Implications of a Concept-Based Curriculum

Need for Suitable Teacher Training

Although a concept-based model of curriculum allows learners to have a unified view of a field of inquiry, its effectiveness is highly dependent on the teacher’s competency in implementing the curriculum. Not only do teachers have to possess indepth knowledge of one discipline, but they must also be able to make appropriate connections to other disciplines and maintain a consistent vision in terms of the exploration of concepts (VanTassel-Baska, 1986). In other words, teachers should display professionalism through their selection of concepts for the subject, their understanding of the processes involved in concept formation and their design of an appropriate curriculum for the learners (Winter, 2011). Indeed, the importance of the role of the teacher in learners’ concept formation in a concept-based curriculum cannot be undermined.

The teacher training provided for a concept-based curriculum is thus crucial in the implementation of the curriculum, because in addition to deep content knowledge, the teacher must be skilful in effecting the various strategies to take the learners to increasingly sophisticated levels of understanding. Although training opportunities for teachers teaching HALs are aplenty in Singapore, training that is not customised to cater to the specific needs of the teachers tends to be less beneficial (VanTassel-Baska, MacFarlene, & Feng, 2006). It is therefore important to identify the needs of the teachers before exposing them to various approaches in curriculum design so that they will be able to make the appropriate professional judgement in teaching.

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