The Misconceptions within Science

Science is a complex subject, that can often be filled with misconceptions, ultimately this dilemma has lead to proactive changes towards improving how science is taught. Within the academic sphere, science is enhancing the way students learn the material.

There is a new scientific framework that is being used particularly in biology classrooms, which utilizes a mix of pedagogies; collecting classroom evidence, active learning (inside and outside the classroom), equity and diversity, and assessment. This cycle of learning aims to break down misconceptions that occur within the field.

There are five main types of misconceptions that specifically occur within academia; preconceived notions, non-scientific beliefs, conceptual misunderstandings, vernacular, and factual misconceptions. Preconceived notions are popular or common conceptions that are often expressed daily. Non-Scientific beliefs are perspectives learned by outside (non-academia) sources. The next misconception, conceptual misunderstandings, stems from a previously established schema. Further, the material does not invoke students to confront and reflect on there currently held perspectives.

Additionally, there are vernacular and factual misconceptions that arise within the scientific field. Vernacular occurs when there is a miscommunication with diction. One word may be used to reference the norm, whereas the same word is translated differently with a scientific context. Lastly, factual misconceptions are falsities that are learned at an early age and are never corrected nor challenged.

The learning cycle that utilizes active learning and equity engages students while actively breaking down misconceptions. The act of collecting classroom evidence with an emphasis on making connections outside of the classroom setting can effectively deteriorate the misconceptions. The same misunderstandings create barriers between the teacher and the students.

When students are assiduously encouraged to assimilate with the material beyond the classroom environment to solidify key concepts. Through this process, students are allowed to confront their own beliefs in a commodious environment.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that think-pair-share and similar practices such as discussing with a group can help foster healthy conservation and assist in gaining new perspectives.

Moreover, the report stated that professors were aiming to empower students by reassuring diversity in the field, “qualities of successful scientists were directly [related] to a function of desire and scholarship” (NCBI). To conclude, science is a vast field that continually seeks out various perspectives to be presented and debated. As professors continue to encourage students, to openly take in new knowledge while disregarding their previous misconceptions.

Article by: Alexis Takagi

Works Cited

Owens, M. T., Trujillo, G., & Seidel, S. B. (2018, March). Collectively Improving Our Teaching: Attempting Biology Department-wide Professional Development in Scientific Teaching. Retrieved from ​https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007775/

Read “Science Teaching Reconsidered: A Handbook” at NAP.edu. (n.d.). Retrieved from
https://www.nap.edu/read/5287/chapter/5

Siegel, H., Phillips, D., & Callan, E. (2018, October 07). Philosophy of Education. Retrieved from ​https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/education-philosophy/

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