Teaching Electric Circuits: Teachers’ Perceptions and Learners’ Misconceptions
- 303 Downloads
An exploratory case study involving six grade 9 science teachers was undertaken to probe how teachers’ understanding of learners’ misconceptions relate to their perceptions about teaching simple circuits. The participants’ understanding of documented misconceptions in electricity were explored by means of a questionnaire, while their perceptions about teaching electric circuits were also explored in the questionnaire, followed by a semi-structured interview. Results were analysed using content analysis and interpreted using pedagogical content knowledge as a theoretical lens. The results indicated that understanding learners’ misconceptions did not always correlate with conceptual perceptions about teaching electric circuits. While fair understanding of misconceptions was demonstrated by teachers who studied Physics at undergraduate level, only those who also held qualifications in Education showed conceptual perceptions about teaching electricity. Teachers who did not study Science Education revealed technical perceptions, focused on facts, demonstrations and calculations. From these results, a developmental model for pedagogical content knowledge was proposed. It was recommended that teacher education programs should involve misconceptions and also facilitate the development of conceptual perceptions about teaching.
KeywordsElectric circuits Misconceptions Teacher perceptions Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK)
The authors acknowledge the financial assistance of the National Research Foundation.
- Gaigher, E. (2014). Questions about answers: probing teachers’ awareness and planned remediation of learners’ misconceptions about electric circuits. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 18(2), 176-187.Google Scholar
- Hill, H. C., Ball, D. L., & Shilling, S. G. (2008). Unpacking pedagogical content knowledge: conceptualizing and measuring teachers’ topic-specific knowledge of students. Journal of Research in Mathematics Education., 39(4), 372–400.Google Scholar
- Ireland, J. (2011). Inquiry teaching in primary science: a phenomenographic study. Brisbane: Queensland University of Technology.Google Scholar
- Küçüközer, H., & Kocakülah, S. (2007). Secondary school students’ misconceptions about simple electric circuits. Journal of Turkish Science Education, 4(1), 101–115.Google Scholar
- Magnusson, S., Borko, H., & Krajcik, J. S. (1994). Teaching complex subject matter in science: Insights from an analysis of pedagogical content knowledge. Report: ED390715. 27 pp. Mar 1994.Google Scholar
- Moodley, K. (2013). The relationship between teachers’ ideas about teaching electricity and their awareness of learners’ misconceptions. Unpublished Masters dissertation. University of Pretoria, Pretoria.Google Scholar
- Rollnick, M., Bennett, J., Rhemtula, M., Dharsey, N., & Ndlovu, T. (2008). The place of subject matter knowledge in pedagogical content knowledge: a case study of south African teachers teaching the amount of substance and chemical equilibrium. International Journal of Science Education, 30(10), 1365–1387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Shipstone, D. M. (1985). Electricity in simple circuits. In R. Driver, E. Guesne, & A. Tiberghien (Eds.), Children’s ideas in science (pp. 32–50). Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
- Usak, M. (2009). Pre-service science and technology teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge on cell topics. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practices., 9(4), 2033–2046.Google Scholar
- Veal, W. R., & MaKinster, J.G. (1999). Pedagogical Content Knowledge Taxonomies. Electronic Journal of Science Education, 3(4).Google Scholar