Understanding by Design

Understanding by Design

Understanding by Design

Understanding by Design

Synopsis

What is understanding and how does it differ from knowledge? How can we determine the big ideas worth understanding? Why is understanding an important teaching goal, and how do we know when students have attained it? How can we create a rigorous and engaging curriculum that focuses on understanding and leads to improved student performance in today's high-stakes, standards-based environment?Authors Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe answer these and many other questions in this second edition of Understanding by Design. Drawing on feedback from thousands of educators around the world who have used the UbD framework since its introduction in 1998, the authors have greatly revised and expanded their original work to guide educators across the K?16 spectrum in the design of curriculum, assessment, and instruction. With an improved UbD Template at its core, the book explains the rationale of backward design and explores in greater depth the meaning of such key ideas as essential questions and transfer tasks. Readers will learn why the familiar coverage- and activity-based approaches to curriculum design fall short, and how a focus on the six facets of understanding can enrich student learning. With an expanded array of practical strategies, tools, and examples from all subject areas, the book demonstrates how the research-based principles of Understanding by Design apply to district frameworks as well as to individual units of curriculum. Combining provocative ideas, thoughtful analysis, and tested approaches, Understanding by Design, 2nd edition, offers teacher-designers a clear path to the creation of curriculum that ensures better learning and a more stimulating experience for students and teachers alike.

Excerpt

To first-time readers of Understanding by Design (UbD), we welcome you to a set of ideas and practices that may confirm much of what you believe and do as an educator. in one sense, all we have tried to do is pull together what best practice in the design of learning has always looked like. However, we predict that at least a few of our ideas may cause you to reflect on and perhaps rethink your own habits (or those of colleagues) related to planning, teaching, and assessing. For some readers, the material on the following pages may well “rock your world” and demand a vigorous rethinking of comfortable habits. Regardless of your entry point or degree of comfort as you read, we trust that the ideas of Understanding by Design will enhance your capacities in creating more engaging and effective learning, whether the student is a 3rd grader, a college freshman, or a faculty member.

Readers familiar with the first edition of Understanding by Design are forgiven for any puzzlement or angst they may feel upon looking over the Table of Contents of this second edition. We have overhauled the text from top to bottom, based on six years of constant research and development by the authors, our staffs, a dozen members of the ASCD-supported Training Cadre, and countless educators around the world. the resulting refinements will come as no surprise to those practitioners who have worked with us closely over the past six years. They always ask (with a mixture of laughter and dread): So, what changes have you made this time? the answer, in brief: We have revised the UbD Template, the key terms of UbD, dozens of worksheets, and some of the big ideas—a number of times—based on feedback from users, our own observations, and the deep desire to continuously improve.

We have worked with thousands of K–16 educators in all 50 states and 8 foreign countries since the first edition was written, and each time we work we get a new idea—a peril of the profession, alas, for those readers who crave a little more stability. Indeed, this is who we are. And, more important, this is what the work of teaching for understanding is all about: digging deeper, continually asking the essential questions, rethinking. So, although we apologize . . .

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