red Supported Site California State University, Long Beach: Early Teaching Experience

Successes

  • PHYS390 (Early Teaching Experience course) was offered for the second time in Spring 2012 with 9 students. In Spring 2013, 26 students enrolled in PHYS 390. PHYS 390 has sufficient student demands to continue as a regular course.
  • Students tutored 42 hours of physics in the College's Student Access to Science Center in Spring 2012. In AY 2012-13, LAs and PHYS 390 students tutored 624 hours.
  • Students served as pre-Learning Assistants in PHYS151 (calculus-based Mechanics) labs. This worked well, students felt helpful and useful to the prospective physics teachers and to the students in PHYS151.
  • The paid LA program started with 3 LAs who took PHYS 390 in Spring 2011. They worked in PHYS 151 lab and tutored in the SAS center for 44 hours. The PHYS 151 instructor who worked with the LAs was very satisfied with their performance.
  • In AY 2012-13, seven LAs were placed in PHYS 151 labs. The students in the LA sections have significantly higher FCI gain and show improved attitude and confidence toward problem-solving in general (based on Colorado Learning Attitude about Science Survey, CLASS). The data was shared with the Dean, and it generated a strong support for the LA program. 10 LAs will be supported by the College for AY 2013-14.
  • Before PHYS 390, no Physics majors were available as a tutor in the College's Student Access to Science (SAS) Center. In Spring 2012, 12 physics majors were tutoring 42 hours total. In AY 2012-13, LAs and PHYS 390 students tutored 624 hours.
  • PHYS 390 has grown from the original "LA Pedagogy" course developed in Colorado, incorporating many of the same activities, and many designed specifically to help physics students at CSULB integrate the pedagogy they learn and the teaching experience they accrue into their experiences as physics majors.
  • The SAS director was so impressed with the LAs, she plans to attend the Colorado LA workshop in 2013.

Challenges

  • High school classroom observation was the weakest portion of the early field experiences since they were in more of an observer role than teacher role. These were reduced in year 3.

Sustainability

  • PHYS 390 is approved by the Curriculum Review process and is approved as an upper division elective for physics majors and minors.
  • The course has already built an excellent reputation. Students were very satisfied with the experience especially about the reflection on teaching and learning.
  • With student demand, PHYS 390 will be continued in the department. There is a discussion of expanding PHYS 390 to Chemistry and/or Engineering.

Lessons Learned

  • PHYS 390 is currently in an optimum format.

Activities

  • Students in PHYS 390 tutored 42 hours of physics in the College's Student Access to Science Center in Spring 2011. In Spring 2013, PHYS 390 students tutored 260 hours.
  • Students observed and did field work in high school classes. (3 hours/week for 2 weeks).
  • We did get feedback from all the teachers related to our students' performance.
  • PHYS390 students and instructors (PI and TIR) regularly discussed teaching and learning every week. PI and TIR debriefed about the experience on a weekly basis.
  • PHYS 390 class had joint activities with laid-off elementary teachers enrolled in Foundational Level General Science/Math Program to earn a middle school math or science teaching credential including Demo-sharing and Bowlerama (Physics of Bowling).
  • Students received a $250 tuition reimbursement for the successful completion of PHYS 390 in AY 2011-12. No tuition reimbursement was needed in AY 2012-13.
  • PhysTEC Scholars participated in the PhysTEC Mixer and attended and assisted with the Open House. They assisted with the lab activity and participated in the Student Panel.
  • PHYS390 students and PhysTEC Scholars were invited to attend the Southern California American Association of Physics Teachers (SCAAPT) meeting in May.
  • The paid LAs continue meeting weekly with Prof. Pickett to discuss PHYS 151 lab and problem-solving sessions.
  • PHYS 390 has grown from the original "LA Pedagogy" course developed in Colorado, incorporating many of the same activities, and many designed specifically to help physics students at CSULB integrate the pedagogy they learn and the teaching experience they accrue into their experiences as physics majors.