All members of the Latin faculty and administrators recently gathered on Jan 7 and Feb 15 for two full days of in-service training on Understanding by Design (UbD).
UbD is the most prominent research-based approach to curricular planning in American public and independent schools. Designed by leading educational thinkers Jay McTighe and Grant Wiggins, UbD training at Latin equips all teachers with a shared conceptual framework for planning learning experiences. UbD’s most distinctive feature is an embrace of backwards design that turns on its head the usual way teachers plan units and lessons. UbD asks teachers to begin by articulating learning objectives and then designing assessments that will deliver valid information on whether those objectives are being realized in the classroom. Only after these first two design stages do teachers begin to build the learning experiences in the classroom that will equip the students to demonstrate the desired knowledge and skills.
Latin partnered with Global Online Academy (GOA) to build a blended learning experience for teachers and administrators. Faculty began by learning UbD's fundamental categories and concepts through a differentiated series of digital resources and discussions. They then worked face-to-face in teams to practice and build their UbD design skills. The overall goal of UbD training at Latin is to provide a durable learning asset for current and future faculty that will improve both instructional effectiveness and curricular alignment between divisions.