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Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(1), 180-204.
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Explaining and enacting for conceptual understanding in secondary school physics

Parinda Phanphech, Tanes Tanitteerapan
King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand

Elizabeth Murphy
Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada

This paper reports on a study of pedagogical strategies for promoting conceptual understanding by reducing misconceptions. The case chosen to investigate this phenomenon involved 40 Thai vocational education students studying physics (electric circuits) in secondary school. The study investigated the effect of an explaining strategy on students's understanding. It also investigated the effect of an enacting strategy on students' overall misconceptions with one group (n=20) using an electric circuits board (CB) whilst another group (n=20) used a virtual simulation (VS) of electric circuits. Pre- and post-test results showed significant improvements in understanding. Pre- and post-test results for the 'enacting' strategy comparing the virtual simulation versus the electric circuits board showed significant increases within groups, as well as a significant reduction in misunderstanding for the VS group. However, the overall levels of misunderstanding remained high in spite of the significance of the intervention. This result confirms the characterisation of misconceptions as persistent difficulties. Implications point to the value of combining multiple strategies for conceptual understanding, matching strategies to the context and to the limitations of evaluating conceptual understanding.
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Authors: Parinda Phanphech is a PhD candidate in the Learning Innovation and Technology program in the Faculty of Industrial Education and Technology, at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand.
Email: parinda.fon@mail.kmutt.ac.th

Dr Tanes Tanitteerapan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Technology and Education at King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand.
Email: tanes_kmutt@yahoo.com

Dr Elizabeth Murphy is a retired professor from the Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada where she was the 2007-08 winner of the President's Award for Outstanding Research. Email: emurphy@mun.ca

Please cite as: Phanphech, P., Tanitteerapan, T. & Murphy, E. (2019). Explaining and enacting for conceptual understanding in secondary-school physics. Issues in Educational Research, 29(1), 180-204. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/.pdf


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