Archive for June 26th, 2013

June 26, 2013

Breadth, Depth and Understanding

*Chapter 7 (What Is Uncoverage?) from Understanding by Design focuses on two important concepts in teaching/learning – depth and breadth, both of which need to be balanced in a spiraled curriculum that engages the learner to not only know or perform but understand.

Wiggins talks about the need to uncover as it stems from a “blind spot” many teachers exhibit when they teach – that is, they teach from the standpoint of the expert without realizing that what is connected and meaningful to them is not perceived as such by students.

Another challenge is also presented by textbooks where information, regardless of the subject, is linear and convergent. That is not how knowledge was constructed – even in sciences, let alone humanistic studies, many competing theories, hypotheses and struggles occurred historically, and students need to understand why and how a certain say, mathematical theorem, came to be widely accepted and used.

Obviously, not all knowledge should be inquired into – there is not physical time for that anyway –  we need to find what is valuable and relevant within a discipline and design these increasingly sophisticated challenges that push students’ thinking beyond the simple knowing of content. 

read more »