Date of Award

Summer 6-29-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Younkyeong Nam

Second Advisor

Peter Veronesi

Abstract

Currently, the way that science education is implemented in our schools is inadequate for enabling students to understand abstract science and all of the misconceptions that surround complicated topics, specifically in astronomy (Cil, 2014). Simply taking notes doesn’t allow the student or teacher to discover or correct these misconceptions. There must be novel lesson teaching approaches that educators may take in order to explore and correct misconceptions, ultimately achieving conceptual change.

Teachers must take into account who they are teaching. When students enter the classroom, they each have different skills, experiences and interests. It is the teacher’s responsibility to adapt the content and learning environment to these unique learners (Carver, 2010). Unique approaches to discover these skills and interests, as well as current misconceptions must be implemented in the classroom or the educator will not know how to cater each lesson to their individual students.

Conceptual change, or correcting a misconception, in a students’ mind is considered to be an evolutionary process. This occurs when a change may occur in a certain topic over time with multiple experiences. During the process of conceptual change in the classroom, other influences such as the individual’s beliefs, motivational needs, learning attitudes, and situational and cultural contexts need to be taken into consideration (Hobson, 2010). A differentiated instructional approach should be considered in the modern classroom. It is important to include different modalities for student learning, which could potentially benefit all types of learners as each student is unique. There are many ways for an educator to go about incorporating differentiated instruction into conceptual change lessons.

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