The coexistence claim and its possible implications for success in teaching for conceptual “change”

Patrice Potvin 1 *
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1 Département de didactique, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada
* Corresponding Author
EUR J SCI MATH ED, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp. 55-66.
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This article presents recent research results in mental chronometry and neuroimaging that support the coexistence of multiple conceptions. It then presents and elaborates on six possible implications for an adherence to the coexistence claim within the context of scientific conceptual learning: (1) stop the war on misconceptions; (2) use a different chronology for students with lower background knowledge; (3) give cognitive conflict a new function; (4) avoid personal prejudice; (5) reaffirm the importance of the durability of “change”; and (6) teach science as early on as possible. A discussion of these implications and a biology-based analogy about conceptual understanding is also proposed.


Potvin, P. (2017). The coexistence claim and its possible implications for success in teaching for conceptual “change”. European Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 5(1), 55-66.


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