How do we co-construct a conceptual understanding?
Concept-based teaching is one of the approaches to teaching in the IB Programs.
What makes Concept-based teaching different from other methodologies is how teachers guide students to move beyond the facts, and to find relationships and connections among the concepts they are working with. In a few words, these means engaging students in discussing and producing big ideas that will show how they are using what they know to justify claims.
A new guide has been released for the IB DP Group 2 (Language Acquisition), first examinations 2020. This newly upgraded language acquisition course places specific emphasis in helping students develop conceptual understandings.
How are we doing this at QAIS?
- We are helping students unpack the concepts in the units of study they are involved in.
- We are placing a strong emphasis on the vocabulary they need to employ in order to succeed in each unit.
- We are ensuring that their thinking (ideas and questions) are visible and displayed in a way that can be used as resources in the future.
- We are using a variety of thinking skills tools in order to help students extract concepts from topics and to identify the language that can be used to talk about them.
- We use real-life situations so that students can establish a connection between learning in the classroom and the real world.
- We use command terms that demand specific types of responses from students.
The images below show how grade 11 students engage in an exploration of the themes “sharing the planet” and “human ingenuity” in a study of global issues. Students used the film “Safe” in order to inquire into the way filmmakers use information to produce stories that reflect real-life issues.
The evidence of conceptual understanding comes when students are able to use the concepts we are studying alongside verbs that reveal how these concepts interact. When students produce “big ideas” such as the ones below they demonstrate their conceptual understanding and, consequently, show that they are experiencing an IB education.