What is a concept?
Concepts are categories into which experiences are organized and the larger network of intellectual relationships brought about through categorization. It requires some level of critical thinking in order to make associations between words and ideas.
How to go about building concepts?
Recently during my IX class geography period I came across one response form a student. I asked the class to name two island groups of India. Many hand went up but I choose to be selective and asked the answer from the one who was sitting in the last.
He replied Goa!
Then only I took up the concept of Island for remaining 20 to 25 minutes.
I generated pairs of examples and non-examples that exhibit some of the major defining characteristics or attributes of Islands.
For example. I displayed following examples and non-examples on the blackboard.
Examples: Lakshadweep, Andaman Nicobar, Srilanka, Mauritius, Maldives and Havaii
Non-examples: Hyderabad, Delhi, Goa, China, Amritsar and Agra.
I told each student to locate the places given under examples and non-examples in their atlas.
As the students started thinking about each example and non-example I asked them to define what it is that makes the two lists different.
I allowed students to provide additional examples and non-examples for bringing in more celerity in defining characteristics.
Then I asked students to revise their list of characteristics of the concept. Students observed that “Island is a land mass, it is covered with water on all sides, the water body could be sea or fresh water”.
At the end I asked students to write a description of the concept that includes all the key or defining characteristics.
The same student who gave Goa the answer wrote “Island is a landmass surrounded by water on all sides. The water body could be sea or fresh water.”
This is one way of building the concept in the minds of the students.
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