Teacher Education: Addressing Misconceptions About Science and Science Teaching
Prospective teachers often harbor preconceptions about science teaching and these beliefs shape the way they engage children in science lessons in elementary classrooms (Abell, Bryan, & Andersen, 1998; Abell, & Bryan, 1997; Munby & Russell, 1992). As with children and their preconceptions about science (Driver, 1989; Osborne & Freyberg, 1985), it becomes essential when working with novice science teachers to confront naïve conceptions of science and assist them in recognizing children's ideas and re-examining their own personal beliefs. Research has shown that prospective teachers' personal histories with learning science (both positive and negative) have a great influence on how they teach science to children (Anning, 1988; VanZee and Roberts, 2001).
Traditional approaches in teacher education do little to elicit and address the misconceptions of students, whether at the elementary or university level, and may even encourage teachers to gloss over scientific conceptual development (Lave, 1990; Solomon, 1989). In contrast, a teacher education program that guides teachers to encourage elementary students to tell stories about their ideas accomplishes several things: It gives teachers insights into what their students actually know, frees teachers to address misconceptions directly, and encourages teachers to envision alternative pedagogical options (Roth, 1994). It also guides teachers toward inquiry-based science and away from lessons that simply disseminate scientific facts (Gallas, 1995; Shapiro, 1994; Bryan & Abell, 1999).
December 12, 2002
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©2002 by Randy Yerrick.