Learn to develop robust learning experiences that prepare students for an ever-changing future.
As educators, we seek to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will help them become productive, responsible members of their communities. But none of us can predict the kind of future that awaits, so how do we create learning experiences that prepare our students for an uncertain future?
Teaching for Understanding is an approach to curriculum design that goes beyond the simple relay of information to help students develop transferable knowledge and skills that they can apply in situations they have never encountered before. In this course, participants will become familiar with the Teaching for Understanding design framework and develop lessons that will foster deeper, more transferable learning in any environment.
This online course was originally developed by Project Zero’s Tina Blythe, an HGSE faculty member and one of the lead researchers in the twenty-year Teaching for Understanding (TfU) initiative. In 2020-21, along with Tina, PZ Director and HGSE faculty member Daniel Wilson and long-time TfU practitioner Maria Ximena Barrera developed the TfU Graduate Credit course. Daniel, Maria Ximena Barrera and Patricia León Agustí, an experienced educator facilitating TfU approaches in many settings, revised the TfU Professional Development Credit course. Daniel and Maria Ximena will instruct the Graduate Credit course and Maria Ximena and Patricia will instruct the Professional Development Credit course. The course begins with a one-week orientation, during which you will explore the online platform and get to know fellow members of the learning community. Six two-week content sessions follow, each with an average time commitment of approximately 2.5 hours per week, including a synchronous team meeting once during the two week session. For the Graduate Credit Course, participants can expect to spend 4-5 hours each week to cover additional readings and work toward their final project. In each session, educators will:
- Learn new ideas
- Review and reflect on key ideas from the previous session
- Plan for trying and/or fully implementing course ideas in the classroom
- Work on a project or curriculum unit
- Reflect and share feedback with a coach and peers
Course participation is team-based, which promotes a deeper and richer learning experience and will help you sustain your use of core Project Zero ideas after the course concludes. Team members will collaborate on most of the assignments, including the development of a project. Teams meet face-to-face or virtually once every two weeks, so all team members will need to commit to a regular common meeting time throughout the term.
Although the sessions are structured and coach-facilitated, all the online interactions in the course are asynchronous. You and your team members can decide when to work on the course materials as long as you submit the assignment(s) on or before the due dates.
Online Course Schedule
Please review the course schedule to ensure that you and your team will be able to participate fully in the course, taking into account your local holidays and vacations. The average time commitment is about three to four hours per week.
September 2021 Term Schedule
Session 1: Monday, September 20
Session 2: Monday, September 27
Session 3: Monday, October 11
Session 4: Monday, October 25
Session 5: Monday, November 8
Session 6: Monday, November 22
Session 7: Monday, December 6
Course closes: Sunday, December 19
February 2022 Term Schedule
Session 1: Monday, February 14
Session 2: Monday, February 21
Session 3: Monday, March 7
Session 4: Monday, March 21
Session 5: Monday, April 4
Session 6: Monday, April 18
Session 7: Monday, May 2
Course closes: Sunday, May 15
- Explore the nature of understanding and why it should be a central goal of contemporary education
- Consider what we should teach to foster understanding and how to prioritize the content that is most important for students to understand
- Learn to design learning experiences that foster true understanding
- Participate in a reflective online professional community that supports your own understanding of how to teach for understanding
Who Should Participate
- Teachers, Teacher Leaders, and School Leaders
- Museum Educators and educators working in informal learning environments
- Pre-K to Adult Learning
PZO courses require teams to meet regularly throughout the course and to complete assignments collaboratively. Team members must be able to try out course ideas with students/learners in classrooms, either virtually or face-to-face, or other direct learning environments with students. While the learning design encourages teams to meet locally, in person, once every two weeks to engage in group-based activities, these team meetings can occur virtually.
- Teams can be comprised of district or school staff, including classroom teachers, instructional leaders, teacher leaders, and administrators
- We recommend team members have similar roles and work in the same school or district, if possible
- We also recommend that teams have at least one group of students with whom they can try out tools throughout the course
Due to the above recommendations, enrollment in the PZ online courses has historically been open only to teams whose members come from the same school or organization. While preference will continue to be given to teams of colleagues from the same school building or organization, we also now accept applications from:
- teams comprising individuals from the same district or organization but not the same building or working group;
- educators who form teams across districts or organizations; and,
- individuals who have not formed a team.
People applying individually, if accepted into the course, will be placed on a “virtual team” that includes two to three other educators who have also applied individually and who come from the same or proximal time zones.