Designing Teaching for Understanding
A WebQuest for College, Adult
Designed by Su Tuan Lulee
Traditionally, education is about educating for the known. It is about what we knew, but, today, education is more about unknown, about how to deal with things that we have never met before. People have to learn and re-learn and learn beyond what they have known. Understanding becomes the most important issue in education. (David Perkins, 2006) With understanding, people can transfer knowledge from known to unknown; with understanding, people can grasp essential idea within limited of time and leverage the idea to unknown whenever necessary.
To advocate the framework of Teaching for Understanding, Great Teaching association hosts a competition to select exemplary course design so that teachers would know what meaningful teaching and learning looks like.
Great Teaching competition has come to the final round. Four winning courses have been selected. Your teams, as members of jury, need to examine the selected courses, make individual decision and debate, base on criteria set by competition committee, on an hearing opened to all competitors.
You will be working together in a small group of 3 students. Each student will take on one of the roles: the instructor, the administrator, and the TfU expert.
Here are the sites you’ll be analyzing:
When team member has examined all the sites, you will want to get together, answer above listed questions, and poll. Pay attention to and respect others perspectives. During your discussion, you shall always look for the guide of TfU frameworks and key concepts. One of the team members shall record and summarize the group’s thoughts. When it is time for the open hearing, debrief the conclusion of your team and be sure to demonstrate it with supportive reasoning.
Step 1: Preparing yourself with knowledge
Review theory of Teaching for Understanding (TfU) pedagogy.
Step 2: Investigating the sites
Work individually to visit, collect data, and examine every site according to the role you play. Use the worksheet to record your observation and opinions from the perspective of your role.
Ranking the sites and make your selection.
Step 4: Taking group stand
Communicate with other team members. Go through each item in the worksheet. Pay attention to theories in step 1 and always take them as the guidelines for your decision. Shall there be disagreement between members, use civil disagreement methods to response, feedback, and compromise to each other. Do not simply poll and announce a winner. The purpose of this WebQuest is not to choose a winner.
Step 5: Demonstrating your judgment
Your final responsibility will be to submit your group selection with supportive reasoning. You will want to create an effective group presentation with PowerPoint.
You will be evaluated with the rubric by other teams as well as the instructor:
You will also evaluate your team members for their contribution to the teamwork.
This WebQuest will provide you with a deeper understanding on Teaching for Understanding pedagogy. If you have never applied TfU in your teaching, try it after this WebQuest! If you have tried it before but it turned out to be not so satisfactory, tried a little harder next time! Participate in professional community, interact with other educators who believe in the importance of teaching with understanding. Maybe next year the winner of Great Teaching Competition will be yours!
Credits & References
Perkins, D. (2006) Teaching for Understanding program, WIDE, Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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