BCW teamAgency, Inquiry, learning, Visible Learning

ABC of Inquiry Concepts


ABC OF INQUIRY – CONCEPTS “You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it.”Jiddu Krishnamurti, philosopher. Concepts allow us to glimpse ideas that travel across time, space and place. 

CONCEPTS: Once upon time, in a place…

Concepts are big ideas that go beyond the specificof a particular time, place or topic. The ideas are abstract and cross topics, subjects and facts. Thinking conceptually enables people  to see how the ideas, facts, experiences, skills and perspectives they holdare transferrable and useable in whole range of new places, situations and times.
Schools were formed on the concept of production, ideas that were transferred from factory floors and other places of manufacture.  As timeand the world  continues to changelearning needs to be viewed through the concept of adaptability rather than production.
At a more day to day level we can see the power conceptual based learning can have. Traditionally  letters and numbers were taught as subject specific based skills and ideas. But if we viewed letters and numbers as systems for sharing ideas, then students can connect them to previous mark marking, communication or organising ideas they have had in their life. Numbers and letters are a series of marks that convey specific information. This is true of any pictograph, letter, number or symbol across the world. Viewing them through the lens of form” allows learners to not only learn the specific time and place facts about how to create a letter and what sound it makes, but they also begin to experience and understand that all languages use different forms of marks to represent ideas. This opens the door to them appreciating that all people are meaning makers who use marks to express ideas.
If we look at numbers and letters through the lens of systems”, we can see that the marks we use for specific purposes are organised to represent values, to create common and shared languages that many people can comprehend and use to problem solve and problem pose. Learning becomes richer, more transferable and enables the learners to become more adaptable across many places, times and situations. By exploring letters and numbers through the lens of systems we are setting the foundations for younger learners learning their alphabet  to communicate their ideas or how to count to become algebraic thinkers. Learners will come to understand that algebra is just a system of marks used to represent unknown values, or a system that helps us solve problems using letters and numbers to represent different values. Learners will have the opportunity to see that common marks have shared meanings that can be used to express or receive messages. 
Concepts take learning from a two dimensional level of knowledge and facts, to a three dimensional experience that leads to knowledge, skill development and understanding that is transferrable to real world situations across subjects, time and place.

BCW will now use ‘They — themself’ as a singular, gender-neutral pronoun in all subsequent material generated on our website.

All Rights Reserved © 2018 Beconwiz All ideas and illustrations are the property of BeConWiz.

BeConWiz Ideas and Thoughts by Carla Holmes, Mary-Denese Holmes, Pearl Holmes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at