Science teachers' conceptions of scientific concepts




Sikkes, Ryan Timothy

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The purpose of this study was to examine practicing teachers' understandings of the use of misconceptions in building new scientific knowledge as well as their personal understandings of common scientific misconceptions. 91 participants from a non-random sample of teachers who teach science at the grades 5 through 8 levels completed a paper-based questionnaire of which 6 were subsequently interviewed. The data collected included demographic data (gender, age, teaching experience, and educational background), a self-assessment of personal content knowledge, a survey of classroom practices utilized, and a series of science ideas that were evaluated as either true or false by the participants. Various relationships between these data were identified. It was found that age and teaching experience had no effect on participants' abilities to identify misconceptions. In addition, participants with more scientific backgrounds were better able to identify misconceptions. Conclusions include the need for explicit instruction about the role of misconceptions in preservice teacher education and through improved professional development opportunities for science teachers.



science teachers, science study and teaching, middle school, British Columbia