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Misconceptions identified from personal experience

In this step you will learn from each other as colleagues, and your personal experiences of teaching to uncover misconceptions in some topics.
JANE: Each class you have, each child are all very different and all learn in different ways, and they will bring different things to a lesson. So it’s really important to make sure that you are planning for each child’s individual, not just we’re all going to do this task. These are the facts we’re going to learn. And as I’ve seen today in many lessons, different children do have different ideas about things. They’ve got their own different understanding, the different knowledge already. So it’s making sure, again, that you’re allowing each child to progress as much as they possibly can, rather than just pigeonholing children saying, we are all going to do this, or, we are going to do that.
Yes, it just allows everyone else to learn as best as they can in the way that they need to learn.
MARTIN: I think it’s crucial. It’s absolutely crucial. Because as a math teacher, I’m trying to build on prior knowledge. If you just try and teach a topic in isolation of prior knowledge, they may be able to do it in a lesson, but it’s not attached to anything. So it’s a floating bit of knowledge within their skill set. And then in subsequent lessons, when you want it out again, they can’t locate it. It’s still floating around. So it’s really important to plan with a view to what they already know.
So if you don’t know what they know already, then the preliminary part of your lesson has to be finding that out or allowing them to reflect and get it out for themselves. Or they don’t know this, here’s the first platform. And then build on that yourself. So making sure that the prior knowledge is there. There’s no point in pinning something on, that has nowhere to go.
AMY: Planning for learning, I’d say, know your children. Know what they already know, so touch on previous learning. And don’t just stick to the plan. Go with the children’s learning.
In the video above we hear from our teachers about why they use misconceptions as part of planning for learning. In this step you will learn from each other as colleagues, and your personal experiences of teaching regarding which aspects of the following topics our students have found difficult.


Misconceptions in your subject
Decide on one of the topics below and share in the comments which particular aspects your students have had misconceptions about or found difficult.
  1. Primary maths – number lines and fractions
  2. Primary science – digestion
  3. Biology – adaptation
  4. Chemistry – bonding
  5. Physics – balanced forces
  6. Design and Technology – using mechanical devices to produce movement
We’ve provided some examples here to focus the discussion. If you are not teaching science or mathematics, feel free to come up with one of your own topics.
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Planning for Learning: Formative Assessment

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