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Children’s anthropomorphic and anthropocentric ideas about micro-organisms

By Jenny Byrne, Marcus Grace and Pam Hanley


Different views exist about whether anthropomorphic ideas assist or hinder learning in biology. This paper discusses<br/>the anthropomorphic and anthropocentric ideas children have about micro-organisms, and whether they affect<br/>their understanding. The research was carried out in primary and secondary schools in the South of England and<br/>involved 414 children aged 7, 11 and 14 years. Three different research techniques were used to elicit their ideas.<br/>Anthropomorphic and anthropocentric ideas about micro-organisms are apparent in responses from all age groups.<br/>Anthropomorphic ideas seem to help children to explain their understanding of some aspects of micro-organisms<br/>but the imbalance in children’s anthropocentric views of micro-organisms appears to prohibit them considering<br/>other aspects of micro-organisms; for example, the importance of their role in decomposition and cycling of matter,<br/>or their beneficial technological applications. The focus on the danger micro-organisms are thought to pose to<br/>human health creates a hostile view of micro-organisms and this may inhibit future learning

Topics: LB, QR
Year: 2010
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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