Understanding by Design (UbD)

What our students will probably see glimpses of this coming school year will be the changes that UbD has on the curriculum.

First of all, what is Understanding by Design or UbD?

UbD is not a new curriculum, but is just a framework, a frame of mind. It is when the teacher sees the whole picture of a series of lessons and bunches them up into a meaningful whole. For example, students do not see the relevance of studying nouns, pronouns, verbs and adjectives independently, but instead sees their relevance in the context of sentence construction. So rather than teaching nouns, the teacher introduces a module on sentence construction wherein he or she introduces the different part of speech and perhaps sentence diagramming. The goal is understanding — for the students to understand. Actually, this is not new. I’m sure some of you already know that you should make your lessons relevant to the students. UbD just tries to put structure into that theory that you have, that I myself had.

What does UbD entail on the teacher?

With UbD, the teacher will see more the need to write Learning Modules instead of the typical daily lesson plans (1 topic:1 day). With this modular approach, the teacher can allot more time for activities where the students apply the skill, and less time on memorizing. For example, our very good Grade 11 Math teacher last year understood the idea behind her subject. She knew that it’s not about the answers, but it’s about how students arrive at an answer. She then gives problem sets WITH ANSWERS. The students’ job is to show how they arrived at the answer. Other than these, UbD will also entail longer planning for the teacher so that students are given a greater role in their learning. The teacher will undoing their beliefs that memorizing formulas is the way for students to learn. Why not let the students derive the formula for a change?

What does UbD entail on the students?

In a UbDized lesson, the students are given the reins. They are to direct how the lesson will move because the pace will greatly depend on their progress and assimilation of the concept and skill. Students will be doing more work, less memorizing, but surely more analyzing, evaluating, synthesizing and creating. Students, consider yourselves warned: More activities: physical and mental.

What is the status of UbD in DepEd’s new curriculum?

Last I heard in a seminar I attended last April 19, the DepEd modules are not yet complete. Only one level is completed, and that is the first year highschool curriculum. If private schools want to UbDize their curriculum, they are free to do so. It would, however, help if you would share your notes with us who are just pioneering it in one level. 🙂

What about in your school, what is the status of UbD? What are your thoughts on UbD? Anxious? I’m not as excited either, but it does make some sense and we don’t have to wait for DepEd or for our superiors to tell us to use it.

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6 thoughts on “Understanding by Design (UbD)

  1. Hi! How are you with UbD in your teaching this year? What specifics have you really tried so far?

    I’m teaching science in the high school, and it’s quite exciting that we now have a free hand in designing our curriculum, our lessons and requirements for our students. UbD has been liberating. But of course, a number of teachers are feeling more discomfort than excitement in treading the road to change. A lot of work, training and learning need to be done among us teachers.


  2. teachertwish says:

    I posted my comment as a new blog entry since it was too long for a comment. 🙂 https://teachertwish.wordpress.com/2010/08/31/update-ubd-status-in-our-school/

  3. darren says:

    where we can avail module that is already ubd???

  4. darren says:

    we need a module that is already Ubdize.

    • teachertwish says:

      Pardon my not posting your mobile number. I don’t want you receiving unnecessary text mates. 🙂 With regard to your request, I would decline to share with you the modules that we have on hand since these are already crafted by our teachers, and we would not want to be responsible for the mistakes that they may contain especially since we are still in the piloting stage of the program. To assist you, you might find the Vibal website helpful. It has links to US schools who have published their UbD lesson plans. It also has downloadable powerpoint presentations on UbD to further explain the rationale and its different stages. Best way to get hold of these modules is through a friend who has a personal copy of the DepEd modules. 🙂 Hope this helps!

  5. renn eustaquio says:

    the title of my thesis is modules in high school geometry using UbD, can u help me and give me a details about modules in UbD? t.y

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