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Professionalizing Pre-Service Biology Teachers’ Misconceptions about Learning and the Brain through Conceptual Change

Institute for Biology, Biology Education, University of Kassel, Kassel 34119, Germany
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Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(3), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8030120
Received: 30 June 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 6 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology Education)
Scientific concepts of learning and the brain are relevant for biology teachers in two ways: Firstly, the topic is an object of instruction (e.g., long-term potentiation). Secondly, biology teachers must guide their students towards sustainable learning. Consequently, their own understanding of learning and the brain has an especially far-reaching influence on students. Pre-service biology teachers endorse so-called “neuromyths,” misconceptions on the subject of learning and the brain (e.g., the existence of learning styles) even though they cover neuroscientific content during their studies. These misconceptions remain relatively stable throughout university education and practical training. In this paper, we transfer the teaching and learning model of conceptual change to the university context. We investigate whether and to what extent a university course developed in accordance with a professional conceptual change model can reduce pre-service biology teachers’ endorsement of neuromyths. In a pre-post-design, 57 university students were asked about their professional knowledge, beliefs, neuromyths, and perception and utilization of the university course. We found a positive effect of the intervention on all three elements of students’ conceptual understanding. The results show that explicitly refuting misconceptions about learning and the brain (e.g., via conceptual change texts) helps to professionalize neuromyths. View Full-Text
Keywords: conceptual change; biology teacher education; pre-service biology teachers; professional knowledge; beliefs; misconceptions; neuromyths; learning; the brain conceptual change; biology teacher education; pre-service biology teachers; professional knowledge; beliefs; misconceptions; neuromyths; learning; the brain
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Grospietsch, F.; Mayer, J. Professionalizing Pre-Service Biology Teachers’ Misconceptions about Learning and the Brain through Conceptual Change. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 120.

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