Elementary Teacher Education

Selected Elementary Teacher Education Resources

Z. Hrepic, P. Adams, J. Zeller, N. Talbott, G. Taggart, and L. Young, Developing an Inquiry-Based Physical Science Course For Preservice Elementary Teachers presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2005, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2005.

S. Robinson, F. Goldberg, and V. Otero, Physics for Elementary Teachers: A New Curriculum (2005).

P. Ashcraft, Modeling Aspects of Nature of Science to Preservice Elementary Teachers presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2006, Syracuse, New York, 2006.

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A growing body of evidence suggests that students' early educational experience can profoundly influence their attitudes toward science and their decisions whether or not to pursue a science career. Elementary teachers cannot be expected to master physics concepts at the same level as a high school teacher who specializes in the field, but research has shown that carefully constructed semester-long curricula can significantly improve both elementary teachers' attitudes toward science and their ability to teach using inquiry.

Elementary Teacher Education Strategies

Consider developing or adapting a physics course for elementary teachers that employs an interactive learning curriculum. These courses are a great way to engage physics faculty in reformed pedagogy, and can be easily done by physics faculty with proper training. Examples include:

Physics and Everyday Thinking (PET) - a highly interactive, hands-on introductory course suitable for preservice elementary teachers; developed by Fred Goldberg at San Diego State University

Powerful Ideas in Physical Science (PIPS) - a six-volume inquiry-based curriculum from AAPT for future elementary teachers.

Physics by Inquiry (PbI) - a set of laboratory-based modules that provide a step-by-step introduction to physics and the physical sciences.

Towson University has prepared a resource folder for instructors of its field experience course.

Emphasize teaching by inquiry in courses for elementary students that include field experiences. Give your pre-service teachers the opportunity to practice and reflect on the style of teaching you want them to adopt.

Hire a Teacher-in-Residence (TIR) to work with future elementary teachers. The opportunity to learn from a master teacher is just as beneficial for future elementary teachers as it is for future high school teachers.