It seems silly to me that we have so many pieces of paper (or pages online) to plan for so many subjects. We teach in boxes confined to timetables and our planning reflects this, or vice versa. Here I am sitting down planning for the term, trying to make links across the curriculum, thinking surely this can be done on one document to create natural connections for learning providing concepts in a variety of contexts. Of course - it has already been done! Lester Flockton talks of Connected Curriculum and Mark Treadwell discusses Conceptual Curriculum. So my aim now is to lay it all out on the table and put it together so it makes some sort of sense and meaning for our classrooms. A structure that embraces the nature of learning, values, essential components that develop self directed, motivated and engaged learners who are empowered throughout the learning process.
Mark Treadwell describes personalised learning
- making sure we know our audience and purpose
- Know why we are learning our learning intention
- applying efficient and effective ways to learn
- being engaged in the learning process
- knowing what knowledge is needed to build the required understanding
Mark also explains Conceptual Curriculum is a paradigm shift from text based learning systems to multimedia and collaborative environments. Concepts are built from a body of knowledge and requires numerous contexts. Understanding concepts is a developmental process, as your braining is constantly developing.
A concept is an abstraction, which pulls together a number of facts. Concepts group certain facts together and help organise them and make sense of them by revealing patterns of similarity and difference. To be understood, concepts need to be constructed by the learner under the guidance of the teacher.
Barr, Graham, Hunter, Keown, and McGee, 1997, cited http://ssol.tki.org.nz/Social-studies-Years-1-10/Teaching-and-learning/effective_teaching_in_social_studies/building_conceptual_understandings/building_conceptual_understandings
We have conceptual understandings in our Curriculum Document
The four conceptual strands in the social sciences curriculum are:
• Identity, Culture, and Organisation;
• Place and Environment;
• Continuity and Change;
• The Economic World.
The four conceptual strands in the health and physical education curriculum are:
Attitudes and values
Socio- ecological perspective
So why use Conceptual Curriculum?
-When learning concepts we use different parts of the brain to create a better understanding; neurons (7% neurons used for rote learning), using concepts for learning uses astrocytes (75% of brain cells and neurons)
-Keeps learning authentic and purposeful for the student
-In an information age concepts allow us to organise information in our own way in a meaningful structure
-Allows flexibility for teaching and learning
This, however, is only one component of what I want to achieve, so I now look at Lester Flocktons Connected Curriculum to see if I can pull it all together.
The nature of science also influences my ideas about curriculum design also. I believe it specifically addresses the nature of learning and is essential part of developing self directed learners.
My journey continues......