Highly abstract concepts, such as jurisprudence and sovereignty, oftentimes cause high school students much struggle when trying to thoroughly understand such conceptual ideas. To teach these theoretical concepts, one must not only equivalently utilize David Ausubel’s Expository teaching model, but also retain an overall knowledge of other valuable strategies related to Ausubels’s model (Woolfolk, 2004, p. 281). To Ausubel, the most significant idea is that of the advance organizer, a statement of introduction that aids students in organizing the information about to be presented. Also to a teacher’s benefit are the ideas needed to form a concept, such as exemplars, defining features, irrelevant features, non-examples, and prototypes. Introducing the advance organizer, presenting ideas in terms of specific examples, and linking the content back to the advance organizer is Ausubel’s model for expository teaching (Woolfolk, 2004, p. 283).
Ausubel’s expository teaching primarily focuses on teaching general ideas to comprehend one specific concept, otherwise known as deductive reasoning. His approach always begins with an advance organizer (Woolfolk, 2004, p. 282). This statement aids in priming the students for the context and idea about to be described. It will help in developing schemas, or organizing information, and helps direct all attention to the key ideas coming from the material being presented.
The first of the two types of organizer is the expository organizer, which primarily focuses the introduction of new material. The second is the comparative organizer, which compares old and new information resulting in students accessing schemas already in their working memory, otherwise know as the “temporary storage of information that is being processed in a range of cognitive tasks” (Woolfolk, 2004, p. 242). An expository lesson must always elaborate on the advance organizer. Connecting the information back to the organizer should also be utilized in completing the lesson. Identifying qualities such as defining features (required features), exemplars (actual instances), irrelevant features (often present but not relevant), and non-examples will all assist in creating a prototype, or an ideal example, to aid in grasping the concept. The goal is the ability to take the concept and relate it back to th...
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...and trees to compare by non-examples. My instructor concluded his lesson by highlighting his organizer and repeating the idea that abstract ideas were all symbols of something. Abstractions are not an actual object itself, as opposed to concrete ideas that are material and solid.
The expository method can be ideal for teaching abstract concepts such as jurisprudence and sovereignty to high school students within a limited amount of time. Through first naming the concept and giving the definition, as well as applying tools such as the advance organizer, a teacher will gain the students attention and allow them to organize their ideas in order to make connections. When teaching a concept, it is best to keep in mind that students will respond most when a concept is taught in a way that is useful and efficient versus being taught in a manner geared only towards answering exam questions. By extending and connecting the concepts in these significant ways, students will be able to focus on the meaning and not on memorization.
Woolfolk, A. (2004). Educational Psychology (9th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
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