Put Understanding First

Put Understanding First- Grant Williams and Jay McTighe


            The authors present a vivid picture of high school students who are bored and frustrated, not unlike what I have seen in middle school and even elementary school classrooms.  The problem is one of disconnect; disconnect with the student and the curriculum, and with the student and the teacher.


            As educators, we are so focused on test scores that we end up sacrificing real understanding and connecting the learning with the real world.  As a result of this, we have lost our focus as to the true purpose of education.  Many schools state that their goal is to make their students productive “citizens”.  If being a productive citizen means using their information they learned to hold down a job, make good decisions, or be life long learners, we will be have to change the ways we teach students.


            The part I found the most interesting in this article was the discussion of using meaningful instructional sequence when teaching.  What that includes is good teaching strategies that motivate and engage students.  It is instruction that is task oriented, project based with practice, discussion before direct instruction is given other words, get the kids involved before they receive direct instruction.  I can see this approach working for science and mathematics but I am not sure about some of the other content areas.  Teaching needs to become less lecture and more student involvement.  While I agree with the approach I am not sure how practical it would be in respect to working within daily time restrictions.