Avoidance from Thought Experiments: Fear of misconception

Two independent lines of researchmental simulations and thought experimentsprovide strong arguments about the importance of perceptual modalities for the instructional practices in science education. By situating the use of mental simulations in the framework of thought experiments, this study investigated the nature and the role of mental simulations in the context of problem-solving. This study draws on data collected through problem-solving sessions with five physics graduates. Throughout the problem-solving sessions, think-aloud and retrospective questioning were used. Results from this study support some serious concerns put forward by several researchers in the community of science educators about high dependence on descriptive forms of scientific knowledge and exclusion of perceptual modalities from instructional practices. The participants' verbal reports confirmed that they had implicitly or explicitly reached a conclusion that mental simulations were not a legitimate way of reasoning about physics problems, and they consciously avoided the use of mental simulations. This conceptualization seemed to lead participants to compartmentalize mental simulations from formal physics knowledge. Therefore, mental simulations were not refined but kept in a primitive form, which was no more than a retrieval of perceptual representations constructed through observations and experiences of the world. The speculations on the results of the study were based on the interpretations of learning science in terms of the refinement and reorganizations of preinstructional ideas.


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The authors in a convergent parallel mixed method design aimed to investigate whether and how the geometry knowledge and attitude toward geometry of students with field-dependent/independent cognitive style improve differentially within a project-based learning environment. Quantitative data were collected from 97 seventh-grade students before and after the treatment. Repeated measures multivariate analysis of covariance results, controlling for gender and prior mathematics achievement, revealed a statistic...
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The aim of this study was to examine middle school science textbooks according to some criteria in terms of nature of science (NOS). A total of three middle school science textbooks in 6th, 7th and 8th grade and two biology units were analyzed in each textbook. In the 6th grade science textbooks, “Reproduction, Development and Growth in Living Beings”and “Systems in Our Body” units, in the 7th grade science textbook, “Systems in Our Body” and “Human and Environment” units, in the 8th grade science textbook,...
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The literature on teaching thinking reflects a major controversy that results from two distinctive theoretical views about the nature of thinking. One focuses on content of thinking, and the other emphasizes skills involved in thinking. However, an attempt to understand practitioners' perceptions of these theories is generally absent in the literature. The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers' theoretical orientations toward teaching thinking, using a survey questionnaire. Ths sample includ...
Exploring the development of pre-service science teachers’ views on nature of science in inquiry-based laboratory instruction
Özgelen, Sinan; Yılmaz Tüzün, Özgül; Department of Educational Sciences (2010)
The purposes of this study were to explore understanding of preservice science teachers’ (PSTs) nature of science (NOS) views during the explicit-reflective and inquiry-based laboratory instruction and investigate PSTs’ perspectives and experiences related to learning NOS aspects in the science laboratory course. This study was carried out during the Laboratory Application in Science II course. A total of 45 PSTs participated to the study. The design of the study was qualitative and exploratory in nature. I...
Science Teachers' Professional Development about Science Centers Enhancing Science Teachers' Views Concerning Nature of Science
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The purpose of this study is twofold: first, to delve into professional development (PD) of science teachers' views about nature of science (NOS) throughout activities linking NOS aspects to science centers (SCs), and second, to reveal how a science teacher uses NOS aspects while teaching in SCs. An instrumental qualitative case study method with different data sources was used. There were 18 elementary science teachers participating voluntarily in this study. Additionally, one science teacher among the par...
Citation Formats
Ö. F. Özdemir, “Avoidance from Thought Experiments: Fear of misconception,” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SCIENCE EDUCATION, pp. 1049–1068, 2009, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/46946.