Monday, September 12, 2011

Readying RAPPORT through a Collaborative Training

Today was the third and final session of a training sequence that has been designed to create a strong, inclusive curriculum for the RAPPORT Social Justice League.

The training was led by local educational consultant Melissa Meyer.  Barb Rinto & Kimberly Fulbright participated from the Women's Center working on the Women and Activism course.  Nicole Mayo and Dr. Nicole Ausmer participated from Student Activities & Leadership Development working on the UC LEAD curriculum and the revamping of leadership education. Dr. Brandi Elliot and Yakaira Ramos from Ethnic Programs and Services participated working on the Turner Scholars first-year student social justice cohort program.

In an interactive three sessions + coaching sequence, teams learned about the Understanding by Design curriculum, assessment, and instruction framework.

From Left to Right: Melissa Meyer, Dr. Nicole Ausmer, Kimberly Fulbright, Yakaira Ramos, and Dr. Brandi Elliot
Understanding by Design

As described on the Understanding by Design (UbD) Exchange site, UbD is a “framework for designing curriculum, assessments, and instruction explores questions like: What is teaching for understanding? How can you unpack content standards to identify the important big ideas that you want students to understand? How do you know that students truly understand and can apply their understanding in a meaningful way? How can you design courses and units to emphasize understanding rather than coverage? What instructional practices are both engaging and effective for developing student understanding?”

These questions are important for us as educators who work with developing students.  UbD works to answer these questions with an accessible framework for creating effective, developmentally appropriate curricula.

UbD’s accessibility sets it apart from other curriculum-development methods.  It is also well-known for its “backward design” process, explained in many ways by this Covey quote:

"To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction."

UbD also challenges instructors to take a multifaceted view of what makes up a mature understanding of what we’re educating around, improving our curricula by defining what facets of understanding we want students to develop and identifying how to get them there.

For a better overview on Understanding by Design, I like this Authentic Education post.

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