Heather’s challenges involved logical yet inaccurate theories, confusion that occurred when she blended new concepts with pre-existing knowledge and unawareness of private theories.
When I was watching the video of Heather, I had this realization that I also have misconceptions in the science and math disciplines as a learner. I recall myself generating logical reasonings to explain scientific phenomenons. Furthermore, as an elementary teacher, I am responsible for delivering accurate knowledge to my students. This lingering thought provoked me to look at teacher misconceptions and how they compare with student misconceptions in science, specifically. I came across an article by Burgoon, Heddle and Duran (2011) that was quite recent and focused on comparing the misconceptions about physical science between elementary teachers and students. Elementary science teachers were assessed on their physical science knowledge. The results showed the elementary science teachers shared similar misconceptions in topics of temperature, gases, magnetism and gravity. Of course, these results cannot be generalized to the entire population of science teachers, but it does indicate some concern as teachers who have misconceptions, can contribute to further misconceptions for their students. For instance, a possible source of student misconception comes from an unreliable source (like a teacher)!
I found this article relevant to Paul Cobb’s article titled “Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development”. The chapter discussed the similarities and differences between two trends in constructivist-based research in education: a cognitive theory that emphasizes self-organization of knowledge process within the learner and a sociocultural theory that focuses on the sociohistorical aspect of knowledge construction. This is relevant to Burgoon et al. (2011)’s article because it indicates the importance of students and teachers being able to demonstrate awareness of misconceptions within themselves but also to point out misconceptions of others through participation in discussions and collaborative learning. Specifically, Cobb (1994) emphasizes that learning occurs both from self-organization of knowledge as well as through participation in cultural practices (i.e. formal schooling).
The other article I chose to read was from Confrey (1990) that discussed various student misconceptions in mathematics. At the end, several propositions for implications were mentioned. It sheds insight on Burgoon et al. (2011)’s article because these suggestions for minimizing misconceptions for students can possibly be applied to teachers. Particularly, teachers should take opportunities to reflect on their own misconceptions using those strategies.
Digital technology can help children and teachers address these conceptions in various ways. More hands-on learning where students directly manipulate objects will help them visualize their conceptions. https://phet.colorado.edu/en/ is a website that has virtual simulations of all topics in science. Students can explore them prior to hands-on experimentation. Online discussion forums can also help students address misconceptions because they can reflect on their learning on them and others can make comments on their knowledge. These forums should be monitored by educators who can also express their knowledge.
Burgoon, J. N., Heddle, M. L., & Duran, E. (2011). Re-examining the similarities between teacher and student conceptions about physical science. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 22(2), 101-114. doi:10.1007/s10972-010-9196-x
Cobb, Paul. “Where is the mind? Constructivist and sociocultural perspectives on mathematical development.” Educational researcher 23, no. 7 (1994): 13-20.