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At Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School (Secondary), the Aesthetics Department adopts Kolb's learning styles model and experiential learning theory as the basis of its curriculum framework. There are four stages in Kolb’s learning cycle whereby experience is translated through reflection into concepts, which in turn are used as a guide for active experimentation and the choice of new experiences. In the first stage, Concrete Experience (CE), the learner actively experiences an activity such as practical lessons. The second stage, Reflective Observation (RO), the learner consciously reflects on that experience. In the third stage, Abstract Conceptualization (AC), the learner attempts to conceptualize a theory or model of what is observed. In the fourth stage, Active Experimentation (AE), the learner tries to plan how to test a model or theory or plan for a forthcoming experience.

Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory
Diagram 1: Kolb’s Experiential Learning Theory

The type of thinking required by students to be successful in the 21st century extends beyond rote memorization of facts to higher order critical thinking. The Aesthetics Department will be gradually moving into concept-based curriculum framework to promote deeper understanding and deeper learning. In a concept-based approach, learning starts with the big ideas that we want pupils to understand. Looking at a topic through a concept gives the study a focus. When our teachers base their instruction on concepts, they can expect their students to learn more than just facts.

In addition, we endeavor ourselves to deliver a rigorous Aesthetics curriculum so as to involve pupils in higher order thinking, deep knowledge/complex understandings, substantive conversations and making connections beyond the classroom. We also want to provide pupils with meaningful opportunities to connect their interests and ideas in the delivery and assessment of units. Instructional connections are provided to real world examples and helps pupils’ bridge prior knowledge.