OCR has unveiled a new range of teaching and learning resources that put student misconceptions in the spotlight. The new resources support teachers preparing for new GCSEs and A Levels to be taught in schools from 2015 onwards.
OCR’s approach is based on teacher feedback. Over seven months, the independent research arm of parent organisation, Cambridge Assessment, talked to GCSE teachers from a range of state and private schools about UK curriculum resources, as well as online resources from Canada and Australia.
A key finding was that teachers wanted more focus on student misconceptions. One of the teachers in the science focus group thought that a Canadian resource which highlighted student misconceptions about the movement of particles was “gold dust”. A maths teacher in the research confessed: “As a new teacher who’s always been good at maths, it was very difficult for me to understand what pupils do wrong and the misconceptions they hold.” By contrast, teachers in humanities subjects such as English, called for more information about metacognition – how students learn to learn.
Ellen Weavers, OCR’s Head of Commissioning, said: “Teachers told us that resources which explain student misunderstandings and address higher level concepts can be a real eye-opener. So we have made that an important part of our new support resources.”
OCR’s new teaching and learning resources, in the form of Delivery Guides, Transition Guides and Lesson Elements, incorporate the approaches favoured by teachers in the research. The new Transition Guide for A Level Geography teachers, for example, provides a task to help confront a misconception commonly held by GCSE students, that there are more tectonic hazards (such as earthquakes) in developing countries than in developed ones. In fact, both countries face tectonic hazards, but the impact may be greater in developing countries because of other factors. As well as providing guidance on key higher level concepts, OCR’s new A Level Psychology Delivery Guide points out that students often approach the subject as a lens to explain abnormal behaviour only.
Take a look at OCR’s new resources, focused initially on qualifications being developed for first teaching from 2015.