Transfer Questions: Supporting the link between Concepts and the Global Context

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This Blog was kindly permitted by the author, Adrian von Wrede-Jervis. The original can be found here: Repurposed Learning

In my last post I suggested that if we made more explicit links from the conceptual understandings in a unit’s Statement of Inquiry to issues raised by six Transfer Questions (6TQs) that this would improve transfer. The very act of comparing our disciplinary insights to other alternative insights gathered from other units in other subjects (and their SOIs) would cement thus transfer and build interdisciplinary understanding. All this, I argue would lead to more sophisticated use of concepts (a programme requirement) without need for major rewrites. Specifically, if our Statement of Inquiry is correctly written (by including a transferrable conceptual understanding) then there should be no need to change them. Below is a presentation on this approach:

What I want to point out is that this approach supports addition insights that students are hopefully gaining from exploring the global context. When we formulate our SOIs we need to connect our conceptual understandings to a specific exploration from one of the global contexts (Note: IB has brought out a stunning range of explainer videos about this). To understand how these questions can give a wider conceptual foundation to the explorations encountered in the global context I created things I called global context questions.

Global Context Questions (GCQs)

If you take a look at the global contexts, they break down into a neat list of possible explorations. What I did was to convert these explorations into questions that they are addressing. For example:

I then cross referenced whether these Global Context Questions fit with the 6 Transfer Questions. What I discovered is that each global context question acts as kind if follow-on questions to the TQs. Here’s the complete list:

A1 What do we understand about ourselves (personally and as a humanity)?

PCE2. Does creative expression help us extend on and reflect deeper on our own understandings?

OS1. What can we learn from our personal histories?

IR1. Can we identify the beliefs and values that describe what it means to be human?

IR2. What constitutes the personal ‘me’ – physically, mentally, socially and spiritually?

A2 Do our models, metaphors and theories explain what we observe?

STI1. What understandings about the natural world and its laws have humans developed?

OS3. How are we connected to local and global influences and what effect does this have on our perspectives?

A3 Do we grasp the workings of complex interrelated systems?

IR3. What are the similarities and differences in the various forms of relationship that we are part of?

GS1. What systems have humans developed that connect local and global processes?

FD1. What are the factors that affect the relationships between communities?

GS3. What are the opportunities and tensions provided by world-interconnectedness?

B1 What motivates us to seek change?

IR4. What rights and responsibilities do we have towards our own, and other, communities and cultures?

GS2. How do local priorities influence global trends?

FD2. Do all communities share equal opportunities and power over finite resources?

FD3. To what should we all enjoy equal access to resources?

B2 How does change unfold?

PCE1. Can we express our ideas, feelings, beliefs and values through creative expression?

PCE3. What is the the role of aesthetics in expression?

STI3. How have humans used their understanding of scientific principles to adapt their environments to their needs?

B3 Do we know / consider all the impacts of the changes we make?

STI2. What impact has human advancement had on communities and environments?

OS2. What were the significant turning points in human history and what impact did they have?

GS4. How can decisions in one part of a system impact on humankind and the environment?

FD4. How do we resolve the conflicts that arise from this unequal division of finite resources?


FD =. Fairness and development – What are the consequences of our common humanity?

OS = Orientation in space and time – What is the meaning of “where” and “when”?

PCE = Personal and cultural expression – What is the nature and purpose of creative expression?

STI = Scientific and technical innovation – How do we understand the world in which we live?

IR = Identities and relationships – Who am I? Who are we?

GS = Globalization and sustainability – How is everything connected?

This list needs some scrutiny but the conclusion I came to is that not only do the transfer questions support transfer of concepts but they are elucidated by the global context driven explorations. This is great news for MYP Schools as it further embeds the interconnectivity between concepts and global contexts.

Thoughts anyone? Does this show that Transfer Questions strengthen the links between the global context and the conceptual understanding, and thereby support (not just transfer) the Statement of Inquiry?

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