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Given their inherently abstract nature, many scientific concepts, such as Newton's laws of motion, directly conflict a "working" and immediate understanding of the world. Where this is the case, such conceptual conflicts can give rise to serious obstacles to students' acceptance and understanding of scientific ideas. In contrast, a wide range of other scientific ideas, assumptions, and concepts are not obviously related to practical experience. Students' misconceptions about these more abstract scientific ideas, for example, the atomic theory, the wave–particle nature of light, the cell theory of biological organization, and the theory of evolution are often grounded in past instruction. In analogy to physician-induced (iatrogenic) disease (iatrogenesis), didaskologenic (or didaktikogenic) (from the Greek dáskalos for "teacher")[1] ideas (and misconceptions) arise from and are reinforced during the course of instruction. Particularly in the more abstract sciences, where many ideas are inherently counter-intuitive, didaskologenic scientific misconceptions often arise through the use of inappropriate analogies in the course of instruction.[2][3][4]

As examples, there are the ideas that the breaking of a bond can release energy (when all bonds require energy to break), the depiction of molecular processes using non-random molecular motions, the depiction of electron orbitals, and the molecular level effects of mutations on organismic phenotypes. A number of such errors are found in textbooks[5][6] and various instructional animations.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Simanek, D.E. 2008 Didaktikogenic Physics Misconceptions: Student misconceptions induced by teachers and textbooks. link
  2. ^ Feynmann, R. The Messenger Series: Probability and Uncertainty. link
  3. ^ Lipuma, J.M. 2008. Obstacles to science literacy: Study summary and bibliography link
  4. ^ Cooper, M.M. et al. 2010. Lost in Lewis Structures: An Investigation of Student Difficulties in Developing Representational Competence. J. Chem Ed. doi:10.1021/ed900004y link
  5. ^ Campanario, J.M. 2006. Using textbook errors to teach physics: examples of specific activities. link
  6. ^ Hubisz, J.L. 2003. Middle school texts don't make the grade. American Institute of Physics, edited by Stephen G. Benka, Gloria B. Lubkin, Steven K. Blau. p. 50-54. link