Backwards Design in International School Settings

I have very little experience using or understanding instructional design models as I have recently entered the realm of education through the path of a chef educating about food literacy in school settings. I collaborate with  professional educators in international private school settings and so my exposure to design models is only by observation of the current instructional design models used in international school settings. It seems to me that the backward design approach is most aligned and dominant in my current environment. I am currently working with a school in Beijing that is using what they call the Global Impact School Model designed by Inspire Citizens (Inspirecitizens.org). The Global Impact School Model (below Figure 1) uses a future focused, transformative learning and teaching design called Empathy to Impact (Inspirecitizens.org). As in backwards design models, before planning activities, questions are asked about; what cognitive skills, dispositions, fluencies, and literacies a person will  need to shape a better future. Goals are created first following a commitment to creating students with empathy, academic and creative capacity, and the hearts and minds necessary to serve and take action to improve our communities. Goals include; to enable youth to develop more compassionate empathy; think critically about information and global issues; solve problems creatively through the application of interdisciplinary skills and civic literacies; embrace the challenges of uncertainties and complexities; make ethical decisions; and take informed action (Inspirecitizens.org). As in Wiggins and McTighe Model (1998), objectives and goals are defined that are long term to support learning that will endure beyond the classroom over time. The end goal is well established; an inspired citizen with the multiple understandings and skills to be developed in students towards contributing to a sustainable future.

A focus on the learner obtaining understanding and skills as a result of the backwards design approach is similar to Wiggins and McTighe (1998) 6 Facets of Understanding Model (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). As with the Wiggins and McTighe Model, where facets of the model are not hierarchical, but instead, are equal and connected with the others, the Global Impact School Model has multiple connected domains of learning. From observing teachers within this school model, I have realized that in using this approach, the teacher is able to focus on defining the learning goals of the course which then provides a much clearer idea of what activities to plan for the students to achieve the desired learning objectives.  

 I have decided to research and write about the Wiggins and McTighe Model (1998) to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits of the backwards design approach as I feel it will help me to collaborate more effectively with the instructional designers in my work projects

Inspire Citizens retrieved on Nov 21  https://inspirecitizens.org

Wiggins, G. P., & McTighe, J. (1998). Understanding by design. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

 

 

 

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