MLSI: Building Student Success Through a Concept-Based Curriculum

On April 30, 2020,

The education structure at MLSI values education as the evolution of personal understanding, instead of the simple rote memorisation of facts. On that note, it can be established that at MLSI, conceptual understanding is a vital and enduring goal for teaching and learning in all of our programmes. 

The programmes offer curriculum frameworks and courses that are comprehensive and well-balanced, conceptual, and connected. In the Primary Years Programme (PYP) and Middle Years Programme (MYP) curriculum frameworks, students learn within a predefined set of key and related concepts. Concepts have an indispensable position in the structure of knowledge. Concepts require students to exhibit levels of thinking and understanding that reach beyond written facts or topics. Concepts are used as a foundation for the understandings that students will learn and consequently retain in the future; they become principles and generalisations that students can use to understand the world and essentially use a base in further study and in life beyond school.

MYP programme design uses two kinds of concepts:

  • Key Concepts - Contributed from each subject group, these provide interdisciplinary breadth to the programme. Key concepts are broad, organising, powerful ideas that hold importance within and across subjects and disciplines.
    • Related Concepts – Grounded in specific disciplines, these explore key concepts in vaster detail, offering depth to the programme. They develop from reflection on the nature of specific subjects and disciplines, offering a focus for an inquiry into subject-specific content.

    Students gradually work towards enhancing their grasp of conceptual understanding as they approach concepts from a wide variety of perspectives. The concept-driven curriculum structure of the MYP helps learners in the process of knowledge transferring and eventually taking responsibility for their own learning. This model of learning also encourages students to – 

    • Process factual knowledge at a profound intellectual level as they can now relate the facts and concepts to their own derived conceptual understandings.
    • Bring their personal intellect to the study as they use a key concept to personally focus on the unit topic in order to increase motivation for learning and thirst for knowledge.
    • Increase familiarity and hold over the language as students use factual information to demonstrate and support their deeper conceptual understanding.
    • Achieve enhanced levels of critical, creative, and conceptual thinking as students analyse intricate global challenges, such as climate change, international relations & conflicts, and the global economy, and create greater subject depth through the study of discipline-specific related concepts.

    Educators at MLSI have continued to concentrate on how best to meet the needs of adolescents in the form of young adults, who are confronted with a vast and often confusing array of choices in a complicated and dynamic world. An emphasis on higher-order thinking skills offers students opportunities to explore their concerns and their increasing awareness of themselves and the world in ways that include thinking research, and judgement.