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Concepts-Based Curriculum and Instruction Essay (Book Review)

The Most Appealing Ideas

In her book, H. Lynn Erickson focused on concept-based learning. One of the most appealing ideas expressed by the author was the introduction of her perspective on the subject. In particular, Erickson began her book by explaining what concept-based learning stands for and what kind of knowledge it represents. The author connected concept-based learning with the speedy development of technology that changed the face of various industries. In turn, skills and abilities required from young workers changed significantly compared to those popular during the times of their parents’ youth. As a result, in accordance with new requirements, educational standards and curricular contents also have to transform in order to stay relevant in the rapidly changing world.

It is possible to state that one of the most interesting aspects of the book was the author’s ability to explain the idea and meaning behind concept-based curricula. This achievement is particularly remarkable in the light of the general lack of understanding of this concept by educational authorities and school administrations which, in turn, results in the lack of its application. Practically, Erickson managed to view and describe a concept-based curriculum using simple and comprehensible language.

Another appealing idea expressed by Erickson in her book is the presentation of the state and national standards as some of the main resources that need to be used by educators as the sources of deep knowledge and additional information about the subjects they teach and the ways in which their disciplines should be presented. This idea is interesting because it emphasizes the importance of state and national standards that can be overlooked by educational practitioners.

The Implications of the Ideas in the Book for Me as an Educator

First of all, the ideas presented in the book imply that the ongoing learning and self-improvement are some of the core tasks and duties of educators as professionals. By stating that the development of technologies and industries calls for corresponding adjustments in the field of education, the author also emphasizes that teachers need to change alongside their programs and requirements. Moreover, Erickson points out that national and state standards play a vital role in the process of change because they are designed to serve as guidance for educators willing to keep their practices up to date with the latest changes in the society and industries.

As a result, it is possible to make a conclusion that the latter statement also implies that modern educators are to review their local as well as national standards in order to understand the latest requirements and demands from their performance. Moreover, the author’s point is that the standards serve as essential resources for educators because they offer a deep understanding of their respective disciplines. In particular, in the changing world, the value, perception, and meaning of various disciplines may change in accordance with new shifts in industries and their weight. As a result, in order for educators to be able to provide students with the relevant academic knowledge and practical skills, they have to keep track of all the latest changes in their fields.

According to Erickson, designing an appropriate concept-based curriculum is a very complex task that requires a collective effort of educational professionals of various levels and specializations. To be more precise, the author’s explanation of what concept-based curricula stand for implies that changes facilitated by teachers alone and introduced at the level of personal performance are not enough. In order to design and implement a new kind of curriculum, many educational professionals need to come together, assess the current challenges, evaluate potential barriers, weigh possible outcomes, and then reshape the existing curricula in accordance with the concept-based principles and the latest standards.

The Ideas That I Challenge

In her book, Erickson juxtaposes concept-based and performance-based theories of education. In the author’s opinion, the system that is currently employed to guide curricula and instruction is solely performance-based. The author characterizes this approach as old-fashioned and ineffective because it is strictly guided by theory and the students’ understanding of topics – a shallow and superficial method, as noted by Erickson. Instead of these inefficient strategies, the author proposes switching to concept-based learning that is focused on the provision of practical knowledge relevant in the contemporary society.

The idea that I challenge is the author’s encouragement of educators to opt for concept-based curricula. Erickson criticizes performance-based approach because of its focus on standardized testing and its results as indicators of academic success level. Specifically, the author notes that the abundant number of topics and subjects that can replicate one another, as well as the detailed theoretical coverage of the subjects studied in the US schools, cause the lack of students’ active learning. In turn, the knowledge that was obtained from textbooks and never applied in practice is basically useless because it lacks the connection to the concept.

However, from the practical point of view, switching to concept-based curricula and instruction would be likely to shorten the list of subjects studied in schools, eliminate some disciplines, and restructure schools by means of leaving many teachers without jobs. Additionally, this change would require education to become more interactive and diverse in terms of teaching techniques and methods, which, in turn, could create more pressure on learners and their families making education less affordable.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Concepts-Based Curriculum and Instruction." November 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/concepts-based-curriculum-and-instruction/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Concepts-Based Curriculum and Instruction'. 3 November.

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