ERIC Number: ED237493
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Teaching for Conceptual Change: Some Ways of Going Wrong. Final Report.
Smith, Edward L.
Research has established that students generally possess conceptions relevant to curricular topics before they begin to study them and that these preconceptions often persist despite instruction on scientific theories which contradict them. Discrepancies between students' post instruction conceptions and the scientific theories as taught often represent important failures of instruction. The existence and persistence of students' preconceptions implies that learning involves not only the acquisition or formation of new concepts, but also modification of existing concepts or their replacement with appropriate alternatives, i.e., conceptual change. Reported are study results that analyzed changes in fifth-grade students' conceptions that did (and did not) occur as they experienced instruction designed to change their conceptions of how green plants get their food. It is noted that the instruction was based on chapters 3-6 of the Rand McNally SCIIS "Communities" unit. The strategy for the instruction sequence of the "Communities" unit is outlined in detail and a discussion of four ways (empirical ambiguity; ambiguity in discourse; attacking the wrong preconception; and loose framing of important issues) in which teaching for conceptual change can go wrong is presented. Implications for analysis and interpretation of empirical studies of conceptual change are also discussed. (JMK)
Descriptors: Attitude Change, Cognitive Development, Cognitive Processes, Concept Formation, Elementary Education, Elementary School Students, Elementary School Teachers, Grade 5, Instructional Development, Prior Learning, Program Evaluation, Science Instruction, Scientific Concepts, Student Attitudes, Student Development, Teacher Effectiveness, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Sponsor: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.; National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Conceptual Change Theory of Knowledge; Instructional Effectiveness; Misconceptions
Note: Paper presented at the International Seminar on Misconceptions in Science and Mathematics (Ithaca, NY, June 19-22, 1983).