Understanding Verbal Concepts

Success in school depends upon the firm mastery of a great number of concepts. Concepts are groupings of facts, attributes, steps in a process, or ideas that commonly go together. The development of concept formation serves as a kind of mental shorthand. Concepts allow the student to organize issues or ideas in a broad way, i.e. to generalize. Thus, a student can think about the idea of environmental conservation without having to consider separately water, forests, fossil fuels, etc.

As students go through school, they are expected to acquire an understanding of many types of concepts, including verbal concepts, those ideas which are most often thought about through language. The idea of democracy is an example of a verbal concept. Students with incomplete concept formation may reveal a lack of awareness of the critical features of a concept, an inability to link concepts to examples and examples, and a tendency not to trigger prior associations or place concepts in a meaningful context. This chart describes some important skills related to understanding verbal concepts.

Necessary SubSkillsCommon ObstaclesHelpful Tips
Student is able to develop his/her understanding of verbal concepts, and those concepts that depend on sequential thinking, such as cause and effect. Student has difficulty developing an understanding of verbal concepts, and/or of those concepts that depend on sequential thinking, such as cause and effect. view
Student has an adequate degree of verbal conceptual understanding, for example, is able to explain and apply verbal concepts and work through problems that involve verbal concepts. Student does not grasp concepts at an adequate level, for example, cannot explain or apply verbal concepts, cannot work through problems that involve verbal concepts, etc. view