18. Alternative Conceptions

Abstract: Many science teachers are aware of the existence of alternative conceptions – notions held by students that are contrary to those generally accepted by mainstream scientists. Authentic alternative conceptions are tenaciously held, and doggedly resistant to change. Only carefully managed efforts by teachers will effectively address them. The author proposes two emphases within the context of the “standard model” for more effectively overcoming alternative conceptions based on the results of cognitive research.

Alternative Conceptions – Alternative Conceptions in Mechanics – Claims Regarding Alternative Conceptions in Science – Origins of Alternative Conceptions So-Called Alternative Conceptions – Conceptual Change vs. Concept Exchange Models – Are Existing Models of Alternative Conceptions Flawed? – Pedagogies for Addressing Alternative Conceptions – Conjecture for a More Effective Approach – Including Identify and Reinforce – How the ECIRR Model Works – Deploying the ECIRR Model – An Example – The Failure of Traditional Approaches