In 2011, UWCSEA embarked on a significant curriculum development project to ensure all students from K1-G12 are provided with equal access to learning goals that are:
- Conceptually rigorous
- Logically sequenced
- Developmentally appropriate
This project, which took place from 2011 to 2017, led to the development of a set of guiding statements, including the UWCSEA learning programme, the UWCSEA learning principles and the skills and qualities of the UWCSEA learner profile. Although the initial curriculum articulation project has been completed, the College continues to develop and refine its curriculum over time through a review process.
Building the UWCSEA learning programme
Our curriculum is part of the Learning Programme. It explicitly articulates concept-based learning goals for our students. Being concept-based, our curriculum organises learning around the development of transferable ideas, which may be disciplinary or interdisciplinary. Knowledge and skill acquisition is vital, but not the end goal in a concept-based curriculum. Using their knowledge and skill learning, students construct and express conceptual understandings, which transfer to new contexts. This allows our students to apply critical thought in any situation, now or in the future. It is particularly relevant for students in an innternational school environment, where much of the student population is mobile and may move during their school years, meaning they need to be able to transfer
Advantages of a concept-based approach
Curricula structured around knowledge and skill learning lack the intellectual rigour and depth required to shape critical thinkers. With technological advances automating many jobs now and in the future, a curriculum focused solely on knowledge and skill learning does not adequately prepare students. Because our curriculum is organised around conceptual understandings, it supports both the application and transfer of learning to near and far contexts. This means that students are supported to think laterally, creatively and in interdisciplinary ways. By making connection-building a core element of our curriculum design, students learn how to construct and justify their own ideas and opinions.