Hello Friends!

Today I want to talk to you about a pedagogical technique called "Conceptual Change Programs". These were popularized by John Hattie through his Visible Learning rankings. Conceptual change programs are new to the Visible Learning ranking system (as of 2015). Research shows that they are very effective and directly applicable in the classroom. See image and link below:


What are Conceptual Change Programs?

Conceptual Change Programs are used to strengthen understanding by encouraging students to question their own (or society's) preconceived notions. 

They involve two main steps:

  1. Introduce students to new concepts and ideas.
  2. Asking students to think about common misconceptions that might contradict these new concepts. 

Here's a quick summary from the text:

"Conceptual change programs (d = 1.16). This is a promising one. The research refers to the type of textbook used by secondary science students. Some textbooks simply introduce new concepts. Yet, students have already formed their own understanding of the world around them, often including many misconceptions. These misconceptions can hinder deeper levels of learning. Conceptual change textbooks introduce concepts and at the same time discuss relevant and common misconceptions. While the current research is limited to science textbooks in secondary school, it is reasonable to predict that when teachers apply this same idea to introduce any new concept in their classroom, it could have a similar impact."


How Effective Are They?

Warning: this section gets a bit dense and technical.

In John Hattie's Visible Learning ranking, the benchmark "d score" for techniques to improve learning outcomes is 0.4d. The research suggests that Conceptual Change Programs run at a 1.16d. Check out this graph below:


So... What does this mean?

It means that the Conceptual Change Programs (treatment group) will drive superior learning outcomes compared to the Baseline Score (control group) in the following ways:

  1. There is a 70% chance that a person picked at random from the treatment group will have a higher score than a person picked at random from the control group (probability of superiority).
  2. If 100 people go through the treatment, 26.7more people will have a favorable outcome compared to if they had received the control treatment."

How Can We Use Them in Parlay?

Although Conceptual Change Programs are most often used in Science textbooks they can absolutely be used across many different subject areas and domains. My call to action today is actually to take this teaching technique one level deeper! 

Ask students to create their own Conceptual Change Programs.

Let's look at an example:

We want our Grade 10 History students to think a little deeper about the Holocaust. Let's ask them two questions:

  1. What do you believe is the most important thing that you have learned about human beings and society at large since studying the Holocaust?
  2. Search the internet for a credible resource that discusses one or more "myths" or "misconceptions" about the Holocaust, share that resource with the class and tell us why you think it's important to tell everyone! What does it say about the nature of History?

That's it for now! We're going to be exploring many different ways to apply Conceptual Change Programs to Parlay RoundTables. 

Please share if you have any ideas! If not, stay tuned for more :)


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