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Ho, K., & Chin, C. (2009). Using discrepant events with questioning and argumentation to target students’ science misconceptions. In M. Kim, S. W. Hwang & A. L. Tan (Eds), Science Education: Shared Issues, Common Future: Proceedings of International Science Education Conference 2009 (pp. 848-863). Singapore: National Institute of Education.
Students come into the classroom with many of their preconceived ideas. To help our students learn better, teachers need to have a better appreciation of students’ conceptual understanding so that they are better able to tackle students’ misconceptions and knowledge gaps. At the same time, students also have to be engaged to learn actively to reconcile any discrepancies in their understanding of science concepts. This study examined how discrepant events, together with other scaffolding tools, could be used to promote discussions, questioning, and argumentation among students so as to drive their learning, foster critical thinking and surface their misconceptions. The teacher carried out demonstrations of these events and the students, working in small groups, put up their ideas for questioning and critical review. Through the lively discussions triggered by the discrepant events, the students evaluated their own and each others’ ideas. Data were collected through students’ written work and audio-recording. Students' questions and assertions pertaining to concepts demonstrated in the discrepant event provided insight into what and how the students were thinking. It was found that through proper scaffolding, students’ misconceptions could be elicited and dialogic discussions and argumentation could be encouraged to take place. By drawing on each others’ ideas, students’ discussions were rich as students found themselves having to defend what they believed in.
This paper was published in the Proceedings of International Science Education Conference 2009 held at National Institute of Education, Singapore from 24 - 26 Nov 2009
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