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Concept-based Learning - An Efficient Method to Organize Learning Process

By Andrew Loh



con•cept (kŏn'sěpt') n.

1. A general idea derived or inferred from specific instances or occurrences.
2. Something formed in the mind; a thought or notion.

(http://dictionary.reference.com)

Our primary classrooms are traditional and conventional. In an academic world that relies on blackboard and memory recall techniques, young learners may simply fail to understand the basics of a learning topic thereby rendering the entire learning process into a “no learning inquiry (A scholar named Gordon coined this term when she was discussing about students and their learning approach). Learning in a classroom could be trivial and ordinary. In a conventional classroom, a child may never be able to understand the basic concept that drives a topic. In other words, today's syllabus relies on locating information given inside a textbook and learn it by memorizing eventually making the learning process into a sort of coughing up learned information by using memory. However, this method may not help children to learn the concepts which are the foundation stones that make the learning topic.

In the educational research field, academicians and scholars have been baffled by the idea of concepts as learning tools. The first basic question that might arise is how one can create and characterize an early thought. The second question is how it would change over time. However, the biggest concern is how children reason about concepts that are connected to their immediate lives, schools, family and syllabus that might include math, biology and other topics. A deep summary of past research has suggested four important key themes (Susan Gelman published a series of papers on the ideas of concepts of learning):

  1. Concepts are basic tools and they affect a child's ability to reason which could be both positive and negative.

  2. Children's ability to conceptualize early thoughts may not be essentially concrete and solid. Rather, they can easily reason about some form of concepts that are abstract, non-obvious and jumbled.

  3. Concepts developed by children are not necessarily uniform and consistent.

  4. Children keep learning and develop concepts in their minds. However, their developing brains do not allow them to be unbiased and accurate. In other words, their ability to learn concepts is dynamic and it keeps changing from time to time.

One can look at concepts in many different ways and forms. The world keeps changing along with its knowledge base. One should be able to view the world with an open and flexible mind. A concept based learning process is all about big and meaningful ideas that are transferable over the time, place and scenarios. Concepts help children focus on making the sense of facts, events and the world that exists around them. Concept based learning is not simply about learning it goes beyond learning that is just traditional and conventional. Concepts help children index and organize the entire learning process. It can connect different aspects of learning.

Advantages of concept based learning:

  • It teaches children about problem solving.

  • It enhances critical thinking skills.

  • It can help learn content that is disciplinary in nature.

  • It helps children transfer concept to create new problems and questions.

  • It can help children to learn self-directed comprehension skills.

  • It can help children raise awareness about learning.

Concepts provide children an opportunity to organize their life experiences. In absence of these ability children' life could be confusing with so many objects, properties, perceptions and events clogging their memory cells. However, learning through concepts will help young learners by categorize forms, shapes and sizes, hear speech sounds and organizes them, express their emotions and by understanding their concepts, identity different colors by learning their basics and detect processes that make learning a fruitful experience although it takes some years to make it efficient. Concepts also act as important tools to learn a range of cognitive skills, by mastering analogy making, creating inferences and extend knowledge that travels beyond what is already known to us and learn the basics of theory.

Concept based learning is rudimentary in children. It is a natural process that streamlines and firms up over the years. It is slow in some children while the process of creating concepts could be very quick in others. However, with active intervention by parents and teachers, the process of learning concepts could be quickened. Learning may become more efficient, productive and task oriented in children who use concept based techniques. In addition, when a child learns the basics of a topic, she or he would be changing the entire perceptive of learning eventually leading to better comprehension, cognition and systematic understanding of all learning topics. Continue to read Concept-based Learning - Useful Techniques to Boost Learning in Children.



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