Chapter 3: Beginning with the End in Mind

Chapter Summary:Chapter three discusses the importance of understanding and establishing criteria. When teachers have a clear road map for what it is they are teaching, and communicate this plan to their students, the learning process becomes much more successful. Teachers need to clearly explain the learning goals as well as evaluation criteria if we expect our student to meet those learning goals and outcomes in a meaningful way. 

This chapter is a really important one for teachers because it discusses the fundamentals of teaching. No matter what lesson we are teaching, what subject we are covering, or what student is learning, we need to have a clear and communicated learning goal established. I know I have had many classes where the learning destination was not establish, and I, like many other students, was struggling to make sense of what we were learning. It is almost impossible to connect with the content and explore further learning when you are unaware of what it is you are trying to learn. I think often times teachers just forget to set this road map out for students, they forget the importance of communicating that learning destination. 

I really enjoyed this chapter because it gave great teacher examples of how to develop a clear description of the learning destination. I found these examples of taking an outcome and breaking it down a helpful visual aid. 

One critique I may make about the chapter was the format. I found some of the sub-headings confusing, and I had to go back and re-read to check if I missed something because I felt sometimes they were not properly introduced. As a learner like each section of a text to flow to the next so sometimes the abrupt topic change interrupted my learning. 

Last semester we learned a little about “Beginning with the End in Mind” in our Social Studies class when we examined the Backward Design Reader. The Backward Design strategy starts by using the outcomes and indicators to begin planning the lesson. Like learning with the end in mind, it is important to establish what what we want our students to learn. Our students need to be active participants in their own learning, and by involving them right from the start and communicating the learning expectations and learning destination, they can take on that independent learning role. 

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