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Teaching for Understanding
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Introducing TfU
What is the Teaching for Understanding Framework?
Introducing TfU Contents

In a Nutshell

The Teaching for Understanding Framework includes four key ideas--based on the four questions: generative topics, understanding goals, performances of understanding, and ongoing assessment. (Although the framework parts are usually presented in this order, the ordering is somewhat arbitrary. You can begin your discussions or planning sessions with any part--as you'll see demonstrated in various parts of the site.)

Framework parts:

Generative Topics: These topics of exploration have multiple connections to students' interests and experiences and can be learned in a wide variety of ways. They are central to the discipline, engaging to both students and teachers, and build on previous topics.

Understanding Goals: Statements or questions that express what is most important for students to understand during the period of a unit, a course (Understanding Goals), or over a long duration, such as a schoolyear (Throughlines).

Performances of Understanding: Activities that both develop and demonstrate students' understanding of the understanding goals by requiring them to use what they know in new ways.

Ongoing Assessment: The process by which students get continual feedback about their performances of understanding in order to improve them.

To learn more about TfU go to the Information section.  


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WIDE World is a distance learning initiative from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. It offers educators high-quality, coaching-based professional development at a distance, with a focus on teaching for understanding, thinking, assessment, and the integration of new technologies. Click here for more information.

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