The conceptual change literature is a testament to itself for sure. When one reads about conceptual change, one interprets that literature within one’s existing conceptual frameworks about teaching, learning, and education–those conceptual frameworks having been forged out of one’s everyday experience with teaching, learning, and education. Like the intuitive theories of physics, biology, or psychology discussed in that literature, learners of conceptual change have their own intuitive theories of learning and schooling, which lead to interpretations of that literature that are strange and bizarre to those who know that literature well. Just as physicists are often surprised by the conceptions of their physics students; I am often surprised by the ways in which earlier learners of conceptual change interpret that literature.
Some of the ideas they seem to take away are:
If you have just the right lesson, conceptual change should happen for a whole class of children in a single day.
Children’s ideas are a real problem, and it’s a teacher’s job to root them out as quickly as possible.
Understanding a students’ ideas is to state what’s not right about it in relation to correct conceptions.
It is the knowing of “correct” conceptions that is of ultimate importance for learners and primary goal of inquiry.
The more I talk and work with future teachers, the more I become curious about the kinds of inquiries that will support them in re-conceptualizing teaching and learning in meaningful ways. It’s certainly not going to be from me just telling them things or them just reading things.