Put Understanding First

Tim Guy


            This article is quite insightful.  Learning for understanding will require a paradigm shift for most teachers at schools in America.  However, this concept requires very little to implement, only a willingness on the teacher’s part to see his/her students engaged with the curriculum.  I become quite frustrated when teachers explain to me that they cannot take time to scaffold information, get to know their students, or discuss relevant issues with their students because of a pacing plan.  I basically believe that they have condemned our students to mediocrity at best and failure at worse.

            It is truly time to end “out-of-context” or “isolated” learning.  Our students must see the relevance in the information that we want to convey.  Teachers must begin to use these types of instructional strategies ensure that our students get involved with their education, make the information meaningful, and apply their knowledge to real life situations.  The examples for alternative instructional sequencing are excellent and require little thought on the teachers’ part, if they know the culture of their classes and the school.

            If our goal in education is to increase student achievement, then why are educators so reluctant to utilize research-based and common sense instructional practices?  The era of “drill and kill” is dead.  Long live learning for understanding.