What We Call Misconceptions

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What We Call Misconceptions

I really enjoyed reading this article for putting misconception information into context that is really useful for a classroom teacher.  When reading it, even though I'm aware that "misconceptions" can guide use to new and more meaningful learning I see the stamped out approach within my own teaching.  I use the terms not quite or close way more than I ever intended to.  

Specifically, the 3 things that stick out to me as in new learning for me are: Talk Science Primer method, Discourse Prompts, and Sense Making Strategies. I think all of these 3 things not only address the topic of misconceptions but connect back to the idea of student metacognition.  

I think it is important to assess students pre-knowledge one to gather their experiences, language, and reasoning behind a concept.  Not only that I think it better prepares myself, as an educator, for the "misconceptions" that I'm going to come across with in the lessons.  When better preparing myself, I think having that understanding will better help him in discussions not go to those stamp out/in comments that I notice I do to often.  If I know where they are coming from, I can let the conversations and reflections of their learning come more naturally and insightful.

Within my classroom, I've had numerous wacky explanations but one that sticks out comes to mind is from a student that has struggles. We were talking about cell parts and functions and he told me the nucleus of the cell was like a point guard on a basketball team. Not being much of a basketball person I asked him to explain. His reasoning was that the nucleus is the control center of a cell and tells all the other parts what needs to be done and a point guard tells the other players what play they are going to run.  In this discussion I could have said not quite or close, but allowing him to reflect on his own personal experiences and his interpretation of the information he was able to make a deeper understanding that what would have happened with the stamp out/in approach of teaching.

The biggest thing, of many, that I need to focus on and improve upon is the language that I use with my students about their "misconceptions."  I need to use language that continues their thinking by adding evidence and reasoning that they discover or are guided to.