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What are key concepts?

At the heart of every subject are certain concepts or big ideas. These are the ideas and understandings that the teacher hopes will remain with students long after they have left school and much of the detail of their learning has been forgotten. Key concepts sit above context but find their way into every context.

Students need time and opportunity to explore these concepts, to appreciate the breadth, depth, and subtlety of meaning that attaches to them, to learn that different people view them from different perspectives, and to understand that meaning is not static. By approaching these concepts in different ways and by revisiting them in different contexts within a relatively short time span, students come to refine and embed understandings.

For further information, see Approaches to Building Conceptual Understandings at Social Sciences Online.

Last updated February 23, 2012