COVID -19

 

The spread of Carona Virus has forced us to close educational institutions. This has given us some free time. Dr. Vijay Bedekar, Chairman Vidya Prasarak Mandal Thane, has suggested that we make use of this spare time for some productive work. This, I think is a welcome suggestion as we are free from regular teaching as well as assessment work. In this context I would like to put forth a few ideas to make use of our leisure time fruitfully. The first idea that I would like to advocate is the documentation of misconceptions possessed by students. You would agree that many of the concepts taught in science are counter intuitive. For example, a child notices the movement of sun and stars everyday. Science, on the other hand, tells him/her that these heavenly bodies are steady and the earth is revolving. Science educators have been engaged in understanding misconceptions possessed by students. One such study in Biology brought out the misconception about the production of blood. The majority of students believe that blood is produced in the heart. Scientific investigations have found out that blood is produced in bone marrow and heart is just a pump. Another study showed misconception related to the evolution of oxygen in photosynthesis. The majority of students have a firm belief that the oxygen given out during the process of photosynthesis comes from Carbon dioxide. The studies conducted using tracer techniques, however, showed that the oxygen is given out by splitting the molecule of water. In your teaching profession you must have come across many such misconceptions. It would prove useful if you could document them and also suggest ways and means to remove them. A lot of literature is available in this context. This branch is known as "Child Science" and many famous science educators including Rosalind Driver have spent their lifetime in exploring this issue. They have found out that there is a parallel between the ideas children have and ideas earlier philosophers had. You might recall that the Law of Gravitation was framed by Issac Newton when he was forced to go home as the Cambridge University was closed due to the outbreak of plague in 1662. I am hopeful the compulsory free time that we have got will also result into a productive work. S C Agarkar March 19, 2020 PS: I have given examples of misconceptions from Science. I am sure such misconceptions would also be seen in other branches of knowledge like humanities, literature, management, etc. People specilising in these areas might focus on their respective disciplines.

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