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Sustaining programs in physics teacher education
written by Rachel E. Scherr
For over a decade, physics teacher education programs have been transformed at a number of institutions around the country through support from the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), led by the American Physical Society in partnership with the American Association of Physics Teachers. In 2012-2013, PhysTEC supported an independent study on the sustainability of its sites after project funding ends. The study sought to measure the extent to which programs have been sustained and to identify what features should be prioritized for building sustainable physics teacher education programs. Most PhysTEC legacy sites studied have sustained their production of physics teachers. Some sites studied have thriving physics teacher education programs, that is, programs that have continued to substantially increase their production of teachers since the PhysTEC award. All of the studied sites that sustained their production of physics teachers have a champion of physics teacher education and corresponding institutional motivation and commitment. At some sites, PhysTEC support has precipitated an institutional focus on physics teacher education, leveraging other resources (including both awards and personnel) benefiting physics teacher education. The study also documented the sustainability of components of physics teacher education programs, such as recruitment, early teaching experiences, and a teacher in residence. The number of sustained components does not appear to correspond to teacher production; that is, sites that have sustained more (or fewer) components do not produce larger (or smaller) numbers of teachers. This result further supports the finding that the presence of the champion and corresponding institutional motivation and commitment are the key features of successful physics teacher education programs.
2014 PhysTEC Conference
Winter AAPT Meeting
PhysTEC Advisory Committee Meeting
College Park, MD: December 9, 2013
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