UbD: Teachers are Coaches of Understanding

UbD: Teachers are Coaches of Understanding
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  • I'm really excited about this new Understanding by Design Framework that we are implementing this year! Now we are both coaches!
  • That is exactly right! With this framework, teachers are coaches of understanding!
  • UbD helps me focus the curriculum and my teaching on the development and deepening of student understanding and the transfer of their learning to other contexts. An important first step in backward design is identifying the desired results.
  • I structure each practice in the same way! In order to guide my athletes to their desired performances, I need to begin with what I ultimately want them to be able to do in mind.
  • How will you know if students have achieved the desired results?
  • There are six facets of understanding that have been identified for assessment purposes. When students truly understand, they can explain, interpret, apply, demonstrate perspective, display empathy, and possess self-knowledge. 
  • The Understanding by Design (UbD) Framework provides educators with a planning process and structure that guides curriculum, assessment, and instruction.  The two key ideas of UbD are (1) focusing on teaching and learning for understanding and learning transfer, and (2) designing curriculum "backward" from those ends.
  • Just like students, athletes are active participants in their own learning.  
  • Yes! Students and athletes alike need to be given numerous opportunities to make generalizations for themselves. Understanding cannot simply be told to students. Instead, learners must actively construct meaning on their own.
  • The UbD framework consists of three stages: Stage 1 - Identifying Desired Results; Stage 2 - Determining Assessment Evidence; Stage 3 - Plan Learning Experiences and Instruction. Stage 1 involves considering long-term performance goals, which focus on the transfer of learning. 
  • With UbD, do teachers make adjustments to ensure that students achieve the intended results? 
  • Absolutely! Just like coaching, UbD takes on a continuous improvement approach. UbD pushes teachers to refrain from being mere purveyors of content and instead support students' meaning making and transfer with adjustments as needed.
  • Before designing specific units and lessons, in Stage 2, teachers consider in advance the assessment evidence needed to document and validate that the targeted learning has been achieved. Student understanding is evident in six facets,which include the capacity to explain, interpret, apply, shift perspective,empathize, and self-assess.
  • It sounds like UbD allows teachers to coach students toward developing the ability to make meaning of big ideas and transfer their learning. 
  • Exactly! Teachers become coaches of understanding who strive to ensure that learning happens!  
  • Stage 3 of backward design brings UbD full circle. Stage 3 involves teachers planning lessons and learning activities that directly align with and address the three goals of Stage 1, which are transfer, meaning making, and acquisition. 
  • UbD helps teachers avoid treating textbooks as the curriculum rather than as resources. This framework also discourages activity-orientated teaching in which no clear priorities or purposes are evident.
  • UbD guides teachers toward checking for successful meaning making and transfer by the learner rather than relying on the common assumption that the content knowledge, skill, or activity that was taught was learned.
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