Thompson Christensen Wittmann on graduate course in PER

John R. Thompson, Warren M. Christensen, Michael C. Wittmann

Preparing future teachers to anticipate student difficulties in physics in a graduate-level course in physics, pedagogy, and education research

We describe courses designed to help future teachers reflect on and discuss both physics content and student knowledge thereof. We use three kinds of activities: reading and discussing the literature, experiencing research-based curricular materials, and learning to use the basic research methods of physics education research. We present a general overview of the two courses we have designed as well as a framework for assessing student performance on physics content knowledge and one aspect of pedagogical content knowledge—knowledge of student ideas—about one particular content area: electric circuits. We find that the quality of future teachers’ responses, especially on questions dealing with knowledge of student ideas, can be successfully categorized and may be higher for those with a nonphysics background than those with a physics background.

URL: http://link.aps.org/doi/10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010108
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevSTPER.7.010108
PACS: 01.40.J-