Learning Through Conceptual Understanding
Connection is the key to making learning meaningful. Diving deeper into learning by focusing on concepts, as well as facts and skills, allows for higher order thinking. Personal connections are discovered and highly relevant interdisciplinary learning occurs.
Conceptual understanding allows students to:
- Process factual knowledge at a deeper intellectual level, engaging the intellect on two levels – factual and conceptual – providing greater retention
- Relate new knowledge to prior knowledge and promote cultural and environmental understanding across global contexts which creates personal relevance
- Bring their personal interests to the study which increases motivation for learning
- Achieve higher levels of critical, creative, and conceptual thinking as students analyze complex global challenges and create greater subject depth through the study of discipline-specific concepts
According to Elaine Johnson, author of Contextual Teaching and Learning, “The heart of contextual teaching and learning is the connection that leads to meaning. When young people can connect the content of an academic subject…with their own experience, they discover meaning, and meaning gives them a reason for learning. Connecting learning to one’s life makes studies come alive.”