I’ve been at an Understanding by Design workshop with Jay McTighe.
Here are a few thoughts that appealed to me:
The AMT frame. Acquire knowledge, Make meaning, Transfer to other contexts. Nothing new in that but I liked the way he gave examples which started from the M, rather than the A, which is where most teachers naturally tend to start. Given a real life problem to explore first, students are more motivated to learn the skills required to solve it! As the diagram shows, it should be fluid.
I think this could be great reflection tool for both teachers and students. Ask yourself… Was the learning activity you just engaged in A, M or T?
Following on from that, he suggests turning Bloom’s taxonomy on its head. Or jumping in at the different levels at different times as required. It’s the same principle as the one above. Provide opportunities for higher order thinking and creating meaning, through authentic learning tasks and situations, even if the basic skills haven’t been perfectly mastered. His analogy involves playing football. You can’t expect kids to just do the drill and never play the game. They need to have some drill, then have a go at the game, then be coached in the skills they need to work on, then play the game again! Otherwise, as McTighe says, some kids spend their whole school life in an endless series of sideline drills and never get to play the game…