In preparation for launching the unit for eAssessment 2017, a few colleagues and I engaged in dialogue on why the Global Context (GC) is provided. A few wondered, why not the Key Concept (KC) if we are working in a conceptual framework.
I like an analogy that I share in workshops or when discussing the structure of the conceptual framework in language acquisition: if the KC are soccer teams, and the Related Concepts (RC) are the skills each team possesses; the GC is the stadium in which they’d be playing. Altogether, they make a match; they are they generate sources of excitement; and they cause people to undergo a series of processes and emotions before, during, and after the match.
The powerful part of the Global Context is the fact that it defines the conditions in which the game will be played: maybe it’s in a cold city, or in a place with monsoonal weather; hence the player will need to adapt to it. The choice of RC, hence, will depend on what the coach want his team to accomplish.
This means that the Statement of Inquiry (SoI) will be the idea that people will remember from this game: one single idea that captures who played in the game; against whom the team played; the emotions generated, the exceptional use of skills; the learning from mistakes; and the resilience experimented. The SoI, therefore, is not just a headline; it is a ‘living and thinking’ body.
In a previous post that I called The Nutritional Value of the SoI, I shared a couple of tools that have helped me exploit the SoI in a unit. Thus, in this occasion, I would like to share a few thoughts on the impact a GC can have on the way one decides to explore a SoI. Hence, I will describe the role of inquiry questions to generate tasks and to help unpack the SoI, while directly addressing aspects of the GC.
Unit title: Appearances
GC: Identities and relationships.
SoI: Appearances communicate aspects of the way we express our identity, and their impact vary in different contexts.
Inquiry questions are contained in the essence of the statement of inquiry. Inquiry questions are tools that will help us map the pathways of the learning experience and, if devised effectively, one should be able to see the elements of the statement of inquiry in them.
Identifying which elements of the statement of inquiry are included in the inquiry questions will allow us to see the extent to which we are unpacking its meaning and the degree to which we will be ready to discuss, debate, evaluate and transform the ideas in the SoI.
Below is an example 3-tier approach in which inquiry questions are used to map the learning pathways, by dividing a unit in 3 sections.
Approaches to teaching and Learning
The table below shows tasks that are relevant to generate learning scenarios that address each question of inquiry. Once the pathways is mapped, resources and learning experiences can be curated in a way that they allow learners to access past information and use it along with any new understandings that are developed. Likewise, since sessions are framed in a question format, this could provide students with a hint to personalize information and use all ideas shared in any product/outcome that they are required to produce.
Last but not least, the table below is the unit’s understanding checker that students are given in order to see the extent to which they can identify the key elements of the SoI. By doing this, we are enabling students to appreciate how learning occurred in the GC chosen. This simple exercise can serve as a tool for them to employ when they have to choose the GC for their personal project.