By Ritesh Rawal
The world around us is constantly evolving, calling for a change in the way we perceive it. The very first foundations of looking at the world are laid in our schools. Yes, the education that we are imparted prepares us for the future by enabling us to form a viewpoint by learning to interpret our surroundings. This is why it is very important to seed young children with the right kind of education in the early years itself. As educationists say, the traditional methods of education must be replaced with conceptual learning so as they learn something which they could retain for longer and easily identifiable from a young age.
What is concept-based learning?
Concept based learning is a new approach which reflects how the education system is evolving, encouraging students to ask questions and participate actively. As opposed to traditional methods of teaching, which just connect students with the source of information without paying much attention to the understanding of the concept and the ability of children to retain it.
Concept-based learning lays emphasis on helping children understand the core concept rather than just sharing a layer of important information of the concept. The end-motive is to help children to understand and retain what they are taught rather than made to mug up. It encourages students to study the context, introducing them to the “real world” meaning of the subject. Activities like Learn by Doing play a major role in making a child understand the underlying concept of any social or academic concept. Similarly, role playing also proves beneficial for students to connect the dots.
This teaching methodology develops inquisitiveness in children, promoting open communication between the teacher and students transforming them into lifelong learners. Concept-based learning helps in the holistic development of children keeping their social and emotional well-being in consideration. It empowers young children to form a community of learners that takes on global challenges through inquiry, action and reflection.
How does it make students future-ready?
One of the major concerns of parents and teachers is whether the children are able to grasp what they are being taught or if they are being taught properly or not. A majority of schools traditionally teach without laying any emphasis on concepts. Owing to this, students have to pay a huge amount in the higher classes since their concepts were not cleared when they should have been. Many students are taught science without their actual application. If they are made to understand why a chemical change takes place, would not it be better in helping them apply it in real life and retain it for a lifetime?
Concept-based learning and curriculum runs on the basis of “big ideas” instead of subject-specific content. By introducing kids to the context of a particular chapter or theory, you introduce them to the knowledge and skills that can be accrued from the content. Here’s how it helps kids:
Makes studies meaningful
A concept-based curriculum inspires students to conceptualise topics more expansively than a traditional curriculum, focusing on knowledge and skills.
Makes learning relevant
A concept-based curriculum takes care of the development of all the aspects of a person, helping them hone skills like leadership, teamwork, and creativity while boosting their emotional intelligence.
It is very difficult to make young kids sit and pay attention to what is being taught to them. Hence, it is crucial to make the curriculum interesting so that it has the power to engage students. This quality is evident in concept-based curriculums. Be it an English drama or science chapter, a concept-based curriculum makes everything interesting.
Makes learning easier for kids
As stated in the above pointers, concept-based learning makes concepts very easy for kids to understand and learn. They are no more required to mug up things and forget it once the exams or the session is over. In concept-based curriculum, teachers make students participate in lessons which helps students gain confidence, understand better and hence, retain longer.
To grow into successful adults, it is really important to be an inquisitive child. Being “exam smart” alone may not be able to fetch you a long-lasting successful career. It is crucial that logical skills, rationality, critical thinking is built in children right from school so as they are not developed only as good scorers, but as individuals with wide mental and emotional horizons.
(The writer is an education evangelist and founder, Ritesh Rawal Foundation.)