Curriculum Overload: Empowering Students as Community Scientists in the Search for Higher Concepts
Dr. Dustin Eirdosh
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Department of Comparative Cultural Psychology
Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena, Bienenhaus, Biology teacher education research group
Schools are often criticized for having curriculum requirements that are “a mile wide and an inch deep” - meaning that there is too much emphasis on the shallow learning of facts, without deeper learning about concepts that help us understand a wider diversity of our world. Schools can empower students and teachers to investigate and improve the deeper structures of the curriculum, through a search for higher concepts - core concepts that have relevance across traditional subject areas. In this applied seminar, we will outline the central systemic challenge facing schools around the world: curriculum overload. This problem sets the context for participatory solutions that empower students with metacognitive competencies through an interdisciplinary approach to school improvement. An educational design concept focused on human behavior and an integrated community science lab model offer a flexible toolkit for school innovators and change-makers.