Pedagogical Content Knowledge

Selected Pedagogical Content Knowledge Resources

Eugenia Etkina, "Pedagogical content knowledge and preparation of high school physics teachers" in in Teacher Education in Physics," edited by D.E. Meltzer and P.S. Shaffer.

Pages 105-113 of David E. Meltzer, Monica Plisch, and Stamatis Vokos, editors, Transforming the Preparation of Physics Teachers: A Call to Action, A Report by the Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics (T-TEP)(American Physical Society, College Park, MD, 2012).

John R. Thompson, Warren M. Christensen, and Michael C. Wittmann, "Preparing future teachers to anticipate student difficulties in physics in a graduate-level course in physics, pedagogy, and education research, in Teacher Education in Physics," edited by D.E. Meltzer and P.S. Shaffer.

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Pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) is subject-specific knowledge about teaching that includes student difficulties and prior conceptions, as well as content-specific instructional and assessment strategies. PCK has come to be recognized as a crucial element of what teachers need to be effective in the classroom.

Pedagogical Content Knowledge Strategies

Create one or more courses focused on PCK. The best way for students to learn PCK is through a specialized course taught by someone who is an expert in PCK. The Rutgers Certification Program in Physical Science or Physics Education has been recognized as a model program for developing PCK.

Include PCK in Learning Assistant training. PCK instruction is one of the elements that sets Learning Assistant programs apart from traditional teaching assistantships.

Make sure that teachers supervising field placements are versed in PCK. The student teaching experience is a critical time when preservice teachers must be supported in practicing the methods they have been taught.

Make sure your program incorporates research-based methods. Physics education research has elucidated a large number of common misconceptions that students have about physics, as well as effective strategies for addressing those misconceptions.

Provide preservice and inservice teachers with subject-specific mentoring. Only an experienced physics teacher can help a novice teacher identify and address student difficulties and prepare appropriate lessons and activities.