Evidence-based secondary science guidance published

Secondary science teachers can harness common misconceptions to improve pupils’ learning, new guidance from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) suggests.

An EEF report, published last week and compiled by a panel of teachers and leading experts, finds that almost all pupils develop their own explanations for science concepts before they learn about them in lessons.

However, their ideas about things like “how plants grow” or “how we see things” don’t always align with scientific understanding. As such, it says that teachers should work to uncover the specific misconceptions their pupils hold through class and group discussion, before moving on to challenge these.

It is one of seven recommendations in the report, which is intended to help secondary schools give pupils – especially those on the Pupil Premium – a good grounding in science and an interest to lead them on to further study. A second recommendation in the report focuses on developing pupils’ scientific vocabulary to support them to read and write about science. The five remaining recommendations are:

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