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Synopsis

Why, despite years of trying, have efforts to achieve lasting, effective school reform fallen short? What curricular and policy elements must be in place to move forward? How should the roles of teachers and education leaders be defined to best support the point of school? Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe answer these and other questions in Schooling by Design: Mission, Action, and Achievement. Building on the premise of Understanding by Design, their acclaimed framework for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, the authors present a compelling argument for using the same approach to reach a grand goal: the reform of schooling as a whole. In their view, reform rests on six pillars: * A relentless focus on the long-term mission of school: enabling learners to demonstrate understanding and mature habits of mind; * A curriculum and assessment framework that honors the mission and ensures that content "coverage" is no longer the accepted approach to instruction; * A set of principles of learning that support all decisions about pedagogy and planning; * Structures, policies, job descriptions, practices, and use of resources consistent with mission and learning principles; * An overall strategy that includes ongoing feedback and adjustment; and * A set of tactics linked to strategy, including a planning process that uses "backward design" to accomplish the key work of reform. Practical, insightful and provocative, Schooling by Design elaborates on each of these elements and presents educators with both the rationale and the methodology for closing the gap between what we say we want from school and what school actually delivers--for turning vision into reality.

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