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Weekly Tribes – Concept Attainment

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’

(data set)

YES

NO

TESTERS

(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 tribes@tribes.com [1] and we’ll post on teachcommunity.com