Understanding Student Misconception

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Understanding Student Misconception

Misconceptions can lead to false assumptions and interpretations about any given topic. Ormrod (2008), define misconceptions as “a belief that is not consistent with commonly accepted and well validated explanations of phenomena or events” (p. 254). Many factors such as wrong information contribute to students’ misconceptions about subjects. Many times misconceptions emerge from students’ trying to interpret the information they have received (Ormrod, 2008). Similarly to Ormrod’s definition on misconceptions, Michael (2002) describes misconceptions as flawed interpretations. Students’ work hard at trying to interpret and process the information that is coming at them and sometimes the brain can overload forcing them to make sense of things the best way they know how to (Michael, 2002). As a result, this process leads to many misconceptions that need to be addressed before they become affixed in the mind and critically impede students’ ability to learn. Wiggins & McTighe (2005), stress that “given the probability of deeply rooted misconception and the potential for misunderstanding, a proactive and for most of us, unfamiliar approach to assessment design is required” (p. 55). In other words, teachers should explore new and different approaches to curriculum design.

Teachers need to realize that many of their students will bring misconceptions into the classroom. Furthermore, teachers need to understand that many factors such as up-bringing, environment, culture, and religion contribute to those misconceptions. Therefore, before teachers can begin to correct the misconceptions students bring into the classroom, teachers must first understand where the misconception originated. According to Wiggins & McTighe (2005), “misunderstandings are not ignorance” (p.51), there just misinterpreted information. In the classroom, teachers will encounter misconceptions regarding every subject from History, Math, English,...
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