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Child's Concepts Are Incommensurable With Adults

Decent Essays
In showing that ‘some of the child’s concepts are incommensurable with the adults’ ’, Carey (1985, p. 269) argued for strong knowledge restructuring during childhood and Vosniadou called similar changes radical restructuring and explains that revisions to central ‘framework theories’ (pp.
46–49) involve ontological and epistemological changes. Chi et al. called their strongest ontological changes ‘tree swapping’ and Thagard (1992) also has a strongest change which he calls ‘tree switching.’ Two candidates for these types of change are, heat needs to change from a flowing fluid to kinetic energy in transit and a gene from an inherited object to a biochemical process. There are many other concepts where scientists’ process views are incommensurable with students’ material
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Despite this pessimistic view, this article argues that school students’ material conceptions can be successfully challenged. However, scientific concepts are very complex and what may be suitable for optimising of school science is not always the currently held science view. For example, in modern physics there are two ways of modelling heat – a process way and also a way that draws on change and conservation of ‘thing like entities’.
Consistent with our position is the research of Chiu, Chou and Liu (2002)
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