Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Enduring Understanding...Theories, ideas, and practices on how to get there

As I reflected back on assessment, backwards design, effective instructional strategies and best practices in teaching reading, I quickly find many connections to the theory of constructivism.  Again and again I kept hearing the ideas of making meaningful learning connections, being student centered, and learning for understanding.  The teacher’s role is critical for facilitating and creating a learning environment in which students take control of their learning, are actively engaged and discover or “uncover” their own learning.  According to Marzona’s Nine Essential Instructional Strategies, effective learning practices help the students use their own thoughts and ideas to question, research and make analysis of their learning.  Teaching for enduring understanding only makes sense but is not the traditional way of teaching nor is it the way I was taught. Being a constructivist teacher can be a daunting task.  In some ways it may challenge your old ways of teaching and in other ways it’s easier said than done.  One thing I’ve found to be very helpful and effective is focusing on the “big picture” when planning curriculum.  Using backwards design concepts and teaching with essential questions has not only helped guide me but given the students direction and ownership of their learning. Researching effective and a variety of instructional strategies has also helped me create more interesting, actively engaged lessons that focus on cooperation and application of knowledge.  I’m seeing the kids learn in so many ways and now I know the theory behind it and can feel good that they are learning with the intent of having enduring understanding.  

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