WHAT IS CONCEPT LEARNING? The process of constructing knowledge and organizing information into comprehensive and complex cognitive structures MORE than just classifying objects and forming Categories MORE than just learning new labels or vocabulary to apply
CONCEPT LEARNING Helps the learner: Understand specific concepts Understand the nature of concepts Utilize logical reasoning and higher level thinking Improve Communication Specific Concepts Nature of Concepts Concept Teaching Logical Reasoning and Communication Higher Level Thinking
NATURE OF CONCEPTS What is a concept? Mental abstractions/categories for things in the physical world Involves putting something into a class, then recognizing other members of that class Ex: A student has a pet dog named Max. The concept would be “Dog”, and the student would use existing knowledge of Max to recognize and categorize other “Dogs”
TYPES OF CONCEPTS: CONJUNCTIVE CONCEPT A conjunctive concept is a concept with a constant rule structure. Triangle – A plane figure with three straight sides and three angles. Bird – Warm-blooded animal with wings and feathers.
TYPES OF CONCEPTS: DISJUNCTIVE CONCEPT A disjunctive concept is a concept that contains an alternate set of attributes. Noun – A person, place, or thing; however cannot be all three at once. Strike (Baseball) – Occurs when a batter swings and misses, hits the ball into foul territory, or the batter does not swing and the Umpire decides that it passed through a designated zone; cannot be all three at once.
TYPES OF CONCEPTS: RELATIONAL CONCEPT A relational concept is a concept whose rule structure depends upon relationships. To understand relational concepts, one must understand the “other” and the relationship between them. Time and Distance – Relative to beginning and end points Aunt- describes a relationship between siblings and offspring
NATURE OF CONCEPTS: EXAMPLES/NON -EXAMPLES Concepts are learned through use of Examples and Non-Examples. MAMMALS Examples: Non-Examples Dog Snake Cat Ant Squirrel Jellyfish Cow Tree
NATURE OF CONCEPTS: CRITICAL/NON-CRITICAL ATTRIBUTES Critical Attributes are features of a concept that distinguish it from all other objects. Non-Critical Attributes are features found on some, but not all, members of a category. Attributes of Birds Critical Non-Critical Feathers Feather Color Warm-Blooded Ability to Fly Feet Webbed Feet
THEORISTS: JEAN PIAGET Stages of Cognitive Development Sensorimotor (0-2 yrs.): Begin to recognize objects Preoperational (2-7 yrs.): Develop language; able to think symbolically; see others’ Point of View Concrete Operational (7-11 yrs.): Able to solve concrete problems logically; able to classify Formal Operational (11-15+): Able to solve abstract problems logically
THEORISTS: JEAN PIAGET Believed people adapt to their environment through assimilation and accommodation. Assimilation- Trying to understand new information by adapting it to what is already known (pre-existing schemata). Accommodation- If new data does not fit into pre- existing schemata, development of new schemata for the new data.
THEORISTS: JEROME BRUNER Three distinct modes of learning: Enactive Mode – Learning by doing Iconic Mode – Learning by forming mental images Symbolic Mode – Learning through a series of abstract symbols or representations As children develop, less emphasis is placed on doing and more is placed on the abstract
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: SELECTING CONCEPTS Curriculum is the primary source for new concepts Concept lessons should be taught if materials contain: Unfamiliar terms Unknown steps New “Rules” INCLUDE NEW VOCABULARY WORDS
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: TWO DIFFERENT APPROACHES Direct Presentation Rule-to-Example – Concept is named, defined, then examples/non-examples given Focus is on labeling and defining the concept Concept Attainment Example-to-Rule – Begin with examples/non-examples, students discover concept through inductive reasoning Labeling and defining come at the end Higher level thinking; more useful with older students
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: DEFINE THE CONCEPT Identify the concept’s name List critical and non-critical attributes Write a concise definition Ex: Concept = Dinosaur. Critical Attributes: Reptile, lived 65+ million years ago, extinct Non-Critical Attributes: Carnivore, Bi-pedal, Huge Dinosaurs are reptiles that lived over 65 million years ago and have gone extinct.
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: ANALYZE THE CONCEPT Formulate Examples and Non-Examples Examples serve as connectors between the concept’s abstraction and the learner’s prior knowledge Examples should be as concrete and meaningful as possible The isolation of attributes is critical Use Charts, Diagrams, Webs, Visuals, etc. Sequence Examples/Non-Examples Display typical examples before atypical ones Critical examples are the most immediate neighbors, non-critical examples are as different as possible.
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: SOCIAL CONTEXT Critical attributes of conjunctive concepts are fixed across social contexts. Some disjunctive or relational concepts change among social contexts Poverty – Different cultural definition or delineation Aunt – Strict blood relative vs. any adult involved in raising a child North/South – Different attributes per location
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: SOCIAL CONTEXT Labeling of concepts is also influenced by context Concept remains the same, but labeling is different American vs. British Labeling: Trunk vs. Boot Flashlight vs. Torch Elevator vs. Lift Sorcerer’s Stone vs. Philosopher’s Stone
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: CREATE A GRAPHIC ORGANIZER Graphic Organizers highlight critical attributes and make concepts more concrete 4 steps for creating a web: 1. Create core (focus) of web: Name of the Concept 2. Strands branch out from the core: Critical Attributes 3. Strand Supports: connect Critical Attributes to Concept 4. Identify strand ties: show relationship among attributes Analogies are also VERY helpful, as they help to incorporate prior knowledge.
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: GRAPHIC ORGANIZER (PAGE 336) Encloses the Figure Three Closed, Equal Simple, Sides Plane Figure Equilateral Triangle If equal Shapes the sides, then Figure equal angles Three Equal Angles
PLANNING FOR CONCEPT TEACHING: PLAN TIME AND SPACE Most Concept Teaching lessons use Row and Column seating during instruction The time required for student understanding may vary depending upon the age of the learners Typically, the biggest problem with this step is that the teacher does not afford enough time for understanding to occur.
IMPLEMENTING CONCEPT LESSONS: CLARIFY AIMS AND ESTABLISH SET Clearly communicate the aims of the lesson and how it will proceed You may go over the steps of the lesson and why the concept is important to learn
IMPLEMENTING CONCEPT LESSONS: INPUT EXAMPLES AND NON-EXAMPLES Two types of presentation: Direct Presentation 1. Name the concept and provide definition 2. Identify critical attributes and give examples/non-examples 3. Test for understanding by having students provide examples/non-examples that fit
IMPLEMENTING CONCEPT LESSONS: INPUT EXAMPLES AND NON-EXAMPLES Two types of presentation: Concept Attainment (students must have some prior knowledge of concept) 1. Give examples labeled “Yes” & non-examples labeled “No” 2. Have students hypothesize about attributes and record ideas 3. Have students name the concept and describe process used in identification 4. Check for understanding by having students identify examples as “Yes” or “No” and have them explain why 5. Teacher only gives concept definition AFTER students have engaged in the discovery of critical attributes. Teacher’s Roles: 1. Record Student hypotheses and critical attributes identified 2. Cue students 3. Provide additional data if needed
IMPLEMENTING CONCEPT LESSONS: TEST FOR ATTAINMENT Provide additional examples/non-examples to test students’ understanding of the concept Students are asked to provide their own examples/non-examples
IMPLEMENTING CONCEPT LESSONS: ANALYZE STUDENT THINKING/LEARNING Get the students to think about their own thinking process Ask students to examine their decisions and the consequences of their choices Help students integrate new learning by relating the concept to other concepts in the unit of study
IMPLEMENTING CONCEPT LESSONS: ASSESSMENT Ideas and strategies used in defining/analyzing concepts can be used to evaluate understanding Have student do more than define concept with words Ask the student to use the concept in new situations Can use traditional selected-response items to test knowledge and concept development Test items should include examples to measure ability to discriminate between examples/non-examples Employ different test formats, such as True/False, Multiple Choice, Matching, Short Answer, or Short Essay