Preconceived notions, conceptual misunderstandings, and non-scientific beliefs are referred to as misconceptions, and such attitude towards science is quite common among both adults and children. Here, we have presented some of them.
A person who holds a misconception is never aware of the fact that his ideas and beliefs are incorrect. Another interesting fact is, this person is not ready to accept that he is wrong. If a person is not ready to forgo his misconceptions, eventually, it will be detrimental to his learning process only.
How are Misconceptions About Science Formed?
Misconceptions about science are formed due to several reasons. Very often, the misconceptions are handed down from one person to another. Both, adults and children have preset beliefs and notions about science that they are not willing to change at any cost.
For instance, if students are presented with two correct and two wrong concepts, they would choose the concept that best suits their logic. Here, the students are not aware that they are wrong. The lack of evidence or scientific reasoning can mislead them.
However, it is the responsibility of the science teacher to dispel their misconceptions. This is possible only if the teacher is well-read or well-aware. A misconception about science arises when the theories put forward by the scientists are wrongly interpreted. Scientists tend to forget that common people do not understand scientific language.
Science teachers can dispel misconceptions by darting open-ended questions to assess the subject knowledge of the students. Listening to the answers and also observing the reasoning process of the students would help dispel any wrong beliefs.
Common Misconceptions About Science
Not only children, even adults are at times misled about the concepts regarding science. Some commonly observed misconceptions about science are given here.
- The foremost misconception about science is, people believe that scientific laws are perfect and absolute. They are not aware of the fact that the laws of science are based on axioms, and these axioms are only basic assumptions. At times, the laws of science do not have a satisfactory explanation or evidence even.
- People, by default, tend to believe that all scientific calculations are error-free and precise. Some people are not ready to accept that errors might be an inherent feature of scientific research. Common people are unaware that scientific theories of any scientific model are formulated by striking a balance between accuracy and complexity. The reason is, if more importance is given to accuracy, then the model becomes highly complex.
- The belief, predictions of science are accurate and absolute, is totally wrong. A scientific prediction for a simple model or a system is nearly accurate. However, if the model or a system is complex, the scientific predictions and calculations need not be accurate, and there are chances of it going wrong. To produce the most accurate results, scientists have to constantly update their research models and tools.
The misconception regarding the concepts about science could have a negative impact on the younger generation. Always remember, a child would first turn to his parents to clarify his doubts. If the parents are unaware of certain concepts, they can always clarify the child’s doubt after referring to books or the Internet.
Similarly, teachers should try to dispel myths by giving opportunities to experiment the theories proposed by the students. Teachers can foster the scientific skills and inculcate scientific and logical thinking in students, by allowing them to test the misconceptions they have.