Concept-Based Curriculum and Instruction
Mark Willis, Maths Educator
"Having already got the taste for concept based learning at an earlier joint school professional development session run by Jennie, we were fortunate enough to have her come and spend 23rd February, 2015 solely with our maths department upon request. She brought with her not only an extensive understanding of what a concept based curriculum is and how it can be taught, but a passion and unique style of presentation that provoked engagement, promoted collaboration and challenged us to question our own curriculum, both in terms of its documentation and delivery.
The structure of the sessions gave opportunity to reflect on our existing pedagogy and time to begin enhancing existing units of work by laying a concept based approach over them. The activities and examples provided were completely in line with the over-riding philosophy of the day and facilitated its main aim - that a concept based curriculum helps to develop conceptual understandings which are transferrable across year levels, programmes of study and ultimately, disciplines. Many Thanks Jennie!"
Matthew Lacey, Head of Mathematics, Renaissance College, Hong Kong
I had the pleasure of attending a workshop run by Jennifer in 2015 and her adept knowledge of concept-driven curriculum is very evident. It was clear in her presentation that she brings both theory and practice together to provide a clear understand of how to implement a concept-driven curriculum for teachers. As a presenter, Jennifer is engaging and facilitates conversation to ensure participants reach a higher level of understanding. Jennifer's approach to teaching mathematics in secondary schools will ensure students have the appropriate numerate skills for a changing future. Her workshop is a must for any mathematics teacher!
Brendan Kean- Vice Principal, English Schools Foundation
I attended a Concept-Based Curriculum training course led by Jennifer and was really inspired by what I learned. Far too often, as teachers, we can become narrowly focused on the ‘topics’ that we are covering; with concepts there is a whole new opportunity for students to understand the ‘big ideas’ and the connections between different subjects. Jennifer skilfully guided us through how we can introduce students to a concept-based curriculum. I was really impressed with the method of writing ‘principles, generalisations’ which provide a framework for exploration. These generalisations can in fact make the focus of a lesson or series of lessons much more exciting, allowing students to break out of the constraints of a limited topic range. Ultimately, I left the course determined to try out a concepts based model with a new unit we are developing on Human Rights. With the conceptual lens, this promises to be a much more thought-provoking unit for our students.
John Edwards, Head of History Department, King George V School, Hong Kong
We invited Jennifer to host an In-school workshop over Approaches To Teaching and Learning in the DP. Right from the beginning Jennifer was engaging our teachers in discussions, group collaborations, and presentations. It was inspiring to view first-hand our teachers pedagogical and content expertise, along with their shared enthusiasm. As my years in administration further separate me from the experiences of being a classroom teacher, I enjoy workshops like these where I can stay up to date with the demands on our teachers, the current teaching strategies modeled as well as the pedagogical standards of tomorrow. Throughout, Jennifer modeled this with ease, had our teachers directly working on these standards, guided when necessary, and most importantly listened and added depth in areas that she herself is an expert on; definitely more of an expert than any of us. Thank you, Jennifer, for an inspiring and educational weekend workshop.
Sonia Bustamante, Upper School Principal, Brent International School Manila
I attended a category 3 IBDP ATT&ATL workshop that Jennifer led in early April (2016) in Sydney. Jennifer sets an excellent example of what lessons can look like when you want students to be engaged in their own learning and take responsibility for the learning process. When I came back from the workshop I immediately made changes to my lessons and used methods that she had let us 'discover' in the sessions. And although I am nervous about how some aspects might not work, so far my students have just 'run with it' and indicate that they are learning and understanding the concepts. It is fun to prepare new ways for your own students to learn. I truly enjoyed the mini field trip that put some aspects of teaching and learning even better into perspective.
Jennifer's understanding of classroom dynamics and collaboration, her inter-personal skills and expertise contributed hugely to the overall success of the workshop. If you are a seasoned IB educator and you are keen to learn some new methods for your teaching arsenal, you would enjoy this kind of workshop run by Jennifer!
Kitty Keeman, IB Economics Educator and Examiner