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Learning Assistants Teaching in High Schools
written by Karen King and Doug Steinhoff
Like many physics education programs, the University of Missouri's BS path to certification was greatly under-enrolled -- that is, until recently. We have seen a tremendous growth in the number of physics education majors, from a total of only 2 graduates over a 9 year period, to over 10 graduates expected over the 5 year time span since we began reforms in 2012. Our new high school based Learning Assistant (LA) program appears to have a strong impact on recruiting. As a high school LA, physics education and physics majors can explore teaching as potential career through a paid learning assistantship, similar to a paid undergraduate research experience. College students assist in local high school physics classes approximately 4 hours per week, working with the same group of students almost daily. They gain experience in physics modeling pedagogy, mentored by master teachers who have partaken in MU's "Physics First'' professional development program. After participating in our high school LA program, 87% of students report being either "very interested'' (53%) or "interested'' (33%) in becoming high school physics teachers. Our physics majors appreciate the opportunity to explore teaching, and our physics education students report that the experience has been more far more valuable than their previous education field experiences. In this session, we'll consider how partnering with local high schools might benefit your program, and generate ideas for building such a collaborative effort based on your institutional resources.
2014 PhysTEC Conference
Austin, TX: May 19-20, 2014
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