Creating Meaning and Six Facets of Understanding


For a teacher to attain his goals in teaching or design of lessons it is always important for him to create meaningful activities for the students. Such tasks can be used by the teacher within the lesson duration to overcome the challenges experienced in the course of teaching. The focus of this essay is to describe a challenge and the tasks that can be used in a lesson to overcome the challenge and support the goals of the teacher. It also presents a discussion on a facet of understanding and the context in which it was experienced together with the instructional method used in promoting understanding (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).

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One challenge that students meet in their learning is remembering the things that the teacher has taught in a particular lesson. Memory lapses, therefore, present a huge problem to the teacher because he is forced to keep repeating the lessons taught earlier. As a teacher, when faced with such a problem I need a suitable task to help the affected student to remember the things I teach in class. In this particular lesson, I came up with a task about geometric shapes.

Because I needed my students to remember the various shapes I had taught them, I had to make them get involved. The task I chose for them involved completing and labeling various geometric shapes (Pilloton, 2010).

The target was a particular girl whose memory was really bad throughout the lessons I was giving. Completing the different geometric shapes would help the student to have a better memory because she had to draw them by herself, and give names to each shape. Some of the shapes were incomplete, and her task was to fix the missing parts. This helped the girl to remember the shape, and the name was given to each shape. Teaching about the shapes without allowing the student to draw and name them had proved to be a waste of time. The task became very useful in overcoming the challenge faced by the girl in class, and as the teacher, I managed to meet the goals I had set for the lesson (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005).

Facet 1: Explanation

The facet of understanding I have chosen for this discussion is an explanation. When I was a student in the first year of my undergraduate studies, I was required by my professors to explain certain things in class. My professors expected me to know how to explain and express myself about the various issues in the lessons they were teaching. One particular incident I remember is when one of my professors then, asked me to explain to the class a particular concept he had taught us earlier. My communication skills were a bit poor, and I, therefore, lacked the right words to express myself.

Besides, I lacked enough confidence to do that. Because of my lack of confidence I suffered from panic, and unexpected fear. The result was that I could not organize all the ideas, and piece together the points I had, to come up with a comprehensive explanation of that particular concept.

Cooperative learning

To promote the moment of understanding, and help me to overcome my problems, the learning tool my professor employed was cooperative learning. Cooperative learning allowed the entire class to get involved in the academic as well as social experiences of learning. We started working in groups to finish some of the tasks we had, and in the process, we met our academic goals. In cooperative learning, one gains a lot from the resources, and skills of the other students (Clarke, Grevholm & Millman, 2008). The professor now started facilitating our activities instead of focusing on the provision of information alone.

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In our groups, I could ask my fellow students to explain certain things to me as I listened, and through that, I learned how to explain them myself. I also kept monitoring their work, and how they conducted themselves academically in the group. I developed better thinking and communication skills through the opportunities I got in the group. Having realized my weaknesses, my professor used this learning tool to help me become a better student. He gave me the privilege of attending discussions in other groups to learn new skills from those groups (Clarke et al., 2008).


In conclusion, this essay focuses on creative teaching and the facets of understanding. Remembering was the challenge I experienced in my teaching. I used the task of completing and naming geometric shapes to meet this challenge. The explanation is the facet of understanding that applied to me in my first year at the university. Cooperative learning as a learning tool helped me to know how to explain various concepts. Teaching and learning can only reach their goals if the teacher uses meaningful tasks. Teachers should embrace various instruction tools to have successful lessons.


Clarke, B., Grevholm, B., & Millman, R. (2008). Tasks in Primary Mathematics Teacher Education: Purpose, Use and Exemplars. Belmont, USA: Cengage.

Pilloton, E. (Executive producer). (2010): Teaching Design for Change. (DVD) Ted, Vic.: TedGlobal.

Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

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