Common sense, misconceptions and barriers to learning

A second challenge is the interaction between ‘common sense scientific ideas and more recognised scientific concepts and theories. Research has shown (Driver et al 1985, Science Process and Concept Exploration project) that children can temporarily acquire scientifically accepted ideas only later to discard them for their common sense explanations (alternative ideas or misconceptions): “There is a considerable body of research evidence that shows that, since children’s own ideas are often in conflict with scientific ones, if taken into the secondary school, these can inhibit effective learning. The conflict between children’s own ideas and ones that they are taught in secondary education leads many to find science too hard, too confusing and too remote from their real experience”. (Harlen, 2008)