Concepts and Procedures
Why you should read this. About 2 minutes
There are two vital aspects involved in learning important things in life: concepts and procedures.
Boiling it down to the simplest terms, concepts are the what, why, and when, part of a skill. Procedures are the “how” to do it part.
Concepts and Procedures
Concepts contain what we know, or what we think we know, about a specific category of our knowledge. A concept includes our education, experiences, beliefs, opinions, likes, dislikes, and emotions. A concept may either require physical activity, be strictly a mental process, or a combination of both.
A concept must also empower us with the ability to imagine ourselves taking part in the process that is part of the term being defined.
Procedures are the “how to do it” parts of concepts that require further processing, such as reading, math, or physics. Or the procedures can instruct how to do physical skills to perform, like driving, dancing, or making love.
We are first taught basic information about the concept until we grasp how the concept may have an impact in our life.
Once we begin to understand the concept we are ready to start learning the procedures. The procedures are the part of our knowledge that empowers us to develop competence in apply the concept. Increasing our conceptual understanding increases procedural skills and enables us to realize more of the potential benefit in the concept.
After thirty years of working with all kinds of people, including supposed experts, it is amazing how few understand the skills we all use daily, and that almost no one has a clue about the concepts and procedures of the skills involved in the most important aspects of human life.
Math, Language, and Driving are skills. We are taught how they work and we practice them until we develop a degree of competence. After some time, our level of ability to use them becomes a subconscious habit and we perform the functions without even thinking about how they work.
It may not be nearly so obvious, but the following are also skills.
The difference between the first group of skills and this list of skills is simple. For Math, Language, and Driving, we are taught standardized rules and practice them under supervision until we meet a recognized level of competence. In the case of driving, we pass a driving test and obtain a license to operate a vehicle.
For the skills on the second list we make up our own rules. We watch and copy our parents, friends, family, teachers, preachers and television celebrities, examples in our EG, and use our conclusions about how we think they use these skills to create our own rules. We then practice the rules we made up until they become subconscious habits.
The incredible number of emotional and relationship problems that arise from our use of the skills we taught ourselves show us our own rules are frequently incorrect. There are rules, however, for the skills on the list that can empower us to attain the same quality results in as we do in Math, Language, and Driving.
Everything a child encounters is a learning experience, everything is a lesson. In the vast majority of lessons a child encounters, the concept is implied, and demonstrated, but never clearly stated or explained in the light of any evidence supporting the lesson. They are taught what to do, the procedures, but not the rationale underlying the action.
Our EG did not set out to set us up so we would suffer just as they have. They inherited the same lack of understanding of how a few vitally important life skills work from their EG. Neither they, nor we, can teach this vital part of any skill the correct way if we do not know it ourselves.
As young children, we do not reason, we watch, and we copy.
How we are living our lives is the education our children receive. The level of our life skills is the best they will be able to do. The only way they can have the life we want for them is for us to show them how. We must transform our lives, so we can be the model of the life we want for our child.
Even if a child is raised in a neutral and supportive environment, the child’s brain does not have the capacity to understand the concepts part of the skill in the same way it will when it changes from experiential, old brain, to verbal, modern brain.
This leaves a child no option other than to create the concepts, procedures, reasons, and responses themselves, and create them they do.
If we model the behaviors we want them to have, they will almost always turn out ok. Having said that, as their brain develops the capacity to “reason,” they need to taught higher level concepts and procedures, so their adult brains can understand and refine the processes they are already using.