Metalearning and conceptual change

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Conceptual change means the commitment to a new belief about a principle or a phenomenon, and the abandoning of an old one. Promotion of a new belief is relatively easy, but it is difficult to get students to abandon their former beliefs. Conflicting beliefs can be held by a learner. This article argues that the resolution of conflicting beliefs requires elements of metalearning (conscious control over one's learning). The work of the Project to Enhance Effective Learning (the peel project), which attempts to promote metalearning in a secondary school is described and some general principles derived from the experience of the project are outlined. It is suggested that the key to the acceptance of metalearning strategies by students parallels the conditions for promoting conceptual change specified by Posner et al. (1982) and in particular in the acceptance of the fruitfulness of the new approaches. It is argued that this requires changes in the organization of schooling, particularly adoption of methods of assessment that reward understanding.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1989

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