Known as “concept attainment”, this week’s offering is also a social-emotional opportunity to reflect on the behavior that is now a media focus…civility.
In the words of Barrie Bennett and Carol Rolheiser in their book Beyond Monet: The Artful Science of Instructional Integration, everything one sees, touches, feels, and tastes is a concept. Concepts are the building blocks for communication…concept attainment is one approach that brings clarity to concepts – and clarity often enriches life. Concept Attainment is an inductive strategy developed by Jerome Bruner.
I’m going to make this look easy, but I highly recommend you read further. Beyond Monet is an excellent resource.
Here are the phases, followed by two examples – one for SEL, one for academic content:
1 – provide a focus statement and present the data set
2 – students share their thinking and hypotheses
3 – application and extension of the concept
Example #1 – Words of Appreciation (focus statement)
(data set)YES: NO: TESTERS:
thank nasty compliment helpful stupid don’t value hate stop like hurt enjoy
(Students share their thinking…and maybe add another word to each column, or write examples for each column [application and extension])
Example #2 – Good sentences for a ‘response to literature’
- The reader is given some
clues, like the name “Mr. Graves”, that there is something sinister about the
- One point the author makes
in this story is the danger of peer pressure.
- I wondered why the author
spent so much detail on people picking up rocks for a lottery, because the two
don’t seem to go together.
- I didn’t like the ending
because it led me to believe that Tessie was killed, but it was never
- This story makes you sad
cause someone dies.
- If you win, you get killed –
that’s messed up.
- I didn’t like how unfair it
- The point is you don’t want
to win the lottery.
- I like how you don’t know
what is going to happen.
- The ending was stupid.
- The author makes you feel
sad at the end because Tessie is killed for no reason.
- It was a weird story,
because it was so believable, until the end.
- The author used
foreshadowing and symbolism throughout the story.
- The black box gives you the
feeling that something bad is going to happen.
- I thought the story was
- I thought the story was
confusing because I had a hard time understanding the way people were talking
(Students share their thinking, and then edit one another’s rough drafts, looking for sentences that need correcting [no ‘you’] or those needing more detail or explanation.)
Bennett and Rolheiser, in their 52-page chapter on Concept Attainment, write: Remember: It will likely take 15-20 practices before you and your students own Concept Attainment and it doesn’t own you!
We’d love to hear what you do with this. Email us at email@example.com  and we’ll post on teachcommunity.com