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Science Education Project - Chantier7: "Training Cycle 1 Quebec Science and Technology Teachers to Diagnose and Develop Students’ Conceptual Understanding, Problem-Solving, and Technology Skills"

We've all heard or expressed the common teacher refrain or some variation of “I taught it to them so many times and in so many different ways and yet they still don’t seem to understand.  Often what is happening is that we are trying to teach something that contradicts the students’ existing erroneous conceptions on the subject and these misconceptions have more "sticking" power and often remain as the student's dominant explanation.

Research in science education suggests that children’s intuitive ideas or alternative frameworks are very different from accepted scientific models. Further, these ideas are firmly held by students Therefore, science teachers need to be aware of them to develop effective pedagogical strategies to help their students to develop a deeper understanding of scientific concepts and models. Inquiry-based approaches to learning science encourage the learners to actively reconstruct their ideas and apply scientific knowledge through problem-solving.

This collaborative project was to develop diagnostic assessment tools to uncover students’ intuitive ideas about the natural world and design targeted teaching interventions to develop students’ understanding of scientific and technological concepts and models.  The partners included academics from McGill and Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and school partners from Commission Scolaire Des Chênes, Lester B. Pearson School Board, and English Montreal School Board. The project was funded by a generous grant from the Ministère de l'Éducation et de l'Enseignement supérieur (Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur, de la Recherche, de la Science et Technologie– Chantier 7 Programme Grant).

The project team, including science consultants and teachers from these three partner school boards, university researchers, members of the Science and Technology Implementation Committee (STIC) team, and advisors from Learn Quebec, collaboratively developed a training program for the professional development of teachers to improve students’ learning and achievement in science and technology.

The conceptual assessment items, activities and lesson plans have been developed in French and English so that teachers from both sectors will benefit from them.