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What is Concept-Based Education?

By Andrew Loh


Children often find it very difficult to encounter or face certain concepts that are not really applicable to their lives. Learning concepts that are not in resonance with your child's psyche could be a daunting task. Neither child-centered learning nor hands-on learning may ever provide good results while undergoing daily learning process. In fact, knowing a concept is being able to learn and understand the basic aspects and later applying it to real life situations; children are known to perform better in their classes when they can tie a number of concepts to their real life experiences.

When it comes to learning, children can encounter a number of different concepts in their life. Concept based education or Concept based instruction is a novel means of organizing various units of study to help children gel and integrate new type of information in such a manner that children are able to see and identify a number of patterns, situations or even connections between facts and concepts or ideas. In essence, with concept based learning, your child will learn to ask a significant question to oneself - Why should I learn this?

When you train your child to learn by using this method, he or she can:

  • Know, learn, understand and master rather than just memorize and learn things by heart.

  • Learn to recognize and identify the importance of certain things and later tie them up to match and relate to real life situations.

  • Learn to remember and master ideas and facts longer by understanding that they are really meaningful.

  • Learn to create connections between various subjects like Math, Arts, Science, Social Studies and Languages.

  • Learn, understand and apply a number of ideas to match their own life.

  • Establish an efficient method to deal effectively with knowledge and skills that may become available in the future.

Concept based learning is all about learning by using very big ideas and suggestions.

What are big ideas in front of your child?

In essence, many of the gifted and bright children are actually global or universal thinkers. These children always want to see and understand the big picture before tackling the minute details. Such children have the uncanny knack of setting up connections between people, ideas, suggestions and prevailing ambiences. These children also have the ability to transfer available skills, knowledge and ideas to a number of different settings.

Examples:

1. Relate color patterns with that of birds, butterflies and flowers and later use a definite pattern to solve some intricate problems
2. Remember a particular sequence of events to establish a connection with remembering some numbers or alphabets.

Concept based learning helps your child to become big thinkers and problem solvers. This technique will also help your child to escape the monotony of learning things by sheer memory. With this wonderful technique, your child can also understand and solve a number of complex problems by using the power of common sense.

Different types of concepts

Different concepts can have different characteristics like:

Abstract concept: These concepts help you child to think at very high levels. When your child understands the basics of abstract concepts, he or she can understand the concept in a better manner. Your child can dissect and process his or her ambience or world with a sense of purpose.

Example: Your child knows that almost leaves in a plant or tree are green. In fact, every child in this world knows that most of the leaves are green in color. This is perhaps the most ordinary level of thinking. On the flipside, when your child understands why leaves are green and what factors make it green in color, then he or she can relate these bits of information to create a stream of thoughts and ideas that help to solve a number of other problems.

Timeless Concepts: Basic concepts need to remain the same through the realms of time. Many a time, concepts can change over time making it very difficult for your child to relate them to real-life situations.

Example: Your child can easily understand that something can exist, even when it's out of his or her sight. This new and fresh knowledge will cajole your baby to search actively for an object that you may have partially hidden somewhere in the room. It will also urge your child to just drop objects by the crib or table and watch as you retrieve them with your own hands. After seeing this, your child will be learning that the missed object actually exists even after it's has gone out of his or her sight.

Universal Concepts: There are a number of truths that are easy to apply across a number of realms and domains. When you child understands this basic concept, he or she can derive and draw a number of connections and apply them to different areas of their life.

Examples: When you small child watches a wildlife show on TV, she or he can relate the visuals to a number of things. For example, when your child sees a polar bear roaming around snow capped landmass, it triggers a connection in the brain that instantly derives a connection that bears live in the wild, among snows and in bitter cold. She or he will also connect the bear to the big environment that exists outside.

Your child comes across a number of concepts, ideas and thinking processes that help him or her to learn and understand a number of principles and lessons that will help in future to lead a life of success.



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