Teacher Education in Physics: Research, Curriculum, and Practice

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), a project of the American Physical Society (APS) and American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), has published a compendium of research articles on the preparation of physics and physical-science teachers, Teacher Education in Physics. This book came about due to an increasing national recognition of a need for improved preparation of physics and physical science teachers. Although there is an extensive and growing body of research and research-based practice in physics teacher education, there has been no single resource for scholarly work in this area. In response, the PhysTEC project management selected editors and an editorial board for the book based on recommendations from the physics education community. The editorial group worked to devise a set of guidelines regarding submission of manuscripts. This resulting book includes new reports that reflect cutting-edge research and practice, as well as reprints of previously published seminal papers.


The goal of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) in publishing this collection is to help inspire a broadening of the scholarship that PER is already bringing to undergraduate physics to include more work in the area of teacher education. Integrated in this goal is the desire to bring recognition to faculty members who devote a portion of their professional lives to educating teachers, and to understanding how best to improve the teacher education processes that exist in universities today. Our hope is to help build for teacher education the type of foundation enjoyed in experimental physics today that distinguishes it so readily from the physics of a century ago.


The papers included in this book address physics and physical-science teacher preparation, with a focus on physics education research and research-based instruction and curriculum development. The primary audience is physics department chairs and faculty members at physics-degree-granting institutions in the United States. However, the book is also envisioned to be useful for faculty in colleges of education who are engaged in physics teacher preparation.

The book has three primary objectives:

  1. to provide a resource for physics departments and faculty members who wish to develop and/or expand efforts in teacher preparation;
  2. to encourage scholarly documentation of ongoing research and practice, in a form accessible to a broad audience of physicists; and
  3. to encourage recognition of teacher preparation as a scholarly endeavor appropriate for faculty in physics departments.


David E. Meltzer
Arizona State University

Associate Editor

Peter S. Shaffer
University of Washington

Editorial Board

Robert Beichner
North Carolina State University

Karen Cummings
Southern Connecticut State University

Andrew Elby
University of Maryland, College Park

Fred Goldberg
San Diego State University

Jill A. Marshall
University of Texas at Austin

Valerie K. Otero
University of Colorado at Boulder

Gene Sprouse
American Physical Society

Richard N. Steinberg
City College of New York

Jan Tobochnik
Kalamazoo College

Stamatis Vokos
Seattle Pacific University