The Concept Curriuculum
The new paradigm in learning opens up new opportunities for effectiveness and efficiency gains in how we and our learners teach and learn. It appears that change happens slowly but if we look back over the last 40 years it becomes very apparent that change is accelerating at a breathtaking pace across all aspects of every domain that contributes to our lives.
Information access:Theme 1970 to 2010
-The information landscape was relatively barren and information was expensive, mostly text based resources are housed in libraries. Radio, television and newspapers/magazines were mostly "filtered" by a third party with a vested interest.
-The information landscape is vast, multimedia based and predominantly on the Internet. Information can be accessed via numerous portable technologies with the time delay between discovery and availability of the ideas behind those discoveries reduced dramatically.
Workplace Characteristics:Theme 1970 to 2010
-Workplaces were top down management structures. Long service and hard work earned promotion. Jobs were equivalent to security so changes were few and far between. The range of emplyment oprions were limited.
- Most people were employed in factories/production lines or the public service.Most work places are collaborative environments with groups of workers organised into teams with set goals. Workers are changing jobs far more regularly. Supply and demand are becoming the drivers of wage structures rather than status and the size of the company.
Decision-making:Theme 1970 to 2010
-Few decisions needed to be made by young people and where decisions were required there were strict cultural guidelines to assist in the decision-making process and plenty of adult help was available (desired or not).
-Young people are now having to make independent, decisions on leisure, money, fashion, peer structures, employment, sexual attitudes/activity, personal status etc. . . with most of their guidelines coming from their peers and an artificial "entertainment world".
Family structure:Theme 1970 to 2010
-Predominantly two parents in a (possibly superficially), stable relationship. One parent, usually the mother, at home for a significant part of the child's early development (up to 12 years of age).
-Depending on the community there will be up to a 50% possibility that one or either of the two caregivers will either not be present or will not be their biological parent. Depending on the community there will be up to a 60% chance that both parents will work.
Schools and Learning:Theme 1970 to 2010
-Learning happened at school and 'on the job'. Students in schools were taught from the front, were required to remember and recall a range of facts as well as learn to read and write and do some maths. Quiet classrooms were run by well disciplined teachers. Success in high stakes tests based on recall were the sole judge of academic success. The arts were done on Friday afternoons.
-Learners are no longer passive onlookers and are increasingly being asked to understand and manage their learning. Learners are now compiling their own reports, assisting educators in forming their next learning processes. Learners are involved in collaborative teamwork, (previously known as cheating) in order to carry out highly contextual and relevant inquiry learning modules of work. Arts and creativity highly valued.
How the Brain Learns
In the new model for how the brain learns the brain has three reasonably autonomous but interoperable learning systems.
-Remembering content via ‘rote’ learning and knowledge creation via epigenetic processes in the 7% of brain cells that are neurons .
-Building and automating conceptual frameworks of understanding via the interplay of astrocytes (75% of brain cells) and neurons
-Combining those conceptual frameworks of understanding in different ways in order to be creative via brainwaves
It turns out that the brains processes for knowledge creation and memorising is nowhere near as efficient and effective as its capacity to form and apply concepts. It is this recent realisation and the overwhelming volume of knowledge that could be learnt that has led to the need for and the development of a concept based curriculum.
See examples of learning to drive (concept) and reading and writing (knowledge-recall) on the website....
The Concept Curriculum
With increasing pressure on schools to develop teaching practices around the competencies and the development of principles and character the ever ballooning curriculum needs some radical surgery to make room for these latest additions. The efficiency and effectiveness gains come from focussing on what the concepts are that need to be understood and dispensing with traditional 3-5-10 week standard units of work and replacing them with clear learning intentions and units of work that last as long as it requires for the concept/learning intention to be learnt at the level required.
Personalised learning is about moving away fromwhat we teach, how we teach it, why we are teaching it (vague and undefined) it and finally whom is the recipient of that teaching and is this teaching appropriate
tomaking sure we know whom is front of us and where their understanding is at for each idea they are required to understand, why they are learning (clear learning intentions), how they can learn the ideas in the most efficient and effective way possible , making sure they are engaged and finally what knowledge to they need to know in order to build that required understanding.
The second process is a complete reversal of the first
Via Lynnette Van Dyke, Alfredo Calderón