A distinctive feature of the MYP:
• Key and related concepts are big ideas, which form the basis of teaching and learning in the MYP. They ensure breadth and depth in the curriculum and promote learning within and across traditional disciplines.
Why should we use a concept-based curriculum design model?
· It develops structures in the brain (brain schema) for sorting, organizing, and patterning incoming information, and for transferring knowledge and skills through the conceptual level.
· It requires students to process facts and skills at a deeper intellectual level as they relate the facts, strategies, and skills to key concepts, generalizations, and principles.
· It engages and develops the intellect on two levels—factual/ skill and conceptual.
· It supports “synergistic thinking”—the cognitive interplay between the factual / skill and conceptual levels of knowledge and understanding.
· It increases motivation for learning by engaging the personal intellect.
· It increases fluency with language as students explain and support their deeper understanding with factual information.
Concept-based instructional units, are idea-centered rather than coverage-centered. Teachers give a great deal of thought to crafting the most important conceptual understandings to focus the inquiry for learning in each unit. It is impossible to know all information because it is expanding exponentially. So it just makes sense to select content that best illustrates the important concepts and conceptual statements of understanding in each discipline. Because conceptual understandings (generalizations) transfer, students are provided with the understandings to help them see patterns and connections to other examples of the same ideas.
Adapted from The Middle Years Programme – A Guide for Parents, 2013.