My own teaching follows the principles of Backwards Design and Constructive Alignment. Backwards design has been a focus of my planning for lesson sequences to deliver content throughout the Masters of Teaching. Backward design is the process whereby the desired learning outcome is designed first rather than last (Wiggins & McTighe, 2011). I pride myself on developing lesson sequences constructively aligned with the overall learning outcomes from the Australian Curriculum and value the development of deep understanding rather than a surface level understanding. In order to gain this deeper understanding close alignment needs to be made between activities, assessment and the learning outcomes (Biggs, 1996).
Whilst on Placement two, I developed and conducted a lesson sequence on classification in year 7 Science. Using the principles of backwards design I began by focusing on what the learning outcome for the unit would be. For this sequence I focused on developing an understanding of classification and its role and use for science. From this I was then able to structure a summative assessment piece that would show whether or not students had achieved this learning outcome. Lastly I developed a sequence of lessons and activity to achieve this assessment piece. These activities were developed using constructive alignment where by new information was scaffolded and deep understanding was developed by building on previous knowledge. I was highly commended by both my colleague teacher and my science teacher.
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At the completion of this lesson sequence all students had gained an understanding of the importance of classification and were able to correctly select objective features used to classify organisms. I believe the success that the students achieved within this sequence was strongly correlated to my design method in developing deep conceptual understanding.
Biggs, J. (1996). Enhancing teaching through constructive alignment. Higher education, 32(3), 347-364.
Satterthwait, D. (2010). Why are 'hands-on' science activities so effective for student learning?. Teaching Science: The Journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association, 56(2).
Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2011). What is backward design?. Understanding by design, 7-19.