Another key concept of Ongoing Assessments is that theassessment could be formal with grading or informal without grading as long as the instructors can gainthe insight and trace the cognitive processes of how learners learn. Reflective Collaborative Communities A few years after the development of the Teaching for Understanding framework, Wiske and hercolleagues added a new element, Reflective Collaborative Communities, to the original framework(Wiske & Franz, 2005). They argued that learning in a reflective learning community can supportdialogue and reflection based on shared goals and a common language. To immerse students incollaborative communities would expose them to diverse perspectives thus promoting respect,reciprocity, and collaboration among members.Qualities of Understanding In considering the quality of understanding, Mansilla and Gardner (1998) suggested fourdimensions and four levels of understanding. They argued that the quality of students’ understandingwas based on their ability to master and use bodies of knowledge that are valued by their culture. Thefour dimensions of understanding were knowledge dimension, method dimension, purpose dimension,and form dimension. The four levels of understanding were naïve level, novice level, apprentice level,and master level. Dimensions of understanding aim to provide a balanced view of topics and goals (Mansilla &Gardner, 1998). The knowledge dimension is concerned with “What is this topic about?” while the
  11. 11. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 11purpose dimension is about “What do experts care about the topic?” or in other words, “Why is itnecessary to learn about the topic?” The method dimension, on the other hand, is concerned with “Howdo experts find out?” or “How the experts use what approaches to find out about the topics?” Lastly, theform dimension is concerned with “Where do experts share what they know?” or “What symbol systemsand genres do the experts use to communicate about the topics?” Mansilla and Gardner argued thateducators should consider covering more dimensions when defining a set of understanding goals for aunit.Technology Integration The Teaching for Understanding framework becomes more feasible with the use of newtechnologies (Reigeluth & Carr-Chellman, 2009). Using technologies as tools in the educational processcould help learners and instructors better fulfill the criteria in each element of the Teaching forUnderstanding framework especially when dealing with those difficult spots for teaching or learning(Wiske & Franz, 2005). For example, students learning to solve a 3D geometry problem often find itdifficult to imagine the third invisible dimension. The use of 3D dynamic geometry software can show allsides of the 3D graph to students and make learning 3D geometry much easier. Moreover, technology integration allows the Teaching for Understanding framework to beapplied to distance education. For example, online resources, such as libraries of lesson plans, canprovide ideas for designing Generative Topics; online educational projects such as WebQuests canengage students and their instructors in collaborative inquiry and social action initiatives; web-basedmultimedia presentation tools can enrich Performances of Understanding by enabling teamworkbetween students and allowing the combination of multiple forms of expression in conveying ideas; andthe statistical feature of a learning management system (LMS) can help make the progressive results ofOngoing Assessments more accessible to the instructors. Overall, technology can help to strengthen
  12. 12. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 12connections among The Teaching for Understanding elements. Finally, the Teaching for Understandingframework has also been developed into asynchronous web-based courses since 1999 (Perkins & Wiske,2005). Teaching for Understanding in Practice The Teaching for Understanding framework is like a map that shows you big things (Perkins,2006b). Teachers can organize the nuances of their own practices around those big things while focusingon more important ideas. Since most teachers are surrounded by students, textbooks, tests, andadministrative works, it is difficult for teachers to make time for reflection and innovation. Therefore,teachers learning to use the Teaching for Understanding framework can benefit from collegial exchangeand supportive coaching. “Talking with other teachers who are thinking with the same framework helpsteachers build bridges between the abstract principles and their own experience.” (Wiske & Franz, 2005,p. 11) This section will discuss about how to apply the framework to actual teaching situationsincluding some useful techniques and tips. While reading this section as reference, it is important toremember that there is no fixed starting point or sequence for planning a curriculum using the Teachingfor Understanding framework. Teachers should work dynamically or even cyclically among the elements.For example, articulating Understanding Goals helps to verify the essence of a Generative Topic.Analyzing Performances of Understanding may reveal the flaws of Understanding Goals. DefiningOngoing Assessment criteria may lead to a refinement of Understanding Goals. The Teaching forUnderstanding framework lacks details that may be needed in applying the framework to real tasks.Teachers must bridge the gap between the general principles and the particular situations as well as addpersonal ingredients to fit their own teaching styles and contexts. In this section, the author will first propose methods for conducting each of the four elements
  13. 13. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 13then continue providing check points for reflection or tips for increasing efficiency. The followingdescription is presented as a linear process; however, in practice, the process should be dynamic anditerative.Getting started – planning the unit Designing a unit or a curriculum using the Teaching for Understanding framework involves asignificant effort including analyzing the context of students’ characteristics and the resources availablein that particular time and place; checking content standards set by the organization or government;specifying details for all four elements of the Teaching for Understanding framework, and so forth. Thefollowing paragraphs suggest some techniques and tools for unit planning using the Teaching forUnderstanding framework. Some of the tasks could be very trivial. It can help you work more effectivelyif all analysis results and design thoughts are put on paper. Appendix A provides a sample organizer forunit planning using the Teaching for Understanding framework. Creating a Generative topic A practical way of designing a Generative Topic can start from brain storming in which theteachers or curriculum designers participate in a face-to-face meeting or online discussion forum. Tobegin, participants can suggest or post important concepts, skills, processes, standards, or uses that theythink are relevant to the discipline or content area The second step involves using lines to connectrelated standards, concepts, skills, processes, and uses in order to create a knowledge web. Finally, theparticipants should look into the knowledge web to find the spot that has most connections and nodes.That spot is the one containing the thickest knowledge and is the place from which the Generative Topicsshould be generated (Blythe, 1997). Some instructors might insist that anything can be a generative topic if good teaching is involved.However, Perkins and Blythe (1994) argue that some topics are more central to the discipline, more
  14. 14. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 14accessible, and more connectable than others. Often there are particular topics that have to be taught ina curriculum and those topics are not always interesting. In such cases, Perkins and Blythe suggestadding a theme or a perspective to make the topics more interesting, for example, teaching Romeo andJuliet as an exploration of the generation gap or teaching about the food chain to illustrate that all livingthings are connected. Defining Understanding Goals Articulating clear Understanding Goals is difficult for many instructors (Wiske, 1998a). Theinstructors are usually more familiar with behavioral-type objectives such as “Student will be able todescribe three causes of the Civil War without any help in three minutes.” It takes practice for theinstructors to refer to the “big ideas” and devise appropriate understanding goals such as “Students willunderstand how to distinguish truth from bias about things that happened long ago.” Concept maps that draw the connections between important concepts in the content areas canhelp instructors reveal tacit goals. The nodes that are linked to many other nodes are often the mostvaluable goals for understanding. When outlining Understanding Goals, it is also important to addressstudents’ common difficulties and misconceptions as well as to check the balance between the fourDimensions of Understanding. Other than the statement form, Understanding Goals may be stated in question form. Thequestion format can help students understand the goals easily and be able to participate in the co-construction of Understanding Goals. In addition to sharing with students, instructors are encouraged toshare Understanding Goals with parents and colleagues. Blythe (1997) provided the following checklist for articulating Unit-level Understanding Goals: • Are the Understanding Goals clear?
  15. 15. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 15 • Is the number of Understanding Goals manageable to assess? • Are they closely related to Throughlines (the overarching goals of the course)? • Do they focus on central aspects of generative topics? • Do they capture what you think is most important for students to understand about the generative topics? • Do they take the form of a question and a statement? Developing Performances of Understanding Many instructors have concerns regarding their teaching practices. They spend a lot of timeimproving their teaching techniques or following teaching tips in order to be good performers in theclassroom. Performances of Understanding refer to what students do, rather than what the instructorsdo. An assumption of the Framework is that deep learning will not occur simply by listening to a lectureor reading the course materials. Rather, engaging activities are required to ensure that students will usetheir higher level thinking skills to relate, synthesize, evaluate, and apply what they have learned. This isnot to say that lectures are not useful. After students have gained an initial understanding of the topics,lectures might be able to speed up the learning cycle (Perkins, 1998). Teaching with good activities is not something new. Many instructors teach using engagingactivities; however, these activities do not always involve performances of understanding. Perkins andBlythe (1994) argue that a Jeopardy-style history quiz, an art activity of drawing the Boston Tea Party, ora follow-the-recipe-style science experiment are all engaging activities, but they are not Performances ofUnderstanding because the activities do not push learners to think beyond what they already know.Another type of mistaken examples related to the activities that engage students in Performances ofUnderstanding but they might lack the focus provided by Understanding Goals. Appendix B lists the
  16. 16. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 16verbs used by the statements of regular activities and the statements of Performances of Understanding.The next two paragraphs suggest two approaches for designing Performances of Understanding. Varied entry points Multiple intelligences theory (Gardner, 2006) suggests that every learner has a differentintelligence profile and, as such, individuals do not all learn in the same way. Gardner suggested that anyrich, nourishing topic can be introduced in at least seven ways (see Figure 2), which roughly map ontothe multiple intelligences: (1) narrational entry point, (2) logical entry point, (3) quantitative entry point,(4) foundational entry point, (5) aesthetic approach, (6) experiential approach, and (7) collaborativeapproach. He claimed that “using multiple entry points can be a powerful means of dealing with studentmisconceptions, biases, and stereotypes.” (Gardner, 2006, p. 141) Developing habit of thinking and making thinking visual Performances of Understanding help students construct their understanding. GoodPerformances of Understanding aim directly at developing understanding of one or more UnderstandingGoals and are sequenced to guide learners through different entry points. In addition, goodPerformances of Understanding provide a range of evidences for Ongoing Assessments. A very important skill related to Performances of Understanding is the development of a“thinking habit.” When the thinking becomes routine, it creates a culture that pulls participants in andlearners might become the educators, too. The Visible Thinking project at Project Zero and otherresearch projects have developed many strategies for fostering thinking routines that are widely adopted,e.g., see-think-wonder that asking students: “What do you see?”; ”What do you think about that?”;and ”What does it make you wonder?” Other examples include think-pair-share, claim-support-question,and connect-extend-challenge (Ritchhart, Palmer, Church, & Tishman, 2006). Thinking routines stimulatenot only individual thinking but also social interaction through which the new knowledge can be
  17. 17. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 17internalized (Vygotsky, 1978). Figure 2: Developing disciplinary understanding requires delicate considerations on what dimensions to cover and which entry points to utilize. Based on Boix-Mansilla, Hetland, & Ritchhart (1997) Developing Disciplinary Understanding. Designing Ongoing Assessments Fair and valid assessments cannot be obtained through paper-and-pencil assessments thatrequire higher levels of linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligences. To learn for understanding,assessments need to occur frequently within and combined with the instruction (Andrade, 2000). Duringthe ongoing assessments, students need public criteria, regular feedback, and opportunities forreflection (Perkins & Blythe, 1994). There are two useful tools for designing Ongoing Assessments. The first tool is the assessmentfunnel, developed by Hetland (2005), in that it synthesizes all key concerns regarding OngoingAssessment in one single diagram (See Appendix C). The second tool is the following six-step process,developed by Andrade (2000), for co-constructing useful rubrics with students and instructors: (1) Lookat models; (2) List criteria; (3) Pack and Unpack criteria; (4) Articulate levels of quality; (5) Create a draft
  18. 18. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 18rubric; and (6) Revise the draft. Ladder of Feedback When students are engaged in learning activities, they need appropriate feedback to help themto perform better. “When teachers successfully developed effective feedback strategies with theirstudents, self- and peer-assessment are further enhanced.” (Black, Harrison, Lee, Marshall, & Wiliam,2003, p. 67) Feedback is an integral part of Performances of Understanding, Ongoing Assessments, andany group discussion. To keep learning organized and efficient, researchers in the Teaching forUnderstanding project developed the Ladder of Feedback to guide a constructive process for improvingunderstanding through dialogues between students, peers, and instructors (Hetland & President andFellows of Harvard College, 2005). The Ladder of Feedback involves the use of the following sequence when providing feedback: 1. Clarify. Ask questions about unclear points or missing details. 2. Value. Highlight the strengths of the work. Tell students what they have done well and what makes it good. 3. Offer concerns. Express disagreement with some part of the work or identify potential problems or challenges. 4. Suggest. Provide suggestions on the concerns mentioned above.Integrating Emerging Technology to TfU and Future Study Although technology integration with the Teaching for Understanding framework is a recentaddition to the literature (Wiske & Franz, 2005), it has been limited to the use of electronic technologyand stand-alone or intranet computer technology. The emerging technologies such as Web 2.0 and sociallearning applications have largely been ignored. To ensure that learners acquire requisite skills and
  19. 19. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 19knowledge as they progress through the course and hopefully to sustain the learning over the long termas Moisey (2001) advocated educators need to utilize more, if not all, of the five types of mediadescribed by Laurillard (2002): narrative media, interactive media, adaptive media, communicativemedia, and productive media. The table below presents an initial proposition for integrating emergingtechnology into the Teaching for Understanding framework for use in an online setting.Table 1 Sample list of media and tools for applying TfU in online learningElement Key Actions Media Type Tools / Resources GTs Identifying the topic through Communicative Electronic whiteboard, computer brainstorming & synchronous media mediated conference, discussion forum, / asynchronous discussion instant message, and live chat. UGs Drafting UGs; Negotiating Productive, Discussion forum, Wiki or co-editor, goals with learners, interactive, & presenting tools embedded in LMS. publicizing goals communicative media PofU Present content; nurturing Interactive, Books, tutorial, online resources, habit of thinking; visualizing adaptive, lectures, Learning Objects, tutor-led thinking; implementing productive, & seminar, workshop, virtual fieldwork, actively-engaged activities; communicative threaded discussion, WebQuest, web- practicing and demonstrating media supported presentation tools e.g., SlideShare & ZOHO. OA Negotiating criteria with Interactive, Online rubric creating tools, e.g., learners; publicizing criteria; adaptive, RubiStar; feedback, quiz, essay writing, allowing instructor-, self-, & productive, & self-study practice, educational game,
  20. 20. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 20 peer-assessment; providing communicative concept mapping, grading features in feedback & revising ID based media LMS. on formative assessment; delivering assessments; commenting & grading RCC Team building; team working; Interactive, Grouping features in LMS, web-supported socializing productive, & presenting tools & concept mapping communicative tools, social leaning software, e.g., media bookmark manager, blog, wiki. Note: GTs – Generative Topics; UGs – Understanding Goals; PofU – Performances of Understanding; OA – Ongoing Assessment; RCC – Reflective Collaborative Community. How to take advantage of new technology, along with the corresponding implications, toadvance the efficiency and effectiveness in applying the Teaching for Understanding framework to web-based learning is a topic that worth further exploration. Conclusion The world of education is full of advice (Perkins, 2006). Educators learned all kinds of frameworks,strategies, approaches, techniques, and tools from books, articles, and lectures. Such advice need to betaken into practice in order to know their applicability and usefulness. Through years of practice, theTeaching for Understanding framework has showed its validity in supporting daily teaching forunderstanding in terms of curriculums, activities, and assessments. Factual knowledge will onlyaccumulate into understanding that equips learners to perform their knowledge in real problemsthrough instructional strategies that foster understanding outcomes.
  21. 21. TEACHING FOR UNDERSTANDING 21 ReferencesActive Learning Practice for Schools (ALPS). (n.d). The TfU Graphic Organizer. Curriculum Design Tools: Planner. Retrieved from http://learnweb.harvard.edu/alps/tfu/design_planners.cfmAndrade, H. G. (2000). Using Rubrics to Promote Thinking and Learning. Educational Leadership, 57(5).Black, P., Harrison, C., Lee, C., Marshall, B., Wiliam, D., & Press, O. U. (2003). Assessment for Learning: Putting it into Practice (1st ed.). New York: Open University Press.Blythe, T. (1997). The Teaching for Understanding Guide (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey- Bass.Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., Cocking, R. R., Committee on Developments in the Science of Learning, & National Research Council. (2000). How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School: Expanded Edition (2nd ed.). National Academies Press. ndGardner, H. E. (2006). Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice (2 ed.). Basic Books.Hetland, L. & President and Fellows of Harvard College (on behalf of Project Zero). (1997). Comparing Performances of Understanding to Activities: What’s the Difference? Project Zero & WIDE World.Hetland, Lois & President and Fellows of Harvard College (on behalf of Project Zero). (2005). Mixing it Up in the Assessment Funnel. Project Zero & WIDE World.Hetland, Lois & President and Fellows of Harvard College (on behalf of Project Zero). (2006). Reflection Guide for Assessing TfU Units. Teaching for Understanding Course at WIDE World.Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking University Teaching: A framework for the effective use of learning technologies (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.Mansilla, V. B., & Gardner, H. (1998). What are the Qualities of Understanding? In M. Stone Wiske (Ed.) Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice (1st ed.), (pp. 161-196). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.Perkins, D. (1998). What is Understanding? In M. Stone Wiske (Ed.) Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice, (1st ed.), (p. 39). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
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