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Concentric Approach- A Guide

If you are a teacher, you must be aware of the hassles that follow the process of curriculum design. As you have to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of every student, you need to pay attention to details when framing the curriculum outline. One of the methods of curriculum design that reap the maximum benefits for both teachers and students is the concentric approach. Also known as the spiral approach, this method organizes the curriculum by laying out basic concepts, covering other related material, and then circling back around the basic concept. It gives students details about the topics in discussion and also offers them an idea of the complexity and depth of the subject at the same time.

The concentric approach differs from traditional curriculum design, where topics are covered using a linear approach. To make learning easy for students, a topic is divided into multiple portions and then these subjects are divided among the students of different classes. The allotment of topics to various student groups depends on the difficulty of the portion and the comprehension power of students in a particular age group. This approach to curriculum design is based on the idea that the knowledge of today should draw inspiration from the knowledge of yesterday. Moreover, the concentric approach should pave the path to the education of tomorrow.

Roots of Concentric Curriculum

The concentric approach to designing a curriculum is based on the cognitive psychological theories of Jerome Burner. He divided the cognitive processes of human beings into three distinct phases: the enactive phase, the iconic phase, and the symbolic phase. Let us discuss these three phases in detail.

  • Enactive Phase

It is the first touchpoint between a learner and a concept. Here, the learner interacts with the concept or object.

  • Iconic Phase

This phase comes in second and helps a learner manipulate the images of the objects or processes.

  • Symbolic Phase

This phase utilizes the abstract representations of objects or concepts.

All these phases concentrate on leveraging the understanding of cognition into a deeper understanding of the subject at hand.

Advantages of the Concentric Approach

Before using this curriculum design, you should understand the benefits of using the concentric approach. Here are a few positives of using this approach.

  • Superior method

The concentric approach of curriculum design is superior to other approaches as it helps students grasp the topics over a few years. They do not need to rush through the concepts without understanding them wholeheartedly. As students get the time to build a strong base about a subject, they are more likely to perform academically well in exams and other assessments.

  • Adds value

Using the concentric approach in the classroom is better if you want to make your students understand the scientific concepts in detail. It provides a framework for science courses that add real value to the students' lives. They can understand a concept from scratch and then build up over the same in the subsequent years.

  • Provides an opportunity for revision

As students are already aware of the concepts, you can help them with the revision work. When the topics are covered in the previous class, you can help them revisit the same chapters while carrying out new work subsequently. It will help them brush up on the concepts as and when needed.

  • Focuses on the receptivity of learners

Every student learns differently. The concentric approach focuses on the individual learning curve of students and gives them enough time to imbibe the topics. Moreover, as the same topics are learned over years, the impressions are more long-lasting.

  • Focuses on a problem-solving approach

This approach allows students to use their intellect and mental abilities to learn concepts. Moreover, it keeps learning engaged as every year the topics can be molded in new ways. Every year, students are encouraged to solve new problems and think differently.

What is the difference between topical unit and concentric approaches of curriculum design?

In the concentric approach, the entire curriculum is spread across many years. At the beginning of the academic year, students are introduced to different topics, and the concepts are developed in successive years according to the receptivity or mental development of pupils.

The topical approach in curriculum follows a linear method of instruction and helps students cover a topic within an academic year. It does not consider the understanding levels of students when covering the topics. A specific topic is started at the beginning of the academic year and is finished at the end of the year.

Inculcating the concentric approach when planning a classroom curriculum can reshape the way students learn different concepts. It gives a new perspective to learning and differs from other methods of learning to a great extent. Therefore, you can include this approach in your classroom to maximize the benefits received by your students. In addition, to using these curriculum development methods, you can also use the school LMS system to make learning enjoyable for students.

Suggested Read: Role of ICT in Education

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