Exploring Big Ideas-based Holistic Unit Teaching Design from the Perspective of Ausubel’s Subsumption Theory


  • Na Wang




BIHUTD, Meaningful Learning, Mechanism and Practice Strategies of BIHUTD, Subsumption Theory, Systematic Forgetting


Big Ideas-based and Thematic Meaning-focused Holistic Unit Teaching Design (BIHUTD) is playing a significant role in cultivating students’ English core competences. In a Big Ideas-based Holistic Unit Teaching process, the inquiry of thematic meaning of a unit is literally the construction of big ideas. This thematic meaning is then closely connected with other sub-themes of each text by leading those subordinate discourses. The prominent role of this concept of association is in concordance with the relatability between new knowledge and cognitive structure in Ausubel’s Subsumption Theory. From the perspective of Meaningful Learning and Systematic Forgetting (Ausubel, 1968), more profound insights can be obtained regarding the underlying mechanism and practice strategies of BIHUTD. Through BIHUTD, meaningful learning can be achieved by building substantive association between thematic meaning and sub-themes of texts; long-term memory can be achieved by providing various meaningful texts and contexts related to both sub-themes and big theme; cognitive pruning can be achieved by incorporating specific and fragmented items and sub-themes in each text into the generalized thematic meaning of a whole unit. In BIHUTD, teachers can manufacture meaningfulness by setting objectives, organizing content and arranging activities based on the big theme, promote optimal pruning procedures by supplementing and integrating textbook discourses with different perspectives to construct thematic meaning, and facilitate communicative competence by providing production activities to deepen thematic meaning.


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How to Cite

Wang, N. (2024). Exploring Big Ideas-based Holistic Unit Teaching Design from the Perspective of Ausubel’s Subsumption Theory. Journal of Education and Educational Research, 9(2), 306-309. https://doi.org/10.54097/5ke0zx98

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