by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Inside Teaching : August 2010
Inside Teaching | August 2010 PROFESSION 16 where lessons have been redesigned by teachers who have completed Teaching for Understanding 1, or 1 and 2, and 93 students from Year 5 to Year 10 in classes where lessons have not been so redesigned. In subjects including Maths, Integrated Studies, History, Geography and Business Studies, 72 per cent of students in Teaching for Understanding classes knew the understanding goals relating to their study, compared with 20 per cent in the non-Teaching for Understanding classes. The benefts of a strong connection between learning goals and assessment was also evident, with 72 per cent of students in Teaching for Understanding classes stating that they could see how the learning activities in which they engaged were achieving the understanding goals, compared to 40 per cent of students in the non-Teaching for Understanding classes. Students in Teaching for Understanding classes also reported that they often thought about the ideas they were learning outside of class, with 62 per cent reporting that they refected on their learning and 84 per cent reporting that they could explain what they were learning to others. As one teacher put it in a focus group interview, ‘Our students are now knowledge creating rather than knowledge consuming.’ Broadly speaking, Teaching for Understanding has transformed professional learning at Huntingtower. As teachers in focus group interviews see it, professional learning in the form of one-off workshops by charismatic speakers off-campus typically led to disparate gains in professional knowledge and skills. In contrast, they report, onsite participation in team-based online courses has led to more even professional learning, and to a usefully collaborative professional learning culture, particularly because teachers are easily and safely able to discuss the implementation and effects of the Teaching for Understanding approach using the action-research model comparing Teaching for Understanding classes and non-Teaching for Understanding classes. Once Teaching for Understanding units were developed for classroom use, teachers reported that they didn’t require curriculum development as a further layer on top of their professional learning. They also reported that documentation was simpler since they were using a common language, and that the Teaching for Understanding framework enabled them to develop richer learning activities through better linking in terms of interdisciplinary skills and knowledge. Our meetings became generative as ideas and innovations were clearly valued. Whole-school change occurs slowly and entails signifcant investment. By participating in online Teaching for Understanding courses, augmented by face-to-face professional learning and one- on-one coaching, our teachers are building their understanding about how learners engage and learn in a supportive way and, as one teacher put it in a focus group interview, they’re doing it ‘without being told to throw out all I’ve done, but rather being asked to build on it.’ ■ Fiona Gordon is Head of Teaching and Learning at Huntingtower School, Melbourne, where she has been leading the school’s implementation of the Teaching for Understanding Framework. She has been a teacher for 20 years and has held leadership positions in various Catholic and independent schools in Melbourne. In 2008, she was invited to join the Harvard International Case Study on Systemic Educational Improvement, and presented her fndings from the study in Singapore in July 2009. In January 2010, she consulted to schools in New York and Missouri. She presented her most recent paper, ‘Global networked learning: A new form of collaborative action research,’ at American Educational Research Association 2010 Conference, held in Denver, Colorado, from 30 April to 4 May.