ERIC Number: ED337326
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Techniques for Promoting Intellectual Self Confidence among At-Risk Science Students in Rural and Small Schools.
Prather, J. Preston
Most students enter their first formal science courses with intelligently conceived and sophisticated concepts of science. Some of these may be compatible with the principles of modern science, but others may be incorrect, inadequate, outdated, or otherwise unacceptable. Conceptual frameworks based on intuitive misperceptions, naive inferences, incorrect logic, or misinformation constitute a threat to further science education. Many studies have found evidence of widespread scientific misperceptions among young children, high school and college students, college graduates, and even science teachers. Examples, include ideas about the relation of force and motion similar to medieval or Aristotelian theories, and outdated concepts of time, space, and photosynthesis. Some misconceptions are so intuitively satisfying and so ingrained that they are not easily displaced by later science instruction. Diagnostic techniques and skills can enable teachers to identify their own misconceptions and help students articulate and unlearn scientific preconceptions without undermining their intellectual self-confidence and receptivity to science learning. Many rural and small schools do not have the resources to deal with this problem. Some simple experiential techniques to help students articulate what they believe about natural phenomena include the "Tennessee Teaching Machine" (force and motion), "World on a String" (space), and "Plant Diet" (photosynthesis). A rationale for a constructivist approach to science instruction is presented, based on theories of Piaget and Ausubel. This paper contains 20 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Rural Education Symposium of the American Council on Rural Special Education and the National Rural and Small Schools Consortium (Tucson, AZ, March 18-22, 1990).