Backward Design


Backward design is a common term for expressing the curriculum design framework proposed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe in their landmark publication, Understanding by Design. Their work marked a major shift in curriculum planning, from a focus on teaching to a focus on learning. With backward design, the starting point is determining what the desired outcome is first. The question that the educator asks, then, is, "What should the students know and be able to do as a result of my instruction?" The next question to ask is, "How will we be able to assess that they have indeed learned, and that they can transfer their learning to new situations?"

Wiggins and McTighe also helped educators focus on getting to the "enduring understandings" - the big ideas at the core of a topic, rather than "covering" lists of specific expectations or outcomes. Their focus is on the questions we ask. By asking an "essential question", we can help students to uncover deeper meaning. 


 
Backward Design
 
Backward Design


Learn more about Understanding by Design: Wiggins & McTighe (2012). Understanding by Design Framework. ASCD

UTL: Understanding by Design




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