A system of learning ahead with a review process should be developed for students to recall and preserve a conceptual understanding of subjects.
Conceptual learning is a form of critical thinking in which individuals acquire the ability to categorize and organise data by creating logic-based structures. Acquiring basic concepts help students perform mental operations which constitute the goals of cognitive development. In general, conceptual learning is largely dependent on conceptual teaching. All students learn concepts at different rates and teachers should ensure that their students have a full grasp of the subject matter. Basic concepts are building blocks to education. They ultimately assist students to make new connections, construct understanding and generate their new ideas.
What students learn is eventually getting forgotten at some point or it gets buried so deep that it doesn’t come up easily in the right context. It is the ‘mug it up, suck it up’ formula that works for scoring marks. Students don’t focus to learn the basic concepts. According to a study by Aspiring Minds, 30% of engineer graduates in India can’t solve simple mathematical problems. They have a weak understanding of concepts as elementary as decimals, powers, operations, ratio, fractions, and the ability to apply these concepts to real-world problems.
Regular review of knowledge is necessary for student life. Obviously, maintaining all the knowledge through review is unnecessary and time-consuming. However, going back and selecting specific concepts and skills is essential for students to construct understanding and generate their new ideas. There is a need to develop a system for learning ahead with reviewing back to recall and preserve the knowledge.
A special class of conceptual learning, for all students of the same class should be conducted every day in each school, after/within school hours (preferably last lecture of school hours). These lectures should cover basic topics from every subject of all previous classes. For example: In the conceptual learning lectures of 9th standard, basic concepts of every subject of all previous standards (1st standard to 8th standard) will be covered.
If the total/on roll students are less in number, then school management should conduct a common conceptual lecture for all divisions of the same standard. Each day, a new topic can be taken up for teaching. Students should be regularly informed of the weekly schedule of the lectures through prior notification.
There shouldn’t be a compulsion to attend all the conceptual learning classes. One will be able to attend the lectures with topics they struggle with. For example: If a student has a good understanding of arithmetic progression, then they will be able to skip the lecture on this topic. Students should also be able to suggest topics for conceptual lectures through subject-wise suggestion drop boxes placed in the school. These suggestions can be reviewed by the school management committee and the topics for the coming weeks’ lectures decided accordingly.
Students should also be provided with a textbook covering all basic conceptual topics from every subject of all previous standards. Exam paper of subject of conceptual learning will be conducted along with the examination of regular subjects. The syllabus should include all the basic conceptual topics from every subject of all the previous standards. This model of education would best work in secondary and higher secondary (6th standard to 12th standard) school education.