backward design – what is this?

Backward design you ask? I was initially introduced to this concept last year when we had to work backwards (hence the title!) and work out how to get the students to learn what they needed to for the curriculum goals and assessment task that was outlined. Easy? No way!

The backward design process of Wiggins & McTighe begins with the end in mind:

Teachers are designers. An essential act of our profession is the crafting of curriculum and learning experiences to meet specified purposes. We are also designers of assessment to diagnose student needs to guide our teaching and to enable us, our students, and others (parents and administrators) to determine whether we have achieved our goals” (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005, p. 13).

After researching I found this article that has further information that I think will be valuable to our next assignment as well as our teaching degree. If you have time, click here and have a read (or save for when you do have time!). I am very interested in how we can use the curriculum, assessment, and pedagogy techniques to achieve quality learning. Here is a YouTube clip that can also help in understanding the backward design concept.

Since I’m starting to backward design for assignment two and have two options for my “somewhere”, I am hoping to incorporate student blogging (I have seen the benefits first hand) and after researching the program Kidblog that Mr. Clancy blogged about, will be one that I will use in the future. I also think I will incorporate virtual mooting if I go with my legal studies “somewhere” as I believe this would be a great use of ICT and enhance student learning.

But I’ll keep going through the learning plan and thinking… backward thinking.


Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design (2nd ed.). Virginia, USA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


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