Misconceptions in science education




Results 1

Results 2


Final conclusions


Educational research

This work was realized during my PGCE (post-graduate certificate in education) course, when I was teaching in English secondary schools. The title of this research is:

Misconceptions in science education


I have used different methods for collecting data :

Web based-  A server side database was used to receive the  results ( MySQL  database created  to be used on an Apache server and receive data  via PHP scripts)

The advantage of this method is that a lot of results can be collected and processed easily.  I have only used it with one class, but the databases are ready to be used in further work : research or formative assessment. The disadvantage of this method is that there is no interaction with the pupil, who may not give much thought to the questions.

Interview- Pupils are approached during break time or lunch time, to answer if they agree or disagree with a series of statements. Depending on the answers given, I develop a questioning in order to investigate the understanding of particular topics.

The advantage of this method is that the results are very good, ie , I know very well what the pupils mean and I  can also notice their reactions to the question, like body language. The disadvantage is that no many results can be gathered, although I managed to interview as many as 5 pupils at the same time.

The children must have freedom to describe their views in the way they feel more comfortable, so that an accurate idea of their notions can be recorded. According to Piaget  , the questioning is about “to reach the secrets of a thought which we don’t know beforehand, and we must do all we can to avoid deforming it  by the way the questions are posed 5 ”.

Also, according to the guide to classroom research, the teacher/pupil interview presents other advantages like: 
-the teacher is in direct contact with the pupil
-pupil is familiar with the teacher and so, more at ease
-the teacher is able to find the information he/she  wants directly.

Whole class approach: using traffic light cards.

Each pupil is given a set of three cards, one green, one yellow and one  red. Pupils are instructed to show the green card if they agree with the statement  read by the teacher, the red card if they disagree and the yellow if they are unsure. The method can be improved by projecting the questions using power point and a data projector, if possible.

The advantages of this method are in between the interview and the web based form.

Traffic lights

advantages: in between the two methods outlined above

disadvantge: Some pupils may try to copy other pupils answers