THE SIGNIFICANCE OF DEVELOPING A CULTURE OF CONCEPT-BASED INQUIRY IN THE CLASSROOM

“As teachers, we often notice that some children are naturally strong at conceptual thinking. These students make rich connections, share insightful comments and transfer understanding from one study to another with little to no teacher support. Our experiences with these students may lead us to believe that some children can think conceptually while others simply cannot. This is untrue; all students can be conceptual thinkers. If we want to develop classrooms where rich discussion and meaning-making take place, we need to reflect on how we build a culture of Concept-Based Inquiry. Such classroom spaces create high expectations for students, while simultaneously championing collaboration and supportive relationships.”

Carla Marschall and Rachel French (2018)

As a teacher, you will be equipped to teach in a way that facilitates deeper student understanding.


We sourced the globe collecting examples of best practice in Concept-Based Inquiry.

Delving more deeply into conceptual learning with such young children has proved to me how that we must have high expectations of what they are capable of. I have been impressed with the clear generalizations they have formed. In just a short amount of time, they are building conceptual understanding that they will be able to transfer to different situations.


Melanie Smith
Grade 2 Teacher
International School of Amsterdam


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I’m very passionate about a Concept-Based curriculum because I think there’s something in the agency it gives students through them seeing knowledge and understanding as something that they have control over. When you deal with knowledge at a surface level, and students are able to simply parrot it back to you, they’re just reproducing what it is that you’re teaching and they have no agency in that process. When they’re engaging deeply with underlying understandings and constructing them for themselves, they come out of that process with the deep empowerment that allows them to think creatively and engage creatively in new thinking circumstances.


Ian Tymms
Head of Middle School English
United World College Southeast Asia