By Rachel French
Published by Corwin Connect
I don’t know a single teacher who would intentionally set out to do the thinking for their students. Yet, that is exactly what happens when teachers begin lessons or units by sharing conceptual understandings before they have begun to explore factual content. Students are cheated of the opportunity to grapple with ideas, seek connections, and articulate significant conceptual understandings for themselves.
With appropriate scaffolding and support, all students are capable of thinking conceptually. Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction promotes an inductive philosophy where lessons are intentionally designed so that students examine examples and attributes of a concept or conceptual understanding and use this information to construct significant conceptual ideas (generalizations). Students develop a deeper understanding when they are given the opportunity to do the cognitive work themselves, moving from the facts and skills to transferable conceptual understandings.