I will be blogging periodically about something that has long been an emphasis and interest of mine: the importance of designing documents that make clear what we want and, in the process, improve our instruction by making us more consistent. To some degree, this new emphasis stems from workshops I did around such design concepts this summer, but also from Atal Gawande’s ideas about checklists and Grant Wiggins’ recent blog about templates.
The importance of such documents–clear directions, examples that may even be annotated–in helping all students reach higher levels was made more clear to me recently by comments my daughter, a sophomore in high school, made about some assignments in several classes. She works hard and wants to do well; yet her teachers’ directions were all brief and oral, with no example or guiding questions to help her see what a successful performance should look like.
I will write on these issues in the coming months as I had saved up loads of examples and made abundant notes for an article that took a different turn and made all that design content irrelevant. This is for my Senior English class: