The Genre Approach to Learning ABOUT Language
Step A - The Conceptual Lens
But what exactly is a concept?
Can a text genre be a concept?
So where does the conceptual lens fit on the planner?
The central idea
So let's recap what we have done so far...
The Learning Outcomes
How do we write the lines of inquiry
The Related Concepts
The Teacher Questions
The Finished Product (well almost)
Frequently Asked Questions
What about the Transdisciplinary Nature of PYP?
Other languages could (and should) link to the same conceptual lens. For example teachers teaching mother tongue Vietnamese students would have the same (or similar) planner to that of the homeroom English teacher. Being transdisciplinary could be between languages which share the same conceptual lens.
Aren't the lines of inquiry too wordy if they are written as conceptual understandings? Can the children access them?
If all the conceptual understandings are agreed in advance how can this be inquiry?
In your example aren't there are too many lines of inquiry?
Where do the PYP Scope & Sequences fit in?
What about phases?
What about the PYP Key Concepts?
I'm not a fan of the Key Concepts as concepts. That might sound strange but what I mean by that is I'm not a fan of the concept of 'form', 'function', 'causation' etc as something we learn about. All other concepts (e.g. symmetry, narrative, colour, character, voice, cooperation, democracy) we learn about. The Key Concepts don't serve that purpose in my mind. They are so broad they can fit into any inquiry and any body of knowledge. So selecting one or more makes absolutely no difference to what our students learn.
The Key Concept Questions on the other hand are quite brilliant as an approach to teaching & learning; as a way of inquiring and critiquing knowledge. No matter the inquiry or subject matter shouldn't we always be asking "How do we know?" "What are the points of view?" "How is this connected to other things?" (and so on). Just like any good questioning technique or visible thinking routine these sorts of questions are indeed great practice as an approach to teaching and learning. The key concept questions should apply all of the time.
We have to select 1 to 3 key concepts for the sake of the planner. The Bubble Planner says so. So dutifully we do that of course. Usually we choose function (How does the text type work?) and form (What is the text type like?) But like I say doing that makes no difference to the inquiry as we would of course always asked that (and other concept questions) anyway.
What about the rest of the stuff for a balanced literacy programme?
So what about those of us that don't use First Steps or another genre approach?
Is a genre based approach best practice?
Why do you believe we can't have PYP planners for additional languages?
First Steps Literacy Website
Lois Lanning Designing a Concept Based Curriculum for English Language Arts
Lynn Erickson - All of Lynn's books and educational material
I hope this blog post has been helpful or at least spurred your thinking or made you skeptical of what I'm suggesting. I constantly change my own opinion as I develop my understanding about all of this. I would really appreciate it if you would leave your opinion, thoughts or questions as it really helps me think things through and change my mind! Also if you have found the post interesting please do share it on social media to keep the conversation going.
Thanks a lot! :)