Life sciences education

An inventory

Ben Wilbrink

My intention in creating these 'education pages' is to assemble materials from several disciplines to investigate how they are handling common sense ideas, folk ideas, naive ideas, whatever they might get called, that are inconsistent with the scientific ideas in that particular discipline. The prime example is the folk physics of pupils that is frustrating their learning the classical mechanics of Newton, while most programs or teachers do not explicitly handle this problem, or even are aware of it. While this kind of problem evidently is frustrating the efficiency of education, it also touches on what is valid assessment of knowledge of physics. Designing physics tests should touch on this issue.


Physics education
Mathematics education
Life sciences education
Humanitieses education
Language education
conceptual change (paradigm shift)

The inventory will contain studies, web pages etc. that in one way or another might touch on the topic of designing test items in the life sciences.

direct hits

Sandra Waxman (2005). Why is the concept of &lquot;living thing&rquot; so elusive? Concepts, languages, and the development of folkbiology. In Woo-kyoung Ahn, Robert L. Goldstone, Bradley C. Love, Arthur B. Markman, and Philip Wolff: Categorization inside and outside the laboratory (49-68). American Psychological Association.

Florencia K. Anggoro, Sandra R. Waxman, and Douglas L. Medin (2008). Naming Practices and the Acquisition of Key Biological Concepts. Evidence From English and Indonesian. Research report. Psychological Science pdf [retrieved May 2009]

Helen de Cruz & Johan De Smedt (2006). The Role of Intuitive Ontologies in Scientific Understanding – the Case of Human Evolution. Biology and Philosophy, 22, 351-368.



John T. E. Richardson (1989). Cognitive skills and psychology education. In John Radford and David Rose:. A liberal science. Psychology education past, present and future (pp. 61-70). Buckingham: SRHE/Open University.

drug taking in medicine

Common sense ideas about sickness and health, 'folk medicine, 'naive medicine,' might interfere with with compliance in drug taking. In about just the same way folk physics might interfere with learning the classical mechanics offered by one's teacher in school. Look at the discussion about compliance or concordance in medicine as an analogon for the problems experienced in physics education. Be aware that in the medical realm there is no abundance of facts or siple experiments as tere is in school physics.

Iona Heath (2003). A wolf in sheep's clothing: a critical look at the ethics of drug taking. BMJ, 327, 856-858 (11 October) html


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