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Using action research methodology, three classes of students taught by the author were investigated focusing on their primitive/intuitive probabilistic conceptions and its influence. The study consists of 2 stages with 3 cycles, lasting for one academic year. In the first stage, a whole class teaching strategy was used, including analogical comparison, cognitive conflict, and introducing scientific knowledge to help the students become conscious of and test on their primitive intuitions, and then the Intuitive Rules and meta-cognitive arousal were activated. The initial results showed that students’ intuitive misconceptions were significantly reduced however for some students their primary intuitions were still active and refuted to accept the value of teaching intervention. To resolve these problems, in the second stage, the author introduced several formats of classroom discussion and focus groups investigation. Although this exploratory teaching had a positive influence on most students, and yet few students were still interfered by the coerciveness of intuition, and felt confused holding firmly their primary thoughts. The results showed that the percentage of students’ correct answers were increased, they were also more able to explain what they wrote, and a few students could even make the underlying differences between varied probabilistic questions and also get more confidence in the process of probabilistic thinking. Based on the results of this 2-stage/3-cycle study, for some students, whilst being able to grasp the intuitive misconceptions, they were still unable to resist or conquer the nature of mathematical intuition. After having successfully corrected the original intuitive misconceptions, they either returned to the primitive misconceptions or reverted to their primary intuition when they encountered unfamiliar questions. These evidences seem to suggest that the unique features of intuition influence not only student present learning of probabilistic concepts but also their future learning of the concepts. In other words, those primitive intuitions never completely disappear they exist a considerable period after learning it. What the most encouraging for the author is that several students were not only able to amend their primitive misconceptions, but also able to go a step further and transform this into scientific secondary intuition even modifying their views about primary and secondary intuition. This corroborates with the teaching hypotheses of “Primary intuition can be learned, and through teaching can be intervened and corrected” (Fischbein, 1987; Resnick, 1999). In order to cope with students’ intuitive misconceptions in teaching, teachers should carefully integrate those students’ primitive probabilistic intuitions with mathematical logic.
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