As an MYP Coordinator working to implement the MYP Next Chapter changes at my school I find one of the conversations I have the most often involves a perceived conflict between the need to teach ‘stuff’, and the extra time it takes to build a framework around the ‘stuff’. All too often the reply I receive when I start talking about the MYP concept based approach to teaching a learning is, ‘that looks great but I have too much curriculum to cover.’
The other day I sat down with my iPad and the amazing Paper App to try and sort out my thoughts about whether the need to teach ‘stuff’ really was an impediment to teaching concepts. I started with how we traditionally approach teaching and learning. We teach the students a bunch of ‘stuff’ and hope that they will eventually start to see the big picture. Of course not all the stuff we teach helps them with the big picture so it ends up being forgotten as soon as they write the unit test. The big picture also tends to have holes in it.
Contrast this with taking time to teach the big picture first. Yes, it takes time. But the payback is that you have to teach less stuff (you might need to let go of the compulsion to teach everything just in case) and there is a better chance it will be remembered and maybe even transfered to other disciplines or situations.