Teaching for Understanding in Practice


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A brief introduction to Teaching for Understanding Framework developed by Harvard Graduate School of Education. Presentation prepared by Su-Tuan Lulee for EDDE 801, Ed. D. in Distance Education at Athabasca University, Canada.

Published in: Education, Technology

Teaching for Understanding in Practice

  1. 1. Teaching for Understanding Framework in Practice Su-Tuan Lulee Instructor: Dr. Susan Moisey EDDE 803, Nov. 11, 2010
  2. 2. Introduction <ul><li>In this presentation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Core elements of the TfU framework </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples for using TfU in designing unit plans or curriculum </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Criteria & tools for design and implementation </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Teaching for Understanding (TfU) is a research project (1988 - 1995) in Project Zero at HGSE. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching for Understanding Guide </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Both Jossey-Bass, 1998) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. What is Teaching for Understanding? <ul><li>Understanding as the capability to perform. </li></ul><ul><li>TfU is not all new. It’s not created. What the researchers have done was to capture what good teachers do & make them more explicit and visible. </li></ul><ul><li>TfU framework does not mean to capture every element of effective classroom practice—other factors such as classroom structure and teacher-student relationships also play a role. </li></ul>
  5. 5. What is Teaching for Understanding? <ul><li>TfU framework </li></ul><ul><ul><li>is a guide to keep the focus of educational practice on understanding, while allowing teachers flexibility to design units that fit their priorities and teaching style. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>provides a set of language and structure for planning curriculum and for discussion pedagogy with other colleagues and students </li></ul></ul>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =xf3VThBEex8
  6. 6. What is Teaching for Understanding? <ul><li>Flexible framework for rethinking pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>Initially, four elements: GT, UG, PoU, & OA. RCC was added later by Wiske </li></ul>
  7. 7. Generative Topics What topics are worth teaching? <ul><li>Dewey’s idea of organizing curriculum around themes </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria for a good GT: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Centrality: core to the discipline </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Connectivity: connect to other topics, one or more disciplines, and students’ non-school context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility: has more resources for students to access </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interesting: to students and to instructors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Balance diet – balance budget” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Understanding statistics through sports” </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Generative Topics - Examples <ul><ul><li>GT: “Balance diet – balance budget” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>[Middle school] Students are required to work in team to plan and shop for a week’s worth of nutritious family meals while staying within a budget. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>shop in online grocery stores </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>check nutrition on Food and Nutrition Information Center </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>learn to understand nutrition labels on health websites </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>learn about Using Unit Pricing </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>calculate the amount they have spent using spreadsheet </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Good GTs: pulling together knowledge they learned from different disciplines and connect them to non-school context . </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Generative Topics - Examples <ul><ul><li>GT: “Understanding statistics through sports” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Students will engage in analysis and interpretation of statistics by examine how data actually are used in college and professional sports </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tracking player and league performance, tournament selections, team finances, and draft picks. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’ll learn </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how statistics are generated, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how to correctly apply multiple uses and interpretations of statistics, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how to identify misleading and manipulated data </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how to represent data accurately. </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Understanding Goals What should learners understand? <ul><li>UGs are nested goals that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on common misconceptions, assumptions, or bottlenecks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Align with state or nation “standards” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ready to share with students </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples: “Students will understand” (focus on the big ideas) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>history was written by people; history might contain bias. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the principles of mechanics so that they could apply them to explain the workings of everyday objects like nail clippers. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a historical account vs. a literary account; and claims based on conviction or prejudice vs. claims based on empirical evidence through the movie JFK. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Performances of Understanding How will learners develop & demonstrate learning? <ul><li>PoU are learning activities that </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are sequenced into 1) introductory, 2) guided inquiry, and 3) culminating performances </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Require students to engage actively with content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Employ a range of entry points </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Simple Machine” </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Performances of Understanding - Example <ul><li>P of U for “Simple Machine”: </li></ul><ul><li>Students will </li></ul><ul><ul><li>brainstorm to name the machine they find in their daily life and to talk about how those machine works (Introductory performances) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>keep journals in which they reflect on their investigation using words, drawings, and demonstrations (Guided inquiry performance) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>exhibit and explain their investigation to the class (Culminating performance) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Ongoing Assessment How is learning assessed? <ul><li>Ongoing Assessments </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Check understanding throughout the course </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conducted by instructors, student self, and peer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use both formal and informal ways </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Criteria are public. For instance, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>students in history class ought to know about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the kinds of historical analyses they are </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>expected to learn; or the kinds of syntheses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they will be required to make of data or review while taking a test. </li></ul></ul>http:// www.youtube.com/watch?v =pZUl5GXYiio
  14. 14. Ongoing Assessment Multiple assessors Multiple check-points Multiple approaches Assessment funnel from TfU course at WIDE World (2006)
  15. 15. Reflective Collaborative Community How will students & instructors learn together? <ul><li>Support dialogue & reflection based on shared goals & a common language </li></ul><ul><li>Respect diverse perspectives </li></ul><ul><li>Promote respect, reciprocity, and collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>WIDE World courses: The instructors, coaches, and students explore the knowledge together, and exchange ideas about how to design a curriculum or a unit using TfU framework. </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. More Cases for Study Evaluating Reliability of Web Sources <ul><li>Dynamic Earth </li></ul>Math Quilts
  17. 17. Tools <ul><li>Knowledge web for GT Dimensions of Understanding for UG </li></ul>Unit plan organizer Developing PoU
  18. 18. Conclusions <ul><li>Among the many agendas of education, surely understanding must rank far up on the short list of high priorities. (Perkins, 1994) </li></ul><ul><li>Try define practicing basic skills, remembering facts, or learning to cooperate or keep orderly notes as the intermediate academic goals next time your design a unit. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Main References <ul><li>Blythe, T. (1997). The Teaching for Understanding Guide (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.   </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Gardner, H. E. (2006). Multiple Intelligences: New Horizons in Theory and Practice (2nd ed.). Basic Books.   </li></ul><ul><li>Perkins, D. (1998). What is Understanding? In Martha Stone Wiske (Eds.) Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice , (1st ed., p. 39). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.   </li></ul><ul><li>Perkins, D., & Blythe, T. (1994). Putting understanding up front. (Cover story). Educational Leadership , 51 (5), </li></ul><ul><li>Wiske, M. S. (1998b). Teaching for Understanding: Linking Research with Practice (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.   </li></ul>