An investigation of the nature, types and effects of some alternative conceptions held by grade 12 pupil in electrostatics in Lusaka Secondary Schools
Chiwala, Abednigo Field
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This study investigated the nature, types, trends, patterns, and effects of alternative conceptions held by grade 12 pupils in electrostatics in Lusaka secondary schools. The study was carried out in three schools in Lusaka; a boys',a girls', and a co-education school. Two groups of pupils in each school were chosen randomly, one to serve as a control and the other as a treatment group. Both groups were first given a pre-test on electrostatics, followed by a tuition period of three months tor the treatment group only. At the end of three months, a post test was given to both groups. The results of the study showed that alternative conceptions in electrostatics are of a certain type, nature, and pattern, and follow a certain trend. Some alternative conceptions were also found to be more persistent and prevalent than others. Uninstructed pupils were found to hold more serious alternative conceptions than Instructed ones, showing that instruction is important in the control of alternative conceptions. Curriculum materials and teachers were cited as not controlling alternative conceptions adequately. Hot much attention is paid to listening to pupils' ideas about natural phenomena and correcting these Ideas when and where they are at variance with the scientists' ideas. Teachers and textbooks alike usually ignore the conceptions that pupils come with to a learning situation, and this results in pupils having compartmentalised knowledge; the knowledge they come with from their environment, and the knowledge they learn at school. This usually results in a conflict situation, especially when the two forms of knowledge are at variance with each other and the and the end result of this process is the development of alternative conceptions about natural phenomena. It was recommended that teachers should spend more time trying to find out the conceptions their pupils have on each scientific concept before teaching them. This can result on meaningful learning situations for the pupils, in which alternative conceptions can be continuously mitigated against.
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