Language Pathways

Concept Development

Visual Organizers for Concept Development

Students are often required to understand and use a variety of language concepts throughout their everyday experiences.  It is essential that students have a clear understanding of concept meaning, so they can process information and respond appropriately within social interactions.   For example, if a student lacks true understanding of the concept “independent”, then it can be quite challenging for him to take action on the suggestion, “You need to be more independent in your work.”  Without an idea of what the concept “truly means” and how it applies to them, it can be difficult for students to self-evaluate their behavior, think critically, and plan their actions. The same holds true for concepts such as “motivation”, “self-control”, and “communication” (SR: 11, 12, 13, 19a, 19b).

The visual organizers in this section provide students with a predictable visual framework for building understanding of social reasoning concepts.  While completed examples are provided to introduce each concept, they can be easily modified to allow students to generate their own definitions and personally relevant examples.  This strategy helps students move beyond the stage of concept introduction and rote memorization to meaningful comprehension of targeted concepts.  It does so by providing opportunities to record definitions, examples, and characteristics to enhance knowledge of specific social reasoning concepts.  When students’ comprehension of concepts improves, they are more likely  to  generalize  that  knowledge  when  reasoning  about  their  social  experiences.