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Increasing the Confidence of Junior High School Teachers in Teaching Physics by Acquiring Qualitative Understanding

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Title: Increasing the Confidence of Junior High School Teachers in Teaching Physics by Acquiring Qualitative Understanding


1
Increasing the Confidence of Junior High School
Teachers in Teaching Physics by Acquiring
Qualitative Understanding
  • Roni Mualem and Bat-Sheva Eylon
  • Department of Science Teaching
  • The Weizmann Institute of Science
  • Rehovot, ISRAEL

2
Central Goal of Physics Teaching at the Junior
High School Level
  • Qualitative Understanding of Basic Concepts and
    Principles and Their Application in Everyday
    Phenomena

3
Everyday Phenomena
4
What do We Mean By Qualitative Understanding?
  • Operational Definition
  • Understanding Performances
  • According to Perkins

The ability to Explain, Give Examples,
Predict and Apply.
5

Science Teachers in Israel
  • Have a background mainly in biology
  • Their knowledge of physics is limited
  • Have low confidence
  • Dont see the relevance of physics to
    everyday experience

6
A Part from an Interview with a Junior High
School Science Teacher
  • When I teach topics that are in the domain of
    biology, I can easily bring my students a large
    arsenal of examples that are extended far beyond
    the specific topic that is being discussed in
    classThis is not the case when I teach physicsI
    spend many hours in preparing myself for every
    single lesson throughout all the teaching of
    physics

7
  • All these reasons make me feel very uncertain
    my self confidence is low and I feel stressed and
    even nervous. When I'm forced to solve problems
    that are raised during instruction, that I have
    not solved in advance, I project uncertainty in
    my answer that it may be incorrectwhat makes me
    feel embarrassed and uncomfortable I don't like
    to teach this domain!"

8
A New Approach
  • Very successful with junior high school students
  • Has a long-lasting effect

9
Results of content knowledge questionnaire (FCI
Additional Problems)
ltggt Posttest (Sd) Pretest (Sd) approach n Grade

0.48 Plt0.001 67 (21.4) 36 (18.6) Yes 106 9th Graders
50 (14.9) No 32 Science Teachers
62 (17.3) No 98 High School Advanced
ltggt (posttest score pretest score)/(100
pretest score)
10
Typical FCI Questions
11
Results of Two FCI Items (n32)
FCI item 15 FCI item 4
AF1 Correct AR1 Correct
69 () 15.6 () 59.3 () 40.6 ()
AR1- action reaction 1 greater mass implies
greater force AF1- active force 1 only active
agents exert forces
12
Problems
Content knowledge
Views of relevance
Confidence
Motivation to Teach
Implementation
13
How Can We Change Teachers Ability to Teach?
14
Making a Change
  • Enhancement in teachers' confidence in their
    knowledge of physics
  • Change in teachers views about relevance and
    interest in physics
  • Provide a useful pedagogy to enable teachers to
    instruct for qualitative understanding
    (pedagogical content knowledge)

15
Constraint Quantitative Knowledge is Not an
Option
16
Conceptual Framework
  • System approach
  • Interaction
  • Force
  • Motion

17
Problem-Solving Strategy
18
System Characterization
Dog
Rope
Boy
Ground
Earth
Earth Ground Boy Rope Dog
- 0 Dog
- 0 Rope
0 - Boy
0 - Ground
0 Earth
19
From System to Selected Objects
20
Since the dog does not change its velocity,
the net force must be zero.
Forces and Motion
21
If the dog is accelerating toward the boy..
Forces and Motion
22
Who is Afraid of Physics?
  • Three days special training intensive course of
    20 hours teachers as learners
  • Implementation options 5 (minimum), 10 or 15
    (advanced) hours of instruction- feasibility
  • Action research by the teachers, monthly
    meetings, a telephone hot line and e-mail-
    follow up

23
Changes in the Teachers Views Before and After
the Workshop (Likert scale 1- 4 , n15, aCh0.95)
Change in ability to instruct other teachers Change in ability to teach students Change in knowledge Concepts/Laws
0.25 (n.s.) 0.39 (plt0.03) 0.52 (plt0.01) Focal concepts and principles
0.26 (n.s.) 0.08 (n.s.) 0.38 (plt0.03) Other concepts and principles
24
Spearman Correlation Coefficients in Teachers'
Post Views (n30, a0.95)
ability to instruct other teachers ability to teach Students Views
0.62 (plt0.0063) 0.46 (plt0.05) 0.87 (plt0.0001) 0.93 (plt0.0001) Knowledge of focal content Knowledge of other content
25
Few Teachers Remarks
  • The teaching skills that were presented in the
    workshop were very important to me
  • The best thing in this workshop was its
    simplicity
  • Simplifying complex concepts was the essences of
    this workshop
  • The simplicity of the use of the concept
    interaction allows me to provide the lower
    level students with the feeling of success

26
Summary
  • Students and teachers claim that they are
    empowered by the approach and it enables them to
    understand better the world around them.
  • Biology teachers who usually do not teach physics
    are more willing to, and are less afraid to teach
    physics with this method.
  • Students and teachers improve their views
    concerning the difficulty and interest of physics
    learning.
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