Processes and Issues in Concept-Based Curriculum for Science
Christopher Tzy Yung Tan and Adrian Loo
The teaching and learning of science should be treated as an active inquiry, with students as authentic investigators in the process of making meaning of the world they are living in. Thus, science should be taught in a way that shows a strong emphasis on science concepts, on the examination and analysis of authentic problems and on the integration of science with other disciplines. In his book The Taxonomy of Significant Learning, Fink (2013) argues that the act of making new connections gives learners intellectual power when they understand the connections between different things. It is in the interest of developing such powerful forms of learning that has led us to explicate in this chapter the importance of focusing on conceptual development in classroom science. At the same time, we share the use of specific strategies to foster deeper conceptual understanding and their outcomes in our own attempts to adapt the regular Chemistry and Biology curriculum as we taught high-ability Year 11 and 12 learners. We also reflect on how other possible concept-development strategies can be successfully utilised in the lecture-tutorial- based learning environments that are typical at the pre-university level. Additionally, the benefits accrued by the use of such concept-development strategies in getting our learners to think more deeply and critically when learning in the discipline are discussed. It must be noted, however, that throughout this chapter, we have leveraged on our own experience of teaching Chemistry and Biology, although in our opinion, most of such strategies are easily adapted and just as beneficial when teaching other sciences as well.