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Concept Change

Narration by Dr. Vrooman. How concept change theory might be applied to three different kinds of papers: (1) where no concept change has occurred, (2) where some concept change has occurred, and (3) where concept changes are definitely occurring.
by

Patrick Vrooman

on 21 November 2017

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Transcript of Concept Change

How do I explain that I haven't experienced concept change?
Use the theories:
Maybe some of the conditions for concept change haven't been met (Posner, 1982, p. 214+):
dissatisfaction--you haven't been dissatisfied with your current concepts (pp. 220-222)
intelligibility--other concepts haven't been intelligible enough (pp. 216-217)
plausibility--other concepts haven't been plausible enough (pp. 218-220)
fruitful--other concepts haven't been as fruitful as your current concepts (pp. 222-223)
Maybe you're at the assimilation phase of concept change (using current concepts to deal with new things), not working through the accommodation process (Posner, 1982, p. 212, p. 223)
Key part of concept change is that you have a new concept. Maybe you haven't found a good enough concept to replace an old one--which may have to do with parts of your conceptual ecology which keep you from selecting a new concept (Posner, 1982, pp. 214-215):
anomalies--you haven't had "failures" with your current conceptions
analogies and metaphors--old ones work for you; new ones aren't intelligble enough
epistemological commitments--you're already committed to an explanation of things
metaphysical beliefs--your beliefs are intelligble, plausible, and fruitful enough
other knowledge--your current knowledges work for you
Maybe your prior epistemology (how you collect information, organize it, and construct concepts) has constructed concepts that work for you (Zirbel, 2004, pp. 1-7)
Maybe your current concepts are "tenacious" and/or the origins of your "pre-instructional" concepts (from experiences and perceptions, culture. and language) haven't recieved "instructional" concepts effective enough to replace them (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 2-5)

Use the terms and concepts in the articles (cite the terms, explain the terms using quotations and your own words, then apply them to your situation--using examples and explanation for how this term applies to you).
What's it mean that I'm experiencing some degree of concept change?
Use the theories:
Maybe you've experienced some dissatisfaction with your prior conceptions, but you're not all the way into a post-dissatisfaction phase. Or maybe you're in a place of pre- or post- dissatisfaction (you pick which one and explain it), and you're currently satisfied with your concepts--even though you see the intelligbility or plausibility or fruitfulness of new concepts (Compton, 2010, pp. 39-40)
Maybe you need to explore and explain the development history of your conceptual ecology--to explain where your current concepts came from ... and how you're beginning to develop new concepts (Srike, 1992, pp. 158-159; Zirbel, 2004, pp. 1-7; Ruhf, 2003, pp. 2-5)
Maybe you're resistant to concept change (Posner, 1982, p. 223) or your current concepts are resistant to change (Strike, 1992, pp. 2-6)
Maybe you're not serious about learning (Posner, 1982, p. 224)
Maybe your'e not willing to pay the cost of changing your current concepts (Strike, 1992, p. 154)
Maybe your novice learner "intuitions" are developing into more mature, experienced concepts (Strike, 1992, pp. 156-157)
Maybe your current concepts have kept you from experiencing other concepts (Strike, 1992, p. 160)
Maybe you've experienced what Fensham, Gunstone & White call "conceptual addition" rather than conceptual change ... or a variety of other, altnerative concepts by other theorists, including "conceptual fitting" or "conceptual competition" or "peripheral conceptual change" (check them out!) (Zirbel, 2004, p. 10). Also look at what diSessa and Sherin call "relational concept change" or Clement, Brown, and Zietsman call "anchoring concepts" (and ones that are "brittle"), etc. (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 6-11)
Maybe you've only experienced "borrowing" of concepts, but haven't ever "owned" your own concepts (Zirbel, 2004, p. 11). Maybe you're moving from a borrowing role to an ownership role.

What's next?
What does this say about you --as a person? as a teacher?
Do you want to change? What will you do (use the theories to help suggest things you can do) to bring about concept change?
What would it take to make you change your concepts? Could you change your concepts? Is that good thing or a bad thing?
What does this experience with concept change make you think about teaching? about learning?

Discerning Concept Change
Exploring Evidence of Things Not Seen
Assumption #1:
I'm hoping for concept change.
I want you to experience concept change. This class has been an attempt to solicit some degree of concept change.
My theory of learning is based on concept change: that what we're doing when we really learn something is that we're changing our concepts.
Concept change is a desireable thing. It's not something to avoid; it's not a sin; it's good for us as individuals, and it's necessary for us as a species.
Concept change is what's required for us to to move on to a higher level of thinking, being, acting, etc.
Assumption #2:
It's unlikely you've experienced concept change during this course.
Concept change takes time.
Three months isn't long enough.
If you have changed a concept during this course, you were probably already well on your way to changing it (and we just gave you the push over the cliff).
Concept change requires hard work on that concept.
Feelings might change over night or over a semester, but change of core concepts typically requires certain conditions are in place (see Posner), that you create an alternative concept, that you test it, etc.
Concept change is less about encountering new expereinces or new ideas; rather, it's more about the impact of those experiences and ideas have on solving problems you have (Posner, 1982, p. 213).
But you could be headed toward concept change. Perhaps, we're looking for a DEGREE of concept change.
How do I explain that I've experienced concept change?
Use the theories:
You need to make the case for how you've actually experiemced conceptual change.
How have the conditions for concept change been met (Posner, 1982, p. 214+):
dissatisfaction--describe how you have become dissatisfied? (pp. 220-222)
intelligibility--describe how new concepts are intelligble? (pp. 216-217)
plausibility--describe how new concepts are plausible? (pp. 218-220)
fruitful--describe how new concepts are fruitful (pp. 222-223)
Desscribe how you have gone through an accommodation process (Posner, 1982, p. 212, p. 223)?
Are there parts of your conceptual ecology which have helped you to select a new concept (Posner, 1982, pp. 214-215):
anomalies--are you in a "sea of anomalies"?
analogies and metaphors--are the old ones not working for you? are new ones fruitful?
epistemological commitments--how have your prior commitments to explanations of things given way to new explanations?
metaphysical beliefs--are your beliefs becoming more intelligble, plausible, and fruitful?
other knowledge--do your current knowledges support your concept change?
Examine your prior epistemology (how you collect information, organize it, and construct concepts) and perhaps how you have had experiences, etc., this semester which have helped you to construct concepts that work for you (Zirbel, 2004, pp. 1-7)
Explain how your "pre-instructional" concepts (from experiences and perceptions, culture. and language) have given way to "instructional" concepts (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 2-5).

Use the terms and concepts in the articles (cite the terms, explain the terms using quotations and your own words, then apply them to your situation--using examples and explanation for how this term applies to you).
What's it mean that I've experienced concept change?
Use the theories:
You've achieved a new, post-dissatisfaction state of being (Compton, 2010, pp. 39-40). What's that like? How are your new concepts more fruitful, intelligble, plausible than the old ones (Posner, 1982, p. 214+)? Where do you go from here? Are you ready to encounter dissatisfaction with this new conception you have?
Maybe you need to explore and explain the development history of your conceptual ecology--to explain where your current concepts came from ... and how you're developing new concepts (Srike, 1992, pp. 158-159; Zirbel, 2004, pp. 1-7; Ruhf, 2003, pp. 2-5). Or, how your new concepts are interacting with your old concepts.
How do you explain the loss of resistance to concept change (Posner, 1982, p. 223; Strike, 1992, pp. 2-6)? Are you still resistant to changing some of your concepts?
Why were you willing to pay the cost of changing your current concepts (Strike, 1992, p. 154)
What is causing you to drop your novice concepts and to develop more mature, experienced concepts (Strike, 1992, pp. 156-157)
Have you also experienced what Fensham, Gunstone & White call "conceptual addition" rather than conceptual change ... or a variety of other, altnerative concepts by other theorists, including "conceptual fitting" or "conceptual competition" or "peripheral conceptual change" (check them out!) (Zirbel, 2004, p. 10). Also look at what diSessa and Sherin call "relational concept change" or Clement, Brown, and Zietsman call "anchoring concepts" (and ones that are "brittle"), etc. (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 6-11)
Do you have a sense of "owning " your concepts (Zirbel, 2004, p. 11)? Are you moving from a borrowing role to an ownership role.

What's next?
What does this say about you --as a person? as a teacher?
Did you want to change? What will you do (use the theories to help suggest things you can do) now that you've had this concept change?
Is that good thing or a bad thing--to change your concepts?
What does this experience with concept change make you think about teaching? about learning?

I have SOLID EVIDENCE of concept change.
"I see a number of little changes that suggest a major change is happening."
"One thing has consumed me all semester long. I keep coming back to it. I'm not sure if I'm changing my concept, but I'm doing something."
"I am in full concept change--maybe not complete change, but I'm definitely in the change process."
"I've dismissed my old ways, and I've acquired a new concept."
What's it mean that I haven't experienced concept change?
Use the theories:
Maybe you're in a place of pre- or post- dissatisfaction (you pick which one and explain it), and you're currently satisfied with your concepts (Compton, 2010, pp. 39-40)
Maybe you need to explore and explain the development history of your conceptual ecology--to explain where your current concepts came from (Srike, 1992, pp. 158-159; Zirbel, 2004, pp. 1-7; Ruhf, , pp. )
Maybe you're resistant to concept change (Posner, 1982, p. 223) or your current concepts are resistant to change (Strike, 1992, pp. )
Maybe you're not serious about learning (Posner, 1982, p. 224)
Maybe you're not willing to pay the cost of changing your current concepts (Strike, 1992, p. 154)
Maybe you're a novice learner with "intuitions," not full-fledged concepts (Strike, 1992, pp. 156-157)
Maybe your current concepts have kept you from experiencing other concepts (Strike, 1992, p. 160)
Maybe you've experienced what Fensham, Gunstone & White call "conceptual addition" rather than conceptual change ... or a variety of other, altnerative concepts by other theorists, including "conceptual fitting" or "conceptual competition" or "peripheral conceptual change" (check them out!) (Zirbel, 2004, p. 10). Also look at what diSessa and Sherin call "relational concept change" or Clement, Brown, and Zietsman call "anchoring concepts" (and ones that are "brittle"), etc. (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 6-11)
Maybe you've only experienced "borrowing" of concepts, but haven't ever "owned" your own concepts (Zirbel, 2004, p. 11)

What's next?
What does this say about you --as a person? as a teacher?
Do you want to change? What will you do (use the theories to help suggest things you can do) to bring about concept change?
What would it take to make you change your concepts? Could you change your concepts? Is that good thing or a bad thing?
What does this experience with concept change (or lack therof) make you think about teaching? about learning?
"Holy Smokes! I'm on Fire" Paper
"I'm in the Middle of Something Here" Paper
"It's Not Happening" Paper
Assumption #3:
There's a basic formula for doing (not necessarily writing) this paper.
You can write this paper in a variety of different ways, but you need to do the following to get ready to write this paper:

First, look for evidence of concept change in all the work you've done in this course.
You're going to need to dig for it!
Second, add theories to help explain the concept change you've experienced.
They'll help draw out aspects you hadn't thought of.
Third, consider the significance, the impact, the results of the concept change you've experienced.
What's it mean that you've changed (or that you haven't changed)?
Assumption #4
It will help if I share my thoughts about examples of how the formula might work.
Your Work + Theories of Concept Change + Significance
Three Examples:
"It's Not Happening" Paper
"I'm in the Middle of Something Here" Paper
"Holy Smokes! I'm on Fire!" Paper
You may not fit into any one of these examples, but I'm hoping you'll find something you can use.
I have NO EVIDENCE of concept change.
"I've got a bunch of random stuff; nothing that suggests any real change or development in my concepts."
"If I'd known that's what we were supposed to do, I would have recorded changes."
"I didn't take the assignments seriously."
"I can see some of my ideas changing, but not core conceptual change."
I have SOME EVIDENCE of concept change.
"I can see some of my ideas changing, but not core conceptual change."
"I didn't think anything was happening, but when I look at my work, I can see change happening."
"I have a number of changing concepts, some seem more advanced than others ... while some are just beginning to change."
"I see a number of little changes that suggest a major change is happening."
How do I explain that I have experienced some degree of concept change?
Use the theories:
You may be trying to show to what degree you've experienced concept change--a little, a lot, more with some concepts, less with others.
Maybe some of the conditions for concept change have been met, but some haven't been met. For example, you may have encountered some intelligible and plausible concepts, but maybe you're not yet dissatisfied with your prior concepts (Posner, 1982, p. 214+):
dissatisfaction--to what degree have you become dissatisfied? (pp. 220-222)
intelligibility--to what degree are new concepts intelligble? (pp. 216-217)
plausibility--to what degree are new concepts plausible? (pp. 218-220)
fruitful--how fruitful are new concepts you've encoutered? (pp. 222-223)
Where are you at in the accommodation process (Posner, 1982, p. 212, p. 223)? Maybe you're only part way through a process of change.
Are there parts of your conceptual ecology which keep you from selecting a new concept or going "all the way" with changing your concepts? (Posner, 1982, pp. 214-215):
anomalies--have you had "failures" with your current conceptions
analogies and metaphors--are the old ones working for you? are new ones fruitful?
epistemological commitments--how committed are you to your prior explanation of things?
metaphysical beliefs--are your beliefs intelligble, plausible, and fruitful enough?
other knowledge--do your current knowledges work for you?
Examine your prior epistemology (how you collect information, organize it, and construct concepts) and perhaps how you have had experiences, etc., this semester which have helped you to begin to constructed concepts that work for you (Zirbel, 2004, pp. 1-7)
Maybe your current concepts are "tenacious" and/or the origins of your "pre-instructional" concepts (from experiences and perceptions, culture. and language) haven't recieved "instructional" concepts effective enough to replace them (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 2-5). Or, what concepts have you experienced this semester, and how are they interacting with your prior concepts? How's that competition working itself out?

Use the terms and concepts in the articles (cite the terms, explain the terms using quotations and your own words, then apply them to your situation--using examples and explanation for how this term applies to you).
What's a Concept Change?
What it's not: (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 1-2)
What it is: (Ruhf, 2003, pp. 5-6)
"I learned something new."
"I changed my mind."
"I've learned about, how to, or to do something."
"What I used to think doesn't explain things anymore."
"I've changed my a core belief."
"I've been assuming something that isn't true."
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