Apart from knowledge and skills, children also need to grasp certain key concepts that will help them in how they perceive, understand and interpret the self and the world. Concepts are open, abstract, global and timeless and enable learners to enrich their knowledge and make the necessary connections. Concepts help in understanding the transdisciplinary units.
Knowledge = Facts, Information = Knowing
Concepts = Big Ideas = Understanding
In our School transdisciplinary activities are always based on concepts. By way of example:
Incidents in a war are knowledge; they are learnt. Should we need to recall them, there are numerous sources we can resort to at any time in order to find relevant information.
However, words, such as war, peace, conflict, interests, causes, results, relation, etc are concepts; they are taught, learnt, understood, and they are never forgotten!
Thus, when learners work with concepts, they learn to:
- Think critically
- Recognize patterns
- Make generalizations, predictions, connections
- Transfer their knowledge to various contexts
In order to support children in this:
- We plan out units that bear meaning
- We build on prior knowledge
- We constantly ask “how” and “why”
We encourage our learners to defend their answers and opinions