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ERIC Number: EJ846406
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-1536-7509
Approaches to Biology Teaching and Learning: Understanding the Wrong Answers--Teaching toward Conceptual Change
Tanner, Kimberly; Allen, Deborah
Cell Biology Education, v4 n2 p112-117 Sum 2005
Underpinning science education reform movements in the last 20 years--at all levels and within all disciplines--is an explicit shift in the goals of science teaching from students simply creating a knowledge base of scientific facts to students developing deeper understandings of major concepts within a scientific discipline. For example, what use is a detailed working knowledge of the chemical reactions of the Krebs cycle without a deeper understanding of the relationship between these chemical reactions of cellular respiration and an organism's need to harvest energy from food? This emphasis on conceptual understanding in science education reform has guided the development of standards and permeates all major science education reform policy documents (American Association for the Advancement of Science, "1989", "1993", "2001"; "National Research Council, 1996"). However, this transition to teaching toward deep conceptual understanding often sounds deceptively simple, when in reality it presents a host of significant challenges both in theory and in practice. Most importantly, few if any students come to the subject of biology in college, high school, or even middle-school classrooms without significant prior knowledge of the subject. It is no surprise, then, that students can never be considered blank slates, beginning with zero knowledge, awaiting the receipt of current scientific understanding. Yet, there is often little time invested by instructors in finding out in depth what students already know and, more specifically, what they do not know, what they are confused about, and how their preconceptions about the world do or do not fit with new information they are attempting to learn. In this feature, we explore key ideas associated with teaching for understanding, including the notion of conceptual change, the pivotal role of alternative conceptions, and practical implications these ideas have for teachers of science at all levels in designing learning experiences for students. (Contains 3 tables and 1 figure.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A