Experimenter Confirmation Bias and the Correction of Science Misconceptions

Allen, Michael; Coole, Hilary
June 2012
Journal of Science Teacher Education;Jun2012, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p387
Academic Journal
This paper describes a randomised educational experiment ( n = 47) that examined two different teaching methods and compared their effectiveness at correcting one science misconception using a sample of trainee primary school teachers. The treatment was designed to promote engagement with the scientific concept by eliciting emotional responses from learners that were triggered by their own confirmation biases. The treatment group showed superior learning gains to control at post-test immediately after the lesson, although benefits had dissipated after 6 weeks. Findings are discussed with reference to the conceptual change paradigm and to the importance of feeling emotion during a learning experience, having implications for the teaching of pedagogies to adults that have been previously shown to be successful with children.


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