Identifying and reconstruction common cold misconceptions among developing K-12 educators

Document Type




Common cold misconceptions may contribute to ill-informed decisions and recommendations made by K–12 educators who often encounter infected students. Understanding the structure of educators' misconceptions can be used to improve health instruction in teacher professional preparation programs.


The purposes of this project were to (1) identify prevalent common cold misconceptions held by preservice educators and (2) test the effectiveness of a refutational text meant to promote the adoption of scientifically appropriate common cold conceptions.

Study 1

An assessment concerning the common cold was completed by 44 preservice teachers. Misconceptions, such as cold weather triggering the common cold, were prevalent.

Study 2

A total of 86 participants completed the same assessment as used in study 1 before and after reading a common cold refutational text. Participants demonstrated gains in scientifically appropriate common cold conceptions.


Identifying common cold misconceptions among preservice teachers can be used to build instructional materials (i.e., refutational text).

Translation to Health Education Practice

Teacher preparation programs and health educators may find it useful to identify common cold misconceptions prior to instruction as a way of confirming the underlying structure of their students' misconceptions and utilize refutational texts to facilitate reconstruction of students' common cold conceptions.


Communication | Community-Based Research | Diseases | Education | Elementary Education and Teaching | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Medicine and Health | Teacher Education and Professional Development


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