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Concept-Based Teaching and Learning of Science

When teachers base their instruction on concepts, they can expect their students to learn more than just facts. During a concept-based unit of study, students are given many examples of concepts. Through these examples of concepts from the topic, students notice common elements. Discussion, guided by carefully planned and also spontaneous questions, helps students to inductively form generalisations. A generalisation is a statement that shows a relationship between two or more concepts.

Clearly, the formation of a generalisation by students requires student engagement and thought, and this is an important outcome that science teachers should strive for in their lessons. Furthermore, the students’ ability to generalise and arrive at concepts inductively using examples from a topic illustrates the students having achieved deeper understanding, which in turn allows for future learning. Instruction based on achieving conceptual clarification and generalisations is an effective way for students to genuinely understand topics, but more importantly, it is an effective way to teach students to think.

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