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Indiana University South Bend

Indiana University South Bend Website

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Jerry Hinnefeld
Monika Lynker

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The Dept. of Physics and Astronomy and the Dept. of Mathematical Sciences at Indiana University South Bend propose to increase significantly the number of qualified high school physics teachers we graduate by pairing physics with mathematics in our teacher training and certification activities. Few high schools in Indiana can offer enough physics classes to support a full-time physics teacher. Consequently, our physics education program has historically ensured that physics teachers were also certified to teach general science and physical science, by requiring them to complete a number of courses in chemistry, biology, and earth science. Success in upper level physics courses, though, requires extensive coursework in mathematics rather than in other sciences. This suggests that mathematics courses might be a more natural choice than general science courses to fill out the schedule of the typical high school physics teacher. A key feature of the PhysTEC program at IU South Bend will be to prepare students to teach both physics and mathematics, either as physics majors with a math minor or as math majors with a physics minor.

Specific activities to be carried out as part of our PhysTEC program include: (1) Maintain a strong commitment to active learning pedagogies in introductory courses; (2) develop a robust and effective Learning Assistant program based on the experience of established programs around the country; (3) explore ways to provide a path to licensure for students who major in physics or math rather than education, by ensuring that they receive the necessary pedagogical training and develop the necessary understanding of middle- and high-school-aged students; (4) use the PhysTEC site designation to raise awareness among our students of the urgent need for qualified physics teachers and to encourage them to consider a teaching career; and (5) utilize a part-time Teacher-In-Residence to provide coaching to Learning Assistants, early teaching experiences in her own classroom, and expert advice on building a successful career as a secondary physics and math teacher. These activities address many of the PhysTEC Key Components, including Course Transformation, Learning Assistants, Master Teachers, Early Teaching Experiences, Recruitment, Collaboration, and Sustainability.

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Jerry Hinnefeld Jerry Hinnefeld