Imagine there’s no…..Conceptual Understandings

Conceptual understandings. These are what underpin what we do in class. Or at least should be. Concepts underpin inquiry. Inquiring into something is difficult if the concepts are not understood.

The purpose of this workshop was:

  • To develop strategies that will lead to the a coherence of conceptual understanding across all disciplines
  • To explore ways to facilitate the processing of factual information through a conceptual level of thinking.

Recently all Primary Years Programme (PYP) teachers at Bandung International School spent 2 days with PYP Workshop Leader @helen_morschel of MV Education Services at our in school Concept Based Learning workshop. The concepts that lay the foundation of our Central Ideas include:

  • Change: How is it changing?
  • Reflection: How do we know?
  • Perspective:What are the points of view?
  • Form: What is it like?
  • Function: How does it work?
  • Causation: Why is it like it is?
  • Connection: How is to connected to other things?
  • Responsibility: What is our responsibility?

At the end of the 2 day workshop participants were asked to show their understanding of a key idea. A big picture of the workshop. Some made a skit, others a diagram. There was even a poem. This was my favorite; a song. (Cue John Lennon’s classic: Imagine)

Imagine there’s no concepts
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to plan or inquire for
No understanding too
Imagine all the people teaching to the test

Imagine a big triangle
Facts and knowledge underneath
Leading through the concepts
The amount of learning beggars belief
Imagine all the learners asking “What is it like”

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
Now that concept based learning has begun

Written and performed by BIS Music Teacher Mr. Matt Ashworth and Assistant teacher Ms Lydia Oktavia
Big Takeaways:
  • Concepts drive inquiry
  • Concepts have different interpretations and applications as understanding is deepened
  • Using the Freyer Model in different ways
  • Concepts  are transdisciplinary
  • Start with the concepts when planning a unit

Whats next?

I feel I use concepts in my teaching however I could be more explicit in doing so. Using the related concepts to help with the understanding of the main concepts is something I plan to work on for my upcoming units in 2013. I will do this by not going to the planner document first, but mind-mapping out the unit conceptually. I think this will help me better understand the concepts myself.

Thanks Helen.
By the way check out this great post Its all about the Concepts  by Sarah Hodgson  (@SarahHHK) from Canadian International School Hong Kong!

About Jason Graham

I am a Digital Literacy Coach in Indonesia. I am from Vancouver but now call Melbourne home. I have lived in Indonesia for over ten years and enjoy sports and travel. I enjoy making stuff, photography and learning with and from others.
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