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|Title:||Curriculum Designed for Understanding|
|Authors:||Hume, Verna Clarice Marlene|
|Department:||Geography and Geology|
|Keywords:||curriculum;understanding;backward design process;educators;ontario;Curriculum and Instruction;Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research;Curriculum and Instruction|
|Abstract:||<p>Students need to 'Do' a subject rather then just learn the material. To merely cover the material is to 'travel over' the information, educators should aim to uncover the material "to find the value in what is hidden" (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998, p.1 06). Designing curriculum for understanding using the Backward Design Process is one way to achieve this. The Backward Design Process involves determining what teachers want students to do (derived from Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum Expectations) and proceeds to the evidence (assessment and evaluation strategies) teachers will accept that students have accomplished this. Then the teachers develop the instructional strategies or activities that will enable students to understand, not just know the material. Making clear what teachers want students to understand is paramount. Educators need a clear plan to explain to students what is expected, what is to be learned and how they will learn. In Ontario, educators are teaching new curricula as secondary education shifts from five to four years. Course profiles are being written to provide teachers with a framework from which to teach the new courses. I was a member of the provincial writing team for the Grade 11 Physical Geography: Patterns, Processes, and Interactions course that completed the Overview and Unit 1. This project extends the work I started (in the Overview and Unit 1) by-using the Backward Design Process to design Unit 2: Structure of the Earth (Shake, Rattle, and Roll). The Backward Design Process is promoted by the Ontario Ministry of Education although they do not give the writers formal training sessions in the process. Having completed Unit 2 using the Backward Design Process I now have a better understanding of how to organize information and skills for understanding. Considering what is most important (determining the Enduring Understandings from the Expectations) and determining how they can be evaluated and assessed leads naturally into developing activities that address the Enduring Understandings, the important understandings, the things students retain after the details have been forgotten (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998, p.9). This sequencing of curriculum development leads to the development of student understanding rather than just knowing the material or skill. Educators develop curriculum based on what needs to be understood in the discipline instead of activities based on available resources. The Backward Design Process is a simple and concise method to use for designing a lesson, unit of study or entire curriculum. The designer must clearly identify what is important and determine what evidence will be accepted to verify achievement. This requires the designer to probe to the core of the discipline to determine what is essential that the student understand. Then the assessment strategies and finally the instructional strategies can be developed. Teachers in all disciplines can use the Backward Design Process regardless of the grade level or available resources. This is a useful process for designing curricula.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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