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25 March 2022 - Making Connections Through Learning

25 March 2022 - Making Connections Through Learning

Learning: It is all about making connections

Be it learning online or face-to-face (let us not mention Covid for a moment at the very least), learning is about making connections. Within the IEYC (International Early Years Curriculum) and the IPC (International Primary Curriculum), this notion has been key in the way the curriculum is designed and delivered. A process (aptly called the ‘Process of Learning’) is when every unit of learning follows a consistent sequence of steps; all activities are aimed at enabling students to make connections.

A new unit of learning always starts with the ‘Entry Point’ and the ‘Knowledge Harvest’. The ‘Entry Point’ needs to be an event that really captures the learner’s imagination. During the ‘Entry Point’, our children’s brains start to light up and wonder about the prospect of new learning and new experiences. They engage with the topics that connect to their past positive experiences and imagination. It is crucial that the activity and the topic of their next learning excite them and “pique their curiosity” - a keyframe in Quantum Learning’s description on how to prepare the learner.

Another key element of the process of learning which we find at the beginning of every unit is the ‘Knowledge Harvest’. This is the point where students get invited to think about what they already know and what they would like to find out during the unit. This process gives the teacher a very good idea of where to pitch the next weeks’ of learning, but more importantly, these questions help our children to connect to their previous learning experiences and reflect on what their next learning could be like.

Every unit then moves on to explaining the theme to the learners: ‘The Big Picture’. In this part, we talk about the subjects that we are covering in the unit, the kind of learning to expect and the activities that are planned to aid the learning. Here, the students make connections between the various subjects and deliberate how this all fits together.

I will talk about the steps called ‘Research and Record’ and ‘Exit Point’ at another time; these structures are also designed to help the students’ brains make meaningful links, connecting to previous learning and experiences.

So what about the brain making connections? To look at the relevance of this, I would like to highlight TIS's Puchong Primary’s Brain-based definition of learning:
Learning happens in the brain when neurons make new connections or when existing connections are being strengthened. We receive external information through our senses and upload it into our brain. We also retrieve prior data from our memory, organised in schemata. We merge various combinations and ultimately store new connections in the brain. For learning to occur we then must retain this information in our long term memory.There is a need to distinguish between different states of learning. When learning is happening, we call these states ‘New’ and ‘Consolidated’. When it isn’t, we refer to these states as ‘Treading Water’ and ‘Drowning’.

Learning takes place in the brain and it involves neurons connecting with neurons. That is why the ‘Process of Learning’ in IEYC and IPC is designed to get children to make as many connections as possible at every station throughout the process of learning in every unit.

In every classroom, you will find a display of this process of learning. We call that display ‘The Learning Journey’. This visual representation is very important for our children. We know that images really support the learning in the brain but having this overview tangible in the classroom allows our children to (sometimes literally by connecting pieces of string) make those connections physically. It enhances the learning even more when the children are involved in actually creating this ‘Learning Journey’. It is their trip after all!
 
So there we have it, learning is all about making connections and the way the IPC and the IEYC have been set up should guarantee many connections to be made in every unit of learning!


Mr. Marco Damhuis (Head of Primary)
Email Contact : marco.damhuis@pc.tis.edu.my

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Taylor's International School Puchong
201101010017 (938156-A)
No.1 Jln BP 14/7, Bandar Bukit Puchong 2,
47120 Puchong, Selangor Darul Ehsan
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