Collaboration at PhysTEC Sites
Ball State University
Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Florida International University
Seattle Pacific University
University of Arizona
University of Arkansas
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Minnesota
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Western Michigan University
Many new physics teachers find themselves inadequately trained in physics content, unaware of effective physics and physical science teaching methods, or both. Often they have taken teaching methods courses that provide little preparation for the unique challenges of teaching physics. Physics and education faculty must work together to provide future physics teachers with strong pedagogical content knowledge – a combination of deep content knowledge in physics and an understanding of student learning processes and best teaching practices.
Another hallmark of success for a teacher preparation program is meaningful collaboration between universities and local school districts. A National Research Council’s Center for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Education publication recommends that universities and school districts form partnerships to “establish a comprehensive, integrated system of recruiting and advising people who are interested in teaching science, mathematics, and technology.”
PhysTEC has promoted the development of collaborative bridges between physics departments, education schools, and local school districts. Project successes include physics departments actively recruiting future teachers and training them in content-specific pedagogy; education schools developing content-specific teaching methods courses for preservice teachers; and school districts providing practice teaching experiences that will promote inquiry teaching. The linchpin of collaborative efforts has often been the Teacher in Residence, who is in a unique position to be able to use his or her connections in the local school district to improve the preparation, induction, and mentoring of future physics teachers.