red Supported Site Arizona State University: Teacher-In-Residence

Successes

  • We hired a Teacher in Residence (TIR) with experience as both a classroom teacher (18 years) and university experience as a Modeling Workshop Leader at ASU (10 years). The TIR was therefore able to focus more on PhysTEC project activities rather than solely learning the university environment.
  • The Department of Physics committed to hire the TIR regardless of the success of our proposal. Thus, we were able to bring our TIR on board before funding began.
  • The same TIR was hired for the 2013-2014 academic year, which has proven to benefit the continuity of the program. Thus, she will be hired for the third year of funding as well.
  • The TIR designed and instructed the LA pedagogy course PHY 494/598 Seminar in Teaching and Learning Physics.
  • The TIR reformed and taught PHS 110 Fundamentals of Physical Science course for non-science majors. In spring 2014, three LAs worked with her in her PHS 110 class.
  • The TIR collaborated with physics faculty members to reform PHY 121 University Physics I: Mechanics course (calculus-based, primarily for engineering majors).
  • In fall 2014, TIR will implement a "flipped" PHY 121 course in collaboration with ASU physics lecturer Gary Adams, who is interested in course reform.
  • TIR recruited and hired Learning Assistants to work with PHY 121 Mechanics courses during the spring 2013 and fall 2013 semesters. She also recruited and hired LAs to work with 4 courses during the spring 2014 semester.
  • TIR mentored pre-service STEM teachers and LAs throughout the year, leading weekly meetings with LAs.

Challenges

  • TIR hiring had to be completed outside the parameters of the PhysTEC grant timeline (specifically in the spring prior to the TIRs tenure), as funding approval is not typically provided in accordance with the typical schedule of local districts.
  • Although committed to course reform, the TIR does not have the power to easily change the practice of physics faculty. Impetus is therefore provided by a small force over a very long time, and typical TIR tenure is not that long.

Sustainability

  • The physics department committed to hiring the TIR at ASU prior to involvement with the PhysTEC grant, and has plans to continue sustaining the TIR position in the near future.
  • Approximately 1/3 of the TIR is covered by the PhysTEC grant.

Lessons Learned

  • The TIR has contributed a large amount of progress to the project through her expertise of high school physics teaching and has provided a large network of K-12 teachers that are valuable to the success of our project.
  • The TIR has proven to be an extremely helpful source to LAs and other students who have inquiries about possible careers in physics teaching.

List of TIRs over the Project

  • Fall 2012-Present: Kelli Gamez Warble - eighteen years high school teaching experience; Modeling Workshop leader in physics; Arizona School for the Arts.

Finding and Hiring a TIR

  • Teachers from Research Experience for Teachers (RET) programs may be known to the Physics Department and provide a pool of potential TIRs. (Our TIR did an RET with our department chair.)
  • Teacher-Leaders from professional development programs are good candidates. (Our TIR was a leader of many modeling workshops.)
  • Our TIR will continue to operate as the TIR for the remainder of the project and will hopefully be retained by the department post grant funding.

Typical TIR Activities

  • Teaching one general studies course for non-science majors (PHS 110 Fundamentals of Physical Science).
  • Instructor for LA pedagogy course (PHY 494/598 Seminar in Teaching and Learning Physics).
  • Instructor for PHY 480 Methods of Physics Teaching course for pre-service physics teachers.
  • Collaborator in planning and implementation of any teaching-related/pedagogy courses within the physics department.
  • Mentoring pre-service teachers and helping find appropriate placements.
  • Recruiting, selecting, and training of Learning Assistants.
  • Ambassador to local teachers and school districts, the Teacher's College, and other education-related institutions (such as Teach for America).
  • Collaborator with physics faculty on course reform and the utilization of LAs and TAs.
    • PHY 121 Mechanics course reform with Dr. Adams for fall 2014. This course will utilize LAs and will take place in a SCALE-UP classroom to increase student and instructor interaction.