Creativity and insight almost always involve an experience of acute pattern recognition: the eureka moment in which we perceive the interconnection between disparate concepts or ideas to reveal something new.
– Jason Silva
So how do we get our students to perceive and recognize patterns across all of the many subject areas that they are studying? How can we unite content that is at the heart of learning with broader ideas that allow our students to appreciate and reveal something new?
The answer lies in conceptual relationships; the driving force behind the units and study within the framework of the MYP.
Whether a student is looking at angle relationships in the mathematics classroom, the main factors that were catalysts of the first world war, or the importance of teamwork in P.E class, it is of great importance that we do not isolate these learning points from the concepts that link them. What is considered a standard component of education in different subject areas can reveal something new when we regard them linked by an over-arching idea. How does one angle communicate with another? Was a lack of communication between countries a catalyst of the war? Can we work in a team without communication? All of sudden we can see that with a clear understanding of the effect and application of ‘the concept of communication’ we can build bridges within the curriculum as well as within the learning of our students.
The MYP fosters this approach from the early stages of teachers developing unit plans all the way to the assessments that the students complete at the end of the units.
Every unit currently being taught at M’KIS in the MYP is driven by its own unique and individual statement of inquiry. This is a statement that is inclusive of 2 or 3 chosen concepts that are able to be explored directly through the content of the subject area. The statements are designed to be applicable across the curriculum, and oftentimes the chosen concepts are shared by the different subject areas.
A good example of this is from our grade 9 Science class looking at ‘Motion and Waves’.
‘Movement enables living creatures to change their surroundings’
– Schmidt and McElvenny
When thinking about this statement in terms of science it is very clear to see the links to the subject area. The statement becomes interconnected when we think about its relevance towards other areas across the curriculum.
This statement could be true when thinking about migration in social studies; literal movement and technique in P.E or dance; or even the plight, and development of a character in language and literature. By creating transferable conceptual statements of inquiry we allow our students to recognize patterns throughout their education which leads to a deeper understanding of specific subject content and ways to apply their conceptual knowledge in the real world.
The goal to educate our students in their chosen subjects remains at the forefront of what we offer here at M’KIS but as we move deeper within the MYP framework the expectations on students to apply their conceptual understanding will grow. As we endeavor to help our students become intellectual, kind and outgoing we will also strive to prepare them for the challenges of the real world by helping them to unlock the ability to apply their skills in new and insightful ways.
About the Author:
Benjamin Nicholson is the Middle Years Programme (MYP) Coordinator at Mont’Kiara International School. Mr. Nicholson is currently overseeing the MYP authorization process for Mont’Kiara International School.