Science & Education

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 107–127

A Lakatosian Conceptual Change Teaching Strategy Based on Student Ability to Build Models with Varying Degrees of Conceptual Understanding of Chemical Equilibrium


DOI: 10.1023/A:1008671632536

Cite this article as:
Niaz, M. Science & Education (1998) 7: 107. doi:10.1023/A:1008671632536


The main objective of this study is to construct a Lakatosian teaching strategy that can facilitate conceptual change in students' understanding of chemical equilibrium. The strategy is based on the premise that cognitive conflicts must have been engendered by the students themselves in trying to cope with different problem solving strategies. Results obtained (based on Venezuelan freshman students) show that the performance of the experimental group of students was generally better (especially on the immediate posttests) than that of the control group. It is concluded that a conceptual change teaching strategy must take into consideration the following aspects: a) core beliefs of the students in the topic (cf. 'hard core', Lakatos 1970); b) exploration of the relationship between core beliefs and student alternative conceptions (misconceptions); c) cognitive complexity of the core belief can be broken down into a series of related and probing questions; d) students resist changes in their core beliefs by postulating 'auxiliary hypotheses' in order to resolve their contradictions; e) students' responses based on their alternative conceptions must be considered not as wrong, but rather as models, perhaps in the same sense as used by scientists to break the complexity of a problem; and f) students' misconceptions be considered as alternative conceptions (theories) that compete with the present scientific theories and at times recapitulate theories scientists held in the past.

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Niaz
    • 1
  1. 1.Chemistry DepartmentUniversidad de OrienteEstado SucreVenezuela

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