RESOLVING MISCONCEPTIONS THROUGH STUDENT REFLECTIONS
Students come to college with significant amount of prior knowledge, which often includes misconceptions that hinder their ability to learn correct concepts in STEM disciplines. Misconceptions, or “alternative beliefs” amongst students have been widely studied in the literature. It is observed that when they are addressed directly, helping students with opportunities to re-construct their world-view, more students are able to use scientific concepts correctly, indicating that clearing misconceptions early on is crucial to student learning. Our study aims to identify and resolve misconceptions in three important gateway STEM courses by using student reflective activities and guided-inquiry learning. To enhance conceptual understanding and learning process, faculty members teaching Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics, conducted students reflection sessions outside classroom instruction to identify and address students’ common misconceptions. Students reflected on their own prior knowledge and belief systems, and worked with peers to discover the correct concepts. They analyzed each other’s erroneous beliefs, and in the process, corrected their misconceptions. A marginal difference between experimental and control groups is observed, however, we will continue the studies by redesigning and refining the intervention sessions of reflections, exam wrappers and study skills/ attitude surveys to collect more meaningful data to investigate whether resolving misconceptions early on does increase conceptual understanding in community college students.