Concept Based Education

The world is changing. Knowledge is changing. The ability to view the world with a more flexible mind is invaluable.

Concept based curriculum is driven by “big ideas” rather than subject specific content. By leading students to consider the context in which they will use their understanding concept based learning brings “real world” meaning to content knowledge and skills.

Concept based curriculum and instruction is a 3 dimensional design model that frames factual content and skill with disciplinary concepts, generalisations and principles. It is contrasted with the traditional 2 dimensional model of topic based curriculum which focuses on factual content and skills with assumed rather than deliberate attention to the development of conceptual understanding and the transfer of knowledge.

A concept based education develops effective approaches to teaching and learning, empowering young people for a life time of learning, independently and in collaboration with others and preparing a community of learners that engage with global challenges through enquiry, action and reflection. An IB education for example, aims to develop a range of competencies and dispositions that include skills for thinking, working with others, communicating, managing self and research.

It requires thinking students who draw on critical, creative, reflective and conceptual thinking abilities.

The cognitive interplay between the factual and conceptual levels of thinking requires deeper intellectual processing as students relate the facts to key concepts and principles. Develops conceptual structure in the brain to relate new knowledge to prior knowledge, to illuminate the patterns and connections of knowledge, facilitate the transfer of knowledge at the conceptual level, provides opportunities for personal meaning-making through process of thinking, creating and reflecting. It develops intercultural understanding & international–mindedness through conceptual transfer, facilitates the transfer of learning across global contexts as students engage with concepts & conceptual understandings as reflected across unique & varied cultures, encourages inquiry into global issues of concern that draw out the multiple perspectives and situations of different cultures & nations, motivation for learning. It recognises that intellectual & emotional engagements are essential to the motivation for learning.

Concept based education also explores significant content & provides opportunities to develop both disciplinary & interdisciplinary understanding. It offers curriculum frameworks & child development courses that are broad & balanced, conceptual & connected & finally, rigorously assessed. Working together, these four characteristics define a concept-driven, inquiry based education like the four age-appropriate I-B programmers-Primary Years Programmer (PYP), Middle Years Programmers (MYP), Diploma Programmer (DP) the career related Programmer (CP). It takes all of these dimensions working together to create a solid education.

Many bright children are global thinkers they need to see the whole picture before analysing the details. They usually have a heightened awareness of the interconnectedness among people, ideas & environments. They are also likely to be able to transfer this knowledge to a variety of different settings. It is essential that our children become thinkers & problem solvers, not just memorisers of facts. They need big ideas that they can take with them through their lives so that they will be able to understand complex interactions & become true innovators. The moving beyond the page concept based curriculum will help achieve and all round growth and a holistic development in children as well.

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