Friday, November 24, 2006

Big Idea Concept

The “big idea” concept is definitely something new for all of us. To me, it seems like teaching thinking skill in a very refreshing way. This approach requires the teacher to have a sound content knowledge in order to weasel out the key concept for the students.

We have to first find the “big idea” which must be something that the students can easily relate to and something that they can easily understand and recognize. Perhaps, inductive enquiry approach is a good way to get students thinking and for them to construct their own understanding. In this way, they tend to retain knowledge better and learn faster in a more meaningful way. This may make learning more independent and more interesting. Some students find that geography is about memorizing facts and may find the subject bored and dull. Perhaps with concept teaching, students can see the bigger picture and relate it to their daily activites, etc. Once the concept is understood, there is no need to regurgitate information. This may aid them to answer questions with understanding and not memorization.

In this concept teaching approach, providing scaffolds for students is very impt, we can do so by listing facts and then abstract concepts and finally provide an overarching framework which cuts across a variety of topics. Instead of providing them with hard cold facts, we should teach them how to learn. Teaching them to think and to learn geography is tantamount to teaching them to fish. Thus we should help students see the big pictures by relating geog to their daily lives and activites.


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