Seventh Grade Students' Misconceptions about Citizenship Concepts
Misconceptions are the conceptions that that are different from those commonly accepted by the scientific community. Strongly held misconceptions are the main source of the difficulties that students and teachers face in learning and teaching the targeted concepts. The number of studies that investigates students’ misconceptions is very limited in the area of social studies. A change of curriculum has taken place in Turkey in 2005. The aim of this study was to compare the conceptual understanding of students on both the previous and new programs. In this study the term “previous program" refers to the traditional method of teaching whose foundations are formed by the behaviorist approach whereas the "new program" is comprised of methods and techniques of instruction whose foundations are based on the constructivist learning theory. The new program is the product of a circular approach comprising meaningful, spiral and active learning, multiple intelligence theory and problem solving methods whose foundations are formed by constructivism. In this study descriptive and quasi-experimental designs were used together as the methods of research. The research was conducted in five pilot schools where the new curriculum was followed and 10 schools where the previous curriculum was followed from the different districts representing the various different socio-economic strata in Ankara. From these 15 schools, 606 students and 15 social studies teachers who are in the 7th grade made up the sample group. The data was obtained using a three-tier conceptual understanding test consisting of multiple choice questions developed by the researcher. The distracters of the test involve statements that represent students' probable misconceptions about citizenship concepts. The results of this study indicated that there was a significant difference between students exposed to previous and new program with respect to their conceptual understanding regarding citizenship concept.
Keywords: Social Studies Education, Citizenship, Conceptual Understanding, Misconceptions, Previous Program, New Program
Assistant Professor, Science Education Programme, Gazi University