C. Creating progress as a reflective teacher - so on and so forth...


Between yesterday and today, I have managed to finally begin my 2000 word essay on 'inclusive education' where I have been asked to investigate how I can begin to apply differentiation in my lesson plans. My task is to produce one single lesson that focuses on addressing a 'universal design for learning' environment that caters for all the learning needs of all the students in my classroom. So far, 401 words written with more to come in the next few days. 

Again, as I have done many times in the past, I return to the ones I am familiar with to reinforce what I have been learning, and I immerse myself with reading and re-reading. The usual ones, the familiar ones I am comfortable diving into. I am such a creature of habit and like a baby, I run back to my comfort zone of Killen, Hattie, De Nobile and co, JJ Arnett, Brad Gobby and Rebecca Walker as well as Churchill and his many co-collaborators in his massive teaching manual simply called: Teaching - making a difference. 

I go to the same pages. I find the same chapters and peruse the same material. I turn the page and as if like magic, something new is revealed. I feel like Alice, not in chains, however, on a new adventure every time I open the same old books. As an example, my research leads me to discover a digital book from 2006 available through the university portal called "Integrated differentiated instruction: Connecting content and kids" by Tomlinson and McTighe. I think nothing of it until I am re-reading Killen, page 23, and he himself quotes Tomlinson. I know I am onto a good thing when little things like this happen. More importantly, I look at my book again, and as I'm referencing my resources in my essay, spell-check picks up mistake: McTighe and the dictionary attempts to correct it. I have a second look at the spelling and realize that McTighe is familiar and I investigate and yes - he and Grant Wiggins co-wrote the most famous book of all: Understanding by Design. Check out some of these questions posed:

   • What is understanding and how does it differ from knowledge? 
   • How can we determine the big ideas worth understanding? 
   • Why is understanding an important teaching goal?
   • How do we know when students have attained it? 
   • How can we create a rigorous and engaging curriculum that focuses on understanding and leads to improved student performance in today's high-stakes, standards-based environment? 

The book basically is a manual for teaching, with instructions that explain the rationale of backward design and explores in greater depth the meaning of such key ideas as essential questions and transfer tasks for work. 

You might not be into education, but this is what I have been exposed to at PwC as this practice of working in reverse has been used in business models for quite a long time. 


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