Event Details

As educators, we seek to prepare our students for the future — to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will help them become productive, reflective, responsible members of their communities as they move into adulthood. But none of us can predict the kind of future that awaits them. So how do we shape 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, you will become familiar with the Teaching for Understanding and develop lessons that will foster deeper, more transferable learning in any environment.

What past participants are saying:

“I used to think that my students just understood what I was teaching because I worked so hard to create engaging and meaningful lessons and be a good teacher. Now I think there is more to understanding than being able to get a good grade on the assessment. I realize how important it is for the teacher to create clear goals for understanding that are shared with students so they develop an understanding of how to apply the knowledge and skills when needed in life.”

7th Grade Public School Teacher, United States

“I used to think that asking all teachers to plan in the exact same way limited their effectiveness in the classroom. Now I wonder if it isn't the standardization that's the problem but what you're choosing to standardize. Approaches to teaching like what we've learned in the TfU course seem like they'd be universally useful as a framework for designing units and courses that truly foster understanding while still leaving things open enough for each teacher to retain pedagogical individuality.”

6th - 12th Grade IB Teacher, Colombia

“I used to think that as a teacher it was my job to control the class and the learning that takes place. However, I now think it is imperative that students have a say in their learning and what interests and motivates them. I also used to think that assessments are totally teacher-created and for my use, but now I see that it is so important to have students not only assess themselves but their peers as well. Learning to self-assess and provide feedback to their peers allows students to take ownership of their learning while assisting their peers and deepening understanding.”

Kindergarten - 5th Grade Public School Teacher, United States


Course Designer

Tina Blythe has been a researcher at Project Zero for nearly 30 years. She is part of Project Zero’s online learning leadership team and is the education chair of the Project Zero Classroom summer institute. She is also a Lecturer on Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Central to her research and teaching are how to create and sustain learning environments that support understanding. Collaborative inquiry and the collaborative assessment of student and teacher work are key focuses of her work. She began her career as a middle and high school teacher, and she leads workshops and provides consultation for organizations and schools around the world. She is the author and co-author of a number of books and articles include Looking Together at Student Work, 3rd Ed. (Blythe, Allen, & Powell; Teachers College, 2015); Facilitating for Learning (Allen & Blythe; Teachers College, 2015); and The Facilitator's Book of Questions (Allen & Blythe; Teachers College, 2004). She is the lead author of The Teaching for Understanding Guide (Jossey-Bass, 1998), which has been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Swedish, and Georgian.

Course Instructors

María Ximena Barrera has been working with Project Zero ideas for the last 20 years, especially in project development to improve teaching and learning processes with educators in Latin America and Spain. She has participated in several educational seminars offering workshops and talks focused on Teaching for Understanding, Multiple Intelligences, and the use of protocols and Thinking Routines. For four years she worked throughout Colombia with teachers from the public sector on a project called Teaching for Understanding for the Construction of Citizenship. Since 2001 she has worked with WIDE World as an instructor for the different courses taught in Spanish (Teaching for Understanding and Leading for Understanding). Currently María Ximena is involved in the field of early childhood, first by implementing the Visible Thinking strategies at the Rethink and ReUse Center in Miami, she is also an Adjunct Professor at Florida International University. She is an active member of FUNDACIES and Vision Action, non-profit organizations dedicated to educational research and professional development for educators where she is the Director of Program Development. She holds a Master’s degree in education and curriculum design from Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia.

Patricia León Agustí has been a close collaborator with PZ since 1996. For 11 years she was Director of the Rochester School in Bogotá, Colombia, and founded the Colegio San Francisco de Asís, a PreK-12 school for poor children. The two schools, opposite in their economic circumstances, each benefitted from her work with PZ as she developed each school’s curriculum based on the Teaching for Understanding Framework. During 1998–1999 she was a visiting scholar at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Patricia worked with WIDE World Spanish online courses since the beginning as a coach and as instructor and also worked in schools offering professional development to teachers in different Latin American countries and in Spain. She led a reform movement in Colombia centered on Teaching for Understanding and for four years worked throughout Colombia with teachers from the public sector on a project called Teaching for Understanding for the Construction of Citizenship. She is the Executive Director of FUNDACIES and Vision Action, non-profit organizations dedicated to educational research and professional development for educators. She holds a Master’s degree in educational research and human development from CINDE and the Universidad Pedagógica, in Bogotá.