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Big Ideas from Understanding by Design Chapters 2 & 3 Recap Sec502/Fnd504.

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Presentation on theme: "Big Ideas from Understanding by Design Chapters 2 & 3 Recap Sec502/Fnd504."— Presentation transcript:

1 Big Ideas from Understanding by Design Chapters 2 & 3 Recap Sec502/Fnd504

2 Big Ideas How well do we understand understanding? What is it we are after when we say we want students to understand this or that?

3 Big Ideas An understanding is a mental construct, an abstraction made by the human mind to make sense of many distinct pieces of knowledge.

4 Big Ideas Knowing vs. Understanding

5 Big Ideas We know … facts. Abraham Lincoln was our 16 th president. He became president in He led the country during the Civil War.

6 Big Ideas We want students to understand the meaning of the facts. Lincolns election is one of several factors that triggered the Souths secession because he was widely perceived as soft on slavery at a time when the country was involved in critical arguments over the ethics and economic benefits of slavery.

7 Big Ideas We want students to understand the meaning of the facts. Lincoln used his predecessors ideals and wisdom to inform his decision making regarding the Souths secession: he believed that the U.S. was to be a beacon to the world for democracy. He was determined not to allow the North to instigate the Civil War and destroy the hopes of the Founding Fathers.

8 Big Ideas We want students to understand the meaning of the facts. Lincolns decisions have served as inspiration for those who followed him. The current president cites Lincolns suspension of civil liberties as a precedent for the Patriot Act.

9 Big Ideas We know … a body of coherent facts. Mammals are warm-blooded. Most mammals give live-birth. All mammals have fur or hair. Mammals are vertebrates.

10 Big Ideas We want students to understand the theory or rationale that connects the facts and provides them meaning. Since modern mammals started to appear around 220 million years ago during the Triassic period we know because that's when fossils with those characteristics are datedwe can use fossil evidence of early mammals as evidence in a debate to point out weaknesses in the argument for creationism.

11 Big Ideas Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret the facts. --Stephen Jay Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory

12 Big Ideas Understanding is about Transfer.

13 Big Ideas Understanding is about Transfer. To truly understand, we must be able take what we have learned and use it in new and sometimes confusing settings.

14 Big Ideas Understanding is about Transfer. Transfer means: You can apply what you know. You can modify, adjust, and adapt a general idea to the particulars of a new situation.

15 Big Ideas Understanding is about Transfer. For example, count the number of Spanish students who know how to conjugate the verb hablar: hablo, hablas, habla, hablamos, hablan.

16 Big Ideas Understanding is about Transfer. Now count the number of Spanish students who can use forms of the verb hablar competently with a variety of people to talk about a variety of topics dealing with a variety of times and circumstances.

17 Big Ideas Knowledge and Skills, then, are necessary elements of understanding, but not sufficient in themselves.

18 Big Ideas Knowledge and Skills, then, are necessary elements of understanding, but not sufficient in themselves. Understanding requires more. It requires the ability to do the work in new circumstances along with the ability to self- assess, justify and critique the doing.

19 Big Ideas Knowledge and Skills, then, are necessary elements of understanding, but not sufficient in themselves. Understanding requires more. It requires the ability to do the work along with the With understanding, we become our own referees.

20 A really Big Idea for Language Teachers Understanding how to develop communicative competences does not imply that the student works to self-assess and critique his or her speech.

21 A really Big Idea for Language Teachers Understanding how to develop communicative competences does imply that the student works to self-assess and critique his or her efforts to acquire more comprehensible input, which, in turn, leads to increasingly deeper and more sophisticated communicative competence.

22 A Really Big Idea for All Teachers What about in your subject area? Do you yourself understand the really big ideas?

23 Big Ideas What prompts understanding?

24 Big Ideas What prompts understanding? Not drills alone.

25 Big Ideas What prompts understanding? Not drills alone. Not memorizing facts just to know facts.

26 Big Ideas What prompts understanding? Not drills alone. Not memorizing facts just to know facts. Not covering as much material as possible in a given term.

27 Big Ideas What prompts understanding? Not drills alone. Not memorizing facts just to know facts. Not covering as much material as possible in a given term. Not giving out As to students who are skilled at drills, memorizing, and spitting back information on tests, only to forget it by the next test.

28 Big Ideas What prompts understanding? It takes teachers committed to thinking, reflecting, and working together to come to a consensus on reasonable evidence of understanding in terms of student performance.

29 Big Ideas What else prompts understanding? It takes uncoverage.

30 Big Ideas What else prompts understanding? It takes uncoverage. NO! NOT THAT GYPSY-ROSE LEE KIND OF UNCOVERAGE!

31 Big Ideas What else prompts understanding? Uncoverage in the sense of: Determining students potential misunderstandings, then … Uncovering questions, issues, assumptions and gray areas, and, finally … *Uncovering core ideas at the heart of a subject.

32 Big Ideas What else prompts understanding? Uncoverage in the sense of: Determining students potential misunderstandings, then … Uncovering questions, issues, assumptions and gray areas, and, finally … *Uncovering core ideas at the heart of a subject.

33 Big Ideas What else prompts understanding? Uncoverage in the sense of: Determining students potential misunderstandings, then … Uncovering questions, issues, assumptions and gray areas, and, finally … *Uncovering core ideas at the heart of a subject.

34 Big Ideas Beware of pitfalls … Students dont understand--even if they give a correct answer--if they can only give that answer when the question is phrased just so.

35 Big Ideas Beware of Pitfalls … Some teachers confuse teaching with learning. I taught it; why dont they get it?

36 Big Ideas Beware of Pitfalls … Blaming all student failure on the student. If I cover it, and they do the homework, there is no reason for them not to succeed.

37 Big Ideas Beware of Pitfalls … Assuming that you, and Wiggins and the student share the same meaning of success.

38 Big Ideas Beware of Pitfalls … Assuming that you, and Wiggins and the student share the same meaning of evidence of success.

39 A not so farfetched scenario You: success means I only failed two kids out of 110. I must be doing something right! Wiggins: success is understanding. A student: I got an A. I understand. Another student: I got a B. I pretty much understand. Another student: I got an F. Ill never understand this.

40 What does that scenario look like in practice? Real excerpt from a good teacher who sincerely wants her students to do well: I gave this assignment to the students on Tuesday. It is due on Monday … right now he has a 68% in class. He needs to have a discussion sheet for his independent novel done for tomorrow. I encouraged him to complete it because it will most likely raise his grade to a C-.

41 What does that scenario look like in practice? I gave this assignment to the students on Tuesday. It is due on Monday … right now he has a 68% in class. He needs to have a discussion sheet for his independent novel done for tomorrow. I encouraged him to complete it because it will most likely raise his grade to a C-. Notice anything that reinforces stereotypes about success?

42 What does that scenario look like in practice? I gave this assignment to the students on Tuesday. It is due on Monday … right now he has a 68% in class. He needs to have a discussion sheet for his independent novel done for tomorrow. I encouraged him to complete it because it will most likely raise his grade to a C-.

43 Big Ideas Beware of the Grade Pitfall What, really, does a letter grade reveal about a students potential performance in the real world? (Or even, his or her performance in another class with a different teacher?)

44 Big Ideas Beware of Pitfalls … Some teachers assume that without first thinking, reflecting, writing, reviewing, revising and perhaps collaborating with others before they administer the test or use other means to gather evidence of student understanding, they can write assessment tools that reveal a students ability to transfer knowledge

45 Big Ideas Misunderstandings are teacher-friendly tools as well.

46 Big Ideas If we pay attention to them, they provide us with important feedback on our instruction and for further planning.

47 Big Ideas Another pitfall … Assuming that all errors are bad mistakes to be avoided, and can be avoided, on the students journey to competence.

48 Big Ideas er·ror ( r r) n. A defect or insufficiency in structure or function. An act, an assertion, or a decision, especially one made in testing a hypothesis, that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true. SourceSource: The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

49 Big Ideas An act, an assertion, or a decision, especially one made in testing a hypothesis, that unintentionally deviates from what is correct, right, or true. The key phrase here is testing a hypothesis. SourceSource: The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

50 Big Ideas Because a students conscious or unconscious attempts to test hypotheses, are, paradoxically, evidence of knowledge and the ability to transfer in order to misunderstand.

51 Big Ideas The error many teachers often make is assuming that hasty and/or buy- the-book planning is sufficient to create conditions that lead to real, deep, long-term student understanding.

52 Big Ideas So what can we do about this? The challenges seem overwhelming!

53 Big Ideas Wiggins suggests you start with small goals and baby steps to begin training your mind to think about a new way of thinking about learning and instruction.

54 Big Ideas When planning, start with your objectives, but, also, try pondering:

55 Big Ideas Ponder the target topic What is not obvious to novices who approach this topic? Why do novices draw the conclusions that they do? What could be easily misunderstood?

56 Big Ideas The key to better educational results is not only to project performance outcomes first, but at, the same time, to anticipate student conceptions and misconceptions when planning instruction.

57 Big Ideas One key to lower stress when youre a teacher (and a learner) is to recognize that learner misunderstandings are inevitable, even in the best minds, in ones journey toward understanding.

58 Big Ideas Another key to lower stress when youre a teacher (and a learner) is a bit more challenging, but very worthwhile.

59 Big Ideas To engineer understanding, our performance objective is to: 1. describe what understanding looks like, and doesnt look like.

60 Big Ideas To engineer understanding, our performance objective is to: 1.describe what understanding looks like, and doesnt look like. 2.Explain how understanding will manifest itself.

61 Big Ideas To engineer understanding, our performance objective is to: 1.describe what understanding looks like, and doesnt look like. 2.Explain how understanding will manifest itself. 3.Articulate which misunderstanding might arise, and how they might interfere with our goal.

62 Big Ideas To engineer understanding, our performance objective is to: 1.describe what understanding looks like, and doesnt look like. 2.Explain how understanding will manifest itself. 3.Articulate which misunderstanding might arise, and how they might interfere with our goal. 4.Determine evidence that we are progressing and eradicating key impediments to future understanding.

63 Big Ideas To engineer understanding, our performance objective is to: Develop mental flexibility and understanding in our students. However …

64 Big Ideas To engineer understanding, our performance objective is to: Develop mental flexibility and understanding in our students. However … (and heres the fun part): their mental flexibility and understanding is predicated on ours.


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