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Teach with difference: Eliminate Misconceptions through Student Interviews






“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. We cannot rest thinking that what we did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.   We definitely need to change the way our students learn”

This quote always inspires me and I am trying many innovative teaching methods in my classroom.Here is a unique way to remove misconceptions in the students’ minds.

Our students are doing very well when essay type questions are tested but when it comes to multiple choice 80% students are failing to perform well. It is clearly seen in assessments similar to Olympiad Tests and other competitive exams.

Every teacher can conduct interviews after completing her/his lesson teaching and remove misconceptions from the student minds. Teacher can also understand how do our children think and can make an attempt to change her style of teaching to make concepts very clear for the student at the early age.

Interviews are useful for capturing the hidden expression of a participant’s experience. The interviewer can also pursue in-depth information around the topic and understand more about participant’s narration capabilities. Interviews are far more personal form of research than questionnaires. In the personal interview, the interviewer can capture many qualities of a student. Interviews may be time consuming, but, they are resource intensive.

Encourage students to share the facts through effective questioning by the interviewer. It’s one of the powerful ways of preparing children for facing challenges in future. I have always been trying for new teaching methods in my profession. My journey of interviews began with sharing of knowledge between students and teachers by means of personal discussions. Students are encouraged to interact with the guests who the school. I always encouraged face to face to interviews, telephonic interviews, and online interviews to improve my students communication skills, confidence, self esteem and overall personality.

For removing misconceptions in science I chose multiple choice questions to analyze their understanding and conducted interview and I was amazed to find many misconceptions and I could remove them at the early age.

Here is an example of how do our children think and my interview analysis.

  Question - Which process that happens in a tree during photosynthesis?

  1. Making of Food
  2. Breathing
  3. Resting
  4. Losing water


I went to different sections of Class IV with small blank papers and distributed them before posing my question. I asked them to put the right option and write the reason to speak when my interview begins.

Then I collected the papers and called out the students by names and continued my interview with the same question in class V, VI and VII.

When I analyzed my interview I found some misconceptions in 25 sections (1025 students) of my school.

  • In plants breathing means taking in carbon dioxide and giving out oxygen
  • Plants breathe in carbon dioxide where as humans breath in oxygen
  • Plants breath nitrogen as nitrogen is abundant in nature
  • Plants need oxygen during night only
  • Plants never lose water but only absorb water
  • plants breath only night time
  • As gases are exchanged it is breathing
  • Making food daytime and breathing night time

The results, here it is:

  • Out of 1025 students 615 (60 %) students answered it right and explained the process of making food clearly. Opted for A
  • 358 student’s answered B breathing as their option and gave different misconceptions. They were not agreeing for A as they feel exchange of gases is only breathing and as water is not represented in the picture so Option A is wrong
  • 13 students (2%) opted for C as they feel plants need rest like human being
  • 14 students (2%)opted for D as oxygen is present in water arrow shows outgoing so it is loss of water for them

Learning Outcome for Teacher and Taught:

I found this interview is a novel way of getting feed back on our teaching and novel way to remove misconceptions from young minds.

As we all know reading and knowing is vastly different from learning and understanding. The line between these is so thin that generations of teachers and students have failed to distinguish between them, there by defeating very purpose of learning. This interview method certainly seeks to address these issues by clearly pointing parameters required for learning and therefore teaching.

This interview method aims to inculcate the habit of learning, clear misconceptions, understand questions and to generate inquisitiveness in the children. It gives a real life view of the subject, facilitate understanding and there by trigger right imagination.

I sincerely hope this method will surely add new dimension in both learning and teaching and will bring out latent thinking in the child successfully.