Use of portfolios to correct alternative conceptions and enhance learning
Keywords:Alternative conceptions, action research, conceptual change, constructivist theory, portfolio
Forty first-year primary school student teachers at a Teacher Training College in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe, participated in an action research study, employing the science student portfolio, during February to July, 2008 . They used the portfolio to record their prior knowledge about the lesson topic, new information learnt during the lesson, and how the new information related to their prior knowledge. Comments on lessons, monthly tests and assignment scores, reflections and a page-long conclusion were also recorded in the portfolio. The monthly test scores improved as the study progressed. Interviews revealed that alternative conceptions emanated from teachers, peers, textbooks, and the failure of students to understand teachers’ explanations. Students’ and administration’s comments revealed stakeholders’ satisfaction with the portfolio’s effectiveness.
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