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Investigating early years teachers’ understanding and response to children’s preconceptions

Kambouri, M. ORCID: (2016) Investigating early years teachers’ understanding and response to children’s preconceptions. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 24 (6). pp. 907-927. ISSN 1752-1807

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2014.970857


This paper focuses on young children’s scientific preconceptions and discusses teachers’ identification of these preconceptions when teaching science in the early years, on which research is still limited. This paper is based on the theoretical framework of constructivism and it defines preconceptions as children’s erroneous concepts prior to formal education. A two phase case study approach was employed, facilitating in-depth investigation though the use of questionnaires, interviews and observations. The results indicate that the teachers did not dedicate time to identify children’s preconceptions when planning and teaching science, even when acknowledging preconceptions’ possible existence. This indicates a possible lack of appreciation of the importance of children’s preconceptions of the consequences when ignoring them. The results also indicate the need for further training and professional development in relation to the teaching of early-years science, especially since only a very small percentage of early years teachers tend to study science during their years compulsory education. A number of suggestions are also provided for practice and policy that can be useful for other subjects as well.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education
ID Code:38108
Publisher:Taylor and Francis


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