The teachers in all education setting can be described as designers. They are designers because they centre the student's needs, who are their direct clients, like any other profession in design like engineering or architecture. The educators meet the designing aspect in the profession through the curriculum design and the experiences encountered in the learning process (Iino, Celik & Lutz, n.d.). The designing aspect of the educators is further extended through the student's diagnostic assessments that aid in the teaching guide and facilitate the objective of the teacher evaluation. As a result, the educator can know if the main aim which the student's acquisition of knowledge has been achieved. Similar to the most of the designing professions who have a set of rules that guide their work, the teachers are guided by a set of rules by district, state institutional or national standards that specify what has required the learner and how (Shumway & Berrett, 2004). The standards are effective in the provision of a framework that facilitates the priorities in learning, therefore, being a guide to the curriculum design as well as the assessments. The consideration of design involves the application of planning in the curriculum to achieve a specific purpose. As a result, the design in the curriculum is procedural whereby it involves a number of series. The curriculum must provide an effective way of hitting the target it has set. The lessons and taught courses ought to be inferred logically from the sought results without being gotten from the procedures and activities that are teachers are comfortable in. the framework must deliberate on the set rout path that is willingly designed to fulfil the cultural objectives other than being against an aimless trip to most of the main foreign country's sites. Therefore, as suggested by the authors of the book Understanding by Design book, Wiggins and McTighe, 2011, the best design in the sought learning through the course design and unit content framework is the Backward Design.
The Wiggins and McTighe, 1998, makes an urge to the institutions in search of the instructional practice improvement in both the curriculum and co-curriculum systems to initiate their thoughts carefully regarding to what they want to achieve and then work backwards to create an assessment and goals in learning that are useful to attain the academic results that are desirable. The educator, therefore, has a role in the backward design process in the designing of the learning process of the student. The responsibility of the teacher involves the use of the standard-guided curriculum, comprehending and developing the relevant data assessment of the learners, and getting involved in the teaching activities that promote the performance of both the school and the student (Merrill et al. 1996). Most teachers lay emphasis on the teaching rather than the learning. As a result, they waste of the time reasoning and thinking out what to be done, materials to use along as the guides and what to ask the students instead of making consideration of what is required by the student so as to achieve the main aims of learning. A good instance of consideration is a typical scenario of what can be referred to as a design of content focus other than a result-focus design. An educator's lesson may be based on a specific topic, choose a resource, select a particular method of instruction founded by the resource as well as the topic, with hopes of effecting learning. Eventually, the educator may end up giving a number of essay questions in regards to the topic of discussion to assess the level of understanding of the book being studied.
According to Wiggins and McTighe, 2008, Understanding by Design is the recent approach to thinking about the curriculum design, rules and assessment that develops learning for comprehension instead of laying emphasis on content covering and completing the syllabus as outlined by the guide. The backward design process lays emphasis on the required output of the instruction other than organizing on schedules that involve textbooks, guides and other materials. As a result, much time is wasted by the teacher as they test strategies and methods hoping that there will be an increased proficiency among the students. In reaction to this, the learners will perform well in the tests provided since it examines on the memory abilities and the basic skills taught (Childre, Sands & Pope, (2009). However, the same student will perform poorly on the tasks that require analysis, explanation and application of the same taught concepts. Similarly, the learners may start to exhibit signs of getting bored as a result of lacking clarity in regards to the learning goals and how to apply the goals in the real-life situations such as future address and dealing with challenges and issues they may encounter.
Backward Design is helpful to the instructor as it supports intentionality in the process of design. It ensures that the specific aim of the instructor of achieving a certain goal is reached before being implemented in the curriculum (Jones, Vermette & Jones, 2009). It offers directions for the lesson designs, courses and units instructions. The Backward design, therefore, identifies the goals of learning and makes it easier for the educator to develop assessments that are related to the outcomes of the learning. In this case, if an educator has the explicit definition of the goals of studying the course, then they are more aware of what the students will require to learn and the learning activities to involve them in. therefore every activity carried out will fit in the aims of undertaking the task thus eliminate the possibility of doing a task wrongly or for the sake of being done. The Backward Design approach is comprised of three phases: desired results identification, acceptable evidence determination and learning plan of experiences and instructions.
Stage One: Desired Results Identification
In this stage, the teacher considers the goals in the students learning the unit, lesson or course. Wiggins and McTighe, 2004, suggest that the teacher should evaluate themselves by asking themselves three questions that are helpful in focusing on the way forward on the content delivery.
What to be heard viewed or read by the students?
What skills and knowledge should be understood by the students?
What are the most important ideas to be understood by the learners?
The first question is helpful in assisting the instructor to determine the kind of knowledge he or she should get familiar to in the course or lesson outline. This is the questions worth most consideration since it contains most of the information. The second question gives the teacher an opportunity to contemplate on the important knowledge, therefore, prioritizes the knowledge and skills that are key to the learning process. The teacher should gather the data that relates the knowledge in this question which may include concepts, strategies, methods and facts that should be learned by the student before the lesson or course is complete (McTighe & Thomas, 2003). The last question ensures that the instructor lays more emphasis on the basic core of learning which is understanding, attaining the learning goals, therefore, should only present the big ideas that should be retained by the student. As a result, the student will remember the big ideas in the course or unit learn more vividly than what has been taught in the entire lessons. When the instructor answers such questions, he or she is able to evaluate the best content to deliver to the learners.
Stage Two: Acceptable Evidence Determination
The second stage in the Backward Design helps the teacher to put into consideration the tasks to be performed and assessments to be conducted on learners as prove of their level of understanding. This phase will provide a way of helping the teacher to develop strategies in the design of the course that assist in the weighing of the progress of students towards the outcomes in learning that are desired (Backward Design, n.d.). The teacher will be equipped on how to evaluate the criteria to assess whether the students are understanding and as a means to evaluate their level of course content mastery. The evaluation of the course can be done through a number of methods such as laboratory projects, essays, short-term papers, home assignments and quizzes. This mode of assessments gives feedback to the teacher on the progress of the learner in regards to the level of skills and knowledge.
Stage Three: Learning Plan of Experiences and Instructions
The final backward design stage is an evaluation of what is to be taught by the teacher. This stage provides a chance to create the learning activities and strategies of instructions. This is because the instructor will have developed goals in leaning and method of assessment thus, will have a wider view of strategies that would work effectively in the provision of necessary information and resources to the students to approach the main objective of the course. There are a several strategies that advance the learning experience of students and the selected ones should be in line with the course objectives. For example, the teacher should issues exercises that present the students with an opportunity to make application of the acquired knowledge thus, help in the improvement of mastery of the content learnt (Backward Design and Elements of Course Design, n.d.).
The Backward Design Template
Backward Design Stages Considerations of the design What the final design accomplishes What you have learned from this assignment at each step?
Stage 1: Knowing What to Know
Comprehending on the goals of learning the lesson or course The student is able to understand the big ideas of the course, therefore, understand the course more. The teacher relates the relevant knowledge required to be learned by the student in the specific course.
Stage 2: Measure Away
The several ways of evaluating the students. The tasks that will be completed by the student will demonstrate the level of understanding of the course. The proof of mastery of content and level of understanding is as a result of the assessment done on the student.
Stage 3: Now, Let’s Teach ‘Em
Evaluation of what the teacher should teach. The method of improving the learning experience of students. The activities and instructional strategies applied will determine the mastery of the content of the student.
Backward Design and Elements of Course Design. (n.d.). Designing and Teaching Online Courses in Nursing. doi:10.1891/9780826134097.0003
Backward Design. (n.d.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Educational Research, Measurement, and Evaluation. doi:10.4135/9781506326139.n71
Childre, A., Sands, J.R., & Pope, S.T. (2009). Backward design. Teaching Exceptional Children, 41(5), 6-14.
Iino, H., Celik, P., & Lutz, B. (n.d.). Applying Backward Design Principles to Online Continuing Education Course Design and Development for Working Professionals. 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition Proceedings. doi:10.18260/1-2-27601
Jones, K.A., Vermette, P.J., & Jones, J.L. (2009). An integration of "backwards planning" unit design with the "two-step" lesson planning framework. Education, 130(2), 357-360.
McTighe, J., & Thomas, R.S. (2003). Backward design for forward action. Educational Leadership, 60(5), 52-55.
McTighe, J., & Wiggins, G. (2004). Understanding by Design: Professional Development Workbook. ASCD: Alexandria, Virginia USA.
Merrill, M.D., et al. (1996). Reclaiming instructional design. Educational Technology, 36(5), 5-7.
Shumway, S. & Berrett, J. (2004). Standards-based curriculum for pre-service a...
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