Teachers Developing Concept-Based Curricula to Engage Diverse Learners

Project Number
DEV 02/15 LDP

Project Duration
January 2016 - June 2018

Status
In-Progress

Abstract
School learners are now expected to acquire a deeper understanding of subject matter rather than simply recall a range of superficial facts. To support such types of learning in the classroom, teachers need to become familiar with concept-based curriculum documents and adopt appropriate pedagogies that enable learners to learn conceptually. While subject specialists have endeavoured to reorganise curriculum and created associated professional-development programmes to try to help teachers reconstruct lessons for conceptual understanding, there is often limited success due to the difficult nature of changing existing classroom practices. Very often teachers admit that they are more comfortable teaching concepts rather than teach conceptually. This project is intended to address this issue by firstly getting teams of teachers in each partner school to re-design existing curricula units so that teachers become conversant with focusing instruction on a conceptual understanding of the subject. The teachers will be guided through this process by disciplinary expert-collaborators involved in the project. The main product of this project therefore will be the creation and field testing of four teacher-developed concept-based curriculum units over a 15-month period. The units will be designed collaboratively by the research team and two partner schools and will be taught in both partner schools. Student products and teacher observation data will be collected from both schools involved in the project in order to provide more feedback to the curriculum design process. The finalised refined units will be made such that they are ready for use in typical Singaporean primary classrooms. The second intent of this project is to to enhance teachersÂ’ practice in the use of curricula elements and pedagogical processes to foster deeper conceptual engagement and disciplinary understanding for all learners . It is expected that with the teachers' first-hand experience gained from this process, this can later be scaled up to other members of their teaching fraternity, so that teachers are able to re-design and field-test concept-based curriculum units with confidence.

Funding Source
NIE

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