Extending the study of conceptual change to early childhood: The challenges and potentials of questioning-exploration-experience learning

Mei Lin CHENG, Sing Pui Tikky TO-CHAN

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Much existing studies on conceptual change are focused on primary and secondary students’ learning, this paper aims to contribute to the field of knowledge acquisition by extending the study of conceptual change to young children, and in particular the forms and processes of conceptual change. In the context of preschool setting in Hong Kong, this paper investigated into a group of fifteen Chinese young children’s concept learning which took place under a process model of questioning, explorations, and experience-construction (QEE) in the spring term of 2010. The QEE learning takes a sociocultural approach to teaching and learning which adopts group discussion and hands-on activities building on children’s prior knowledge and redefining views for further exploration of knowledge. In order to learn about children’s collective understanding into various concepts of the physical world, this study used qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. The primary sources of data included the concept maps co-constructed by the teacher and the children, the transcript of discourse between the teacher and the children, and notes of interview with the teacher. The paper addressed the questions of the forms and processes of young children’s conceptual change in the context of QEE learning. We further discussed the findings in relation to our previous findings of a working framework for understanding into young children’s path to conceptual change published in 2010. Taking into account of various viewpoints of conceptual change in particular children’s mental state and group learning, this paper finally generated the challenges and potentials of the QEE learning in supporting young children’s conceptual change in the process of knowledge acquisition. We hope to modify the working framework for understanding into young children’s conceptual change and enrich the literature in this regard.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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childhood
learning
experience
knowledge acquisition
teacher
building activity
qualitative method
group discussion
Hong Kong
data analysis
Group
discourse
Teaching
interview
knowledge
student

Citation

Cheng, M.-l., & Chan, S.-p. (2011, May). Extending the study of conceptual change to early childhood: The challenges and potentials of questioning-exploration-experience learning. Paper Presented at 13th Annual International Conference on Education, Athens, Greece.