Years and years ago I drinking coffee in the teachers lounge at EddyJunior High School in Columbus, Georgia when I heard a teacher say,
“I really don’t care if they memorize that stuff, but if just one or two of my students could get the concept.”
That statement somehow got stuck in my head—you know how that happens—and it stayed there for years.
So, for over forty years I have pondered the nature of the word “concept.” Concepts are very important and the nature of a concept is actually a concept in itself. Occasionally I would latch on to a concept which would open up a period of new and enthusiastic learning or performance (or both).
And then, over a period of time, the concept concept developed in my mind.
Eventually I was able to work out a metaphorical description of a concept.
I picture the first part of a concept as a bunch of little balls floating around in one’s peripheral vision.
The little balls blink on and off at random times. We can only see them when they are blinking on.
Sometimes, if we are quick, we can grab one of the little balls while it is “on”.
We hold the little ball gently and admire it. We know at this point that there is something inside the ball and we study it closely, figuring out how to open it.
Finally it opens and we see that the ball contains something:
Questions. It contains questions that we have never asked before.
And that, my friend, is a concept.
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4 thoughts on “What is a Concept?”
I’ve never thought of it like that before, but I think you’re probably right. Thanks, John!
Bob, you did an excellent job of posting your reply. I think you have the concept.
John, I am not sure that I am using the correct way to comment, but I want to say you have done a very good job of giving concept to “concept”