As a teacher understanding that there are only two basic processes which students can be asked to perform is important, these being constructing knowledge and transforming knowledge.
Constructing Knowledge: is when we ask students to learn about concepts, facts or procedures
Transforming Knowledge: is when we ask student to be able to apply their constructed knowledge.
Learning can be transformed and meaning can be enhanced through applying this in new situations. Lessons and unit plans should aim to seek and develop students and their ability to construct and transform knowledge, and should start by developing constructing knowledge and move towards developing transforming knowledge.
Looking back to the backward design for the unit plan and the three steps involved:
- Identify desired results
- Determine acceptable evidence
- Plan learning experiences and instruction
By following these steps planning is more efficient because not only is the process of constructing (declarative) knowledge being met but also transforming (procedural) knowledge. The focus needs to be shifted away from typical constructive (declarative) knowledge which the ability to recite facts is emphasised, it is essential that something is done with what you learn. Without the transformation (procedural) knowledge the meaning of the learning is lost.
What is Backwards design?