Outside in and inside out! A place to store ideas about education.

Monday, January 17, 2011

UBD in the Philippine Context

I'm in the process of putting together a research on the Understanding By Design as applied in the DepEd.  I think it is a good opportunity to study what the teachers think about UBD and how they apply it to their teaching in High School.  Below is a copy of a response I posted at the forum, a really nice venue to discuss and vent about teaching in the Philippines :)

But personally,  I'm actually quite impressed with the UBD framework primarily because it looks scientific in approach and overarching in scope. Indeed, if we focused on Understanding rather than just drilling on facts and procedures, maybe our kids will learn a lot more from school that is actually useful later on in life.

If only it were that simple.

The matter has been greatly complicated by the many ideas with which educational reform has been toying with, with various degrees of success. There is authentic assessment, there is cooperative learning, there is problem based learning, etc.... all these new labels are confusing and confining, however interesting or logical or useful or effective the method or the process contained within. Once we put a label on something, it is bound by that label. Thus, after a while the label looses its effectiveness as a buzzword, and it becomes dated, laos, wala na sa uso.

I think we have to focus on one thing here, Understanding Big Ideas, and the many ways to get it. UBD is one such way, but it is not the only way. It just puts into the spotlight things we have forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the labels and buzzwords that educational reform is so fond of using (and, for that matter, funding!)

I remember a colleague saying that DepEd has more pilots than the airforce. How true! By focusing on a single aspect of a single reform measure, we forget that what we really want is Understanding, and that has been with us pre-UBD, pre-educational system, and since the beginning of human existence.

I think it's high time to simplify the way we do things. Let's lose the labels, and go for what is necessary, in all the ways possible.

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