The 5+ Club Supported SiteThe 5+ Club Supported Site Georgia State University: Early Teaching Experience

Successes

  • One pre-service and one in-service PhysTEC student served as interns in June 2014 in the GSU Academy for Future Teachers (AFT) summer program for high school students with interest in STEM teaching.
  • Eleven undergraduate students were Learning Assistants in 2013-2014. Most served as Learning Assistants in the algebra-based studio-style physics classes while one LA led tutorials for a pilot of new laboratories in calculus-based physics.
  • All LAs completed a physics pedagogy course.

Challenges

  • No physics majors were recruited in 2013-2014 into FOCUS (Fostering Our Communities Understanding of Science), which includes teaching experience in an elementary science class. The FOCUS class is undergoing a change in leadership, which will require establishing a new connection between it and the physics program.
  • Recruiting LAs is difficult. It may become easier in the coming year when use of LAs to teach tutorials is expanded to all calculus-based introductory physics classes and LAs are more visible to students in those classes.
  • Paying LAs as participants became problematic due to a restriction that students couldn't be paid as employees and participants in the same year. All LAs were converted to employees after the first semester and overhead charges had to be removed manually.

Sustainability

  • The relationship the between PhysTEC project and leadership of AFT program was strengthened.
  • The Learning Assistant program is an integral part of the newly redesigned laboratories for calculus-based introductory physics courses.
  • The new undergraduate course in physics pedagogy is required of LAs, co-taught with the pedagogy course for new physics graduate students, and can be counted toward physics degree requirements.

Lessons Learned

  • Students with an interest in teaching get very energized by the opportunity to participate in a teaching experience.

Activities

  • Recruitment of two PhysTEC students to be interns in AFT.
  • Recruitment of LAs for each semester.
  • Creation of the physics pedagogy course taught for first time in Fall 2013.
  • Redesign of graduate physics pedagogy course taught in Fall 2013.