Designing a Concept-Based Curriculum: The Raffles Girls’ School (RGS) Experience
Mary George Cheriyan and Lucille Puay Lan Yap-Chua
Change begins with a complete understanding of where schools have been, where schools are now and where schools are going.
(Glasgow, 1997, p. 8)
Schools aspire to create learning experiences that cater to the individual needs of their students. They seek to provide educational pathways and adopt pedagogical approaches that are appropriate to their students’ intellectual abilities and talents. Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) is no exception. As a school that caters to the top 3-5 % of the national cohort, it constantly reviews its programmes to optimise the potential of the students. In one such review, the school decided to embark on a concept-based curriculum framed by the principles of the Understanding by Design (UbD) model (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). This chapter describes the school’s journey in designing a concept-based curriculum. It examines the events and players who contributed to the focus on teaching for understanding so that students do not merely regurgitate facts but are critical, conceptual thinkers.