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Misconceptions and Constructivism

As the students begin to attend new classes, the teachers hope they perceive new concepts and receive understandings of the subject. In other words, the process can be explained as “learning as a result of teaching.” However, when children go to school for the first time, they already have a bank of knowledge. There are called misconceptions that will determine whether they are ready to get new information or not. Therefore, when one learns a new subject, they will rely on their previous knowledge and decide if they can fit new things. It can be compared to constructing a house: if the foundation is not solid, it is likely to ruin.

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Constructivist learning theory implies that learning outcomes have nothing to do with teaching. It relies more on the principle of self-learning: when the students receive new information and process it. The process can also be named active learning, during which the students do not merely get new facts and ideas. The theory implies that once students enter a classroom, they already know a minimum of what is to learn. According to Eggen and Kauchak (2020), “the most effective way to help students understand a topic is to explain it to them” (p. 394). The constructivist learning theory mainly aims to eradicate the wrong belief to let the new information flow in.

There are several factors that affect the construction of misconceptions. Primarily, these are the false facts or factual conceptions that people hear at a young age. These usually are the phrases that parents tell their children when they are young. For instance, “the sun sets and rises” is a misconception because the sun does not circle the planet, but it is the Earth that rotates (Smith et al., 2018; Witt, 2018). The second factor concerns the use of imprecise or wrong language means. For instance, one is used to saying that “glacier melts,” but some college professor asserts that “the glacier retreats” implying it can move in various directions. The last factor can be the preconceived notions of some phenomenon. For example, some believe that underground waters flow in streams like the surface waters.


Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2020). Using educational psychology in teaching. (11th ed.) Pearson Prentice Hall.

Smith, A., Thomas, M., & Johnson, M. (2018). Thinking developmentally from constructivism to neuroconstructivism. Routledge.

Witt, D. (2018). Constructivist education in an age of accountability. The Palgrave Macmillan.

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