September 14, 2016
Primary school teachers from YCIS Shanghai’s Hongqiao, Regency Park, and Century Park campuses gathered just before the start of the school year for a teaching conference featuring renowned educator, Jay McTighe.
McTighe has an impressive resume in the education industry, having served as director of the Maryland Assessment Consortium, developed performance-based state-wide assessments for the Maryland State Department of Education, and having participated in the Educational Policy Fellowship Program through the Institute for Educational Leadership in Wahington DC.
However, McTighe is perhaps best known for having co-authored the best-selling series, “Understanding by Design”, with Grant Wiggins. “Understanding by design” is an educational planning approach based on backward design, where educators look at the desired outcomes in order to design curriculum units, performance assessments, and classroom instruction.
Jim Wilcox, Primary Curriculum Coordinator at YCIS Shanghai’s Hongqiao Campus says that having McTighe work with the Primary Teaching Team during the conference was an incredible experience, adding that “Jay is a brilliant presenter and highly engaging”. Not only did McTighe explain the background and methodology of “Understanding by design”, but also provided hands-on training and material for teachers to begin planning units of study. “By the end of the conference, teaching teams left with their first units planned, having gone through the “Understanding by design” process with an expert in the field”, says Wilcox.
“Understanding by design” is an effective strategy for all educators, but Wilcox explains that it works particularly well for Primary school teachers. “In Primary, we strive to integrate different subjects into an overall concept, and using the “Understanding by design” method is a great way of planning for this”, says Wilcox. “You start with a big concept and learning objectives, and from there you work backward toward building activities that can incorporate different subject areas, like maths, English, and science to fit into the bigger concept.”
YCIS Shanghai ensures all teachers are involved in a range of different types of professional development throughout the year. “Learning is ongoing”, says Wilcox, adding “all of the teachers at the school are outstanding, however we aim for continuous improvement”. Bringing in educational thought leaders like Jay McTighe, and providing teachers with opportunities to select their own professional development interests, allows teachers at YCIS Shanghai to develop their already exceptional teaching skills to further benefit the students in their classes.
To find out more about YCIS Shanghai’s Primary programme, please click here.