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Paper presented at the 3rd Redesigning Pedagogy International Conference, Singapore, 1 - 3 June 2009
“I do, I understand” is a quote used to support the “hands-on” approach to teaching science. However, learners do not always “understand” the science ideas the same way as scientist do just by doing science. Both hands-on activities and minds-on approaches are essential for student-centred learning. Numerous studies have highlighted the insidious effect of teachers’ and students’ alternative conceptions in science. Teachers’ alternative conceptions are commonly seen in the science test papers that teachers’ construct and the terms & analogies used during science lessons. These teachers are actually “victims” having been exposed to such faulty ideas themselves when they were students. The conceptual change approach shines a light to one way of breaking this vicious cycle of misconceptions. This is a qualitative case study, conducted with primary science pre-service teachers, addressing common misconceptions cited in previous literature on topics related to energy.

There are many topics in the 2008, Singapore primary science syllabus, that are related to energy. This paper has 2 purposes: (1) To highlight the common alternative conceptions of student teachers in primary science on topics related to energy
(2) To devise a strategy to develop pre-service teachers “critical eye” in detecting misconceptions in both their students and lessons.

This study highlights how the conceptual change approach can enrich both the student teachers’ subject matter knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge.
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