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Report Thematic Group 5. PHYSICS TEACHER TRAINING HIGH SCHOOL - UNIVERSITY TRAINING GAP IN PHYSICS. PHYSICS TEACHER TRAINING HIGH SCHOOL - UNIVERSITY TRAINING GAP IN PHYSICS. GARETH JONES (COACH) DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON LONDON (UK) [email protected]

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Report Thematic Group 5

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Report thematic group 5

Report Thematic Group5

PHYSICS TEACHER TRAINING

HIGH SCHOOL - UNIVERSITY TRAINING GAP IN PHYSICS


Report thematic group 5

PHYSICS TEACHER TRAINING

HIGH SCHOOL - UNIVERSITY TRAINING GAP IN PHYSICS

GARETH JONES (COACH)

DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS

IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON

LONDON (UK)

[email protected]

M. C. CARMO

PHYSICS DEPARTMENT

UNIVERSITY OF AVEIRO

AVEIRO (PT)

[email protected]

HAY GEURTS

FACULTY OF SCIENCE

RADBOUD UNIVERSITY NIJMEGEN (NL)

[email protected]

MARIA EBEL

TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY WIEN

PHYSICS DEPARTMENT

WIEN (AT)

[email protected]

OVIDIU CALTUN

DEPARTMENT OF SOLID STATE AND THEORETICAL PHYSICS

ALEXANDRU IOAN CUZA UNIVERSITY

IASI (RO)

[email protected]


Outline

OUTLINE

  • INTRODUCTION/ METHODOLOGY

  • OVERVIEW OF LAST YEAR’S QUESTIONAIRES

  • HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER TRAINING QUESTIONAIRE

  • HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER INTERVIEWS

  • CONCLUSIONS


Introduction

INTRODUCTION

Changes in school education have been occurring in recent decades: in curricula, in students’ attitude, in school organization, in assessment;

Students entering the university do not have enough preparation in physics and mathematics and the gap is growing between the two educational systems;

Teacher quality influences students’ choice on what they wish to study..

In many countries there is – or will be - a shortage of qualified physics teachers in high schools;

If at University level, we do not understand what is happening at schools we will not be able to overcome the gap..


Methodology

METHODOLOGY

MAIN OBJECTIVE OF WG 5

The main theme of this WG is the interface between high schools and university physics departments.

All partners (students, high school teachers, university departments) are involved in this interface.

  • Surveying the views of University Physics Departments (STEPS Questionnaire 2006)

  • Surveying the views of university physics students (STEPS Questionnaire 2006)

  • Surveying the differences in high school teacher training in different countries (STEPS Questionnaire 2007)

  • Personal contact with physics teachers in high schools


Overview of last year s questionaires

OVERVIEW OF LAST YEAR’S QUESTIONAIRES

1. HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2006 STEPS SURVEY AMONG UNIVERSITY PHYSICS DEPARTMENTS

  • There is a general opinion among university staff that the scientific level of incoming students is becoming lower (84% of replies);

  • This has been a continuous process over the last few decades;

  • The main point of concern is the very uneven level of incoming students

  • The general scientific level of the incoming students is considered poor;

  • The evolution is particularly negative for mathematics and physics;

  • Improvements have been observed only for computer skills;


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2. HIGHLIGHTS FROM 2006 STEPS SURVEY ON STUDENT’S VIEWS

  • The majority of our students feel a gap between high school and University.

  • When asked about their main difficulties in the first year they mention several reasons:

  • Low level in mathematics. No previous development of skills in problem solving;

  • Difficulties with basic concepts;

  • Steeper learning curve in University then in high school

  • Much more lectures compared to high school;

  • Much more effort needed due to the large amount of information to be processed;

  • .


High school teachers training survey steps 2007

HIGH SCHOOL TEACHERS’ TRAINING SURVEY (STEPS 2007)

STRUCTURE OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE

Three groups of questions:

  • CHANGES IN NATIONAL REGULATIONS?

  • THE GENERAL PATTERN OF DEGREES IN TEACHING

  • WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TEACHER TRAINING?

72 valid replies from 161 partners in STEPS network


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WHAT HAS CHANGED IN TEACHER EDUCATION?

Fig 1: National/regional regulations for the Curricula for Physics Teacher Training

Fig 2: Changes due to the Bologna Process


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Fig 3: Requirement for training in more than one subject.


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Fig 4:Teaching in more than one subject

  • Most physics teachers teach more then one subject and physics is also taught by other subject teachers.

  • There are many subject combinations possible (different even at country level), due to physics teacher shortage


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Q.6: Do physics teachers usually teach a second subject?

If so, what are the most common subjects?

Fig 4 b: Most common combinations of teaching subjects

Code Colour:

CHEMISTRY

MATHEMATICS

MATHS/IT/CHEM

COMBINED SCIENCES

NO INFORMATION


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  • TEACHER TRAINING:

  • It is necessary to ensure that future teachers have the appropriate subject knowledge

  • In many countries teachers normally teach two or more subjects (and physics is taught by teachers of other subject areas)

  • Appropriate knowledge of pedagogical issues associated with the sciences taught .

    HOW IS THIS ACHIEVED IN PRACTICE?

    (Q 4: What is the content of the teacher training curricula in terms of credits?)


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IS THERE A GENERAL PATTERN OF DEGREES IN TEACHING?

  • Q 4: Most common situations encountered:

  • A 300 ECTS degree

  • A one year master on top of relevant bachelor (normally followed by a year of probation in high school)

  • A two year (120 ECTS) master

  • Many variations in structure even in the same country!


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Fig 5: Example taken from 2007 STEPS questionnaire: a teaching degree structured in 300 ECTS


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Fig 6: Example taken from 2007 STEPS questionnaire: a teaching degree structured in 300 ECTS


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Fig 7: Example taken from 2007 STEPS questionnaire: one year master in education on top of appropriate bachelor


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Fig 8: Example taken from 2007 STEPS questionnaire; a 120 ECTS master in education


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WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TEACHER TRAINING?

Fig 9 : The University is mostly responsible for Teacher Training


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TEACHER APOINTMENT

Q10. How are teachers appointed?

Fig 10: Responsibility in teacher appointment (STEPS Questionnaire)

Colour code

NATIONAL/REGIONAL LISTS

HEADMASTER DECISION

A few countries have also an entrance examination


High school teacher interviews

HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER INTERVIEWS

SCHOOLS VISITED:

AUSTRIA (2); NETHERLANDS (2); PORTUGAL (2); ROMANIA (3) ; U.K (1)

  • STRUCTURE OF INTERVIEW

  • Characterization of school

  • Pattern of teaching - hours per week, exercise classes, experimental, demonstrations (Physics and Mathematics)

  • Evolution of student numbers over years

  • Staff

  • Open questions (Main problems, opinion on curricula, gap between university and high school)


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IT IS HARD TO BE A PHYSICS TEACHER !

Highlights from interviews

  • ‘Frequent changes in curricula, drawbacks with textbooks, not enough practical work, lack of didactical tools, lack of comunication between schools and university’

  • Too much time spent to turn working horses into racing horses and too less time spent to make racing horses race better

  • Physics is a hard subject for students and for teachers. It needs a continued effort, motivation and enthusiasm.

  • The lack of specialized teachers in the area determines the limited number of students in secondary physics. The students do not choose physics or have little motivation for it.

  • Not enough time (in the timetable) devoted to Physics. Syllabus does not give the right coverage of physics topics and physics syllabus is too little mathematically based;

  • Too little laboratory classes/ lab spaces where pupils can work independently on their practical assignments;


Conclusions

CONCLUSIONS

The teacher’s are better prepared to deal with many pedagogical problems than they used to be but the challenges they face in the classrooms are bigger than ever.

Several examples of good practices and suggestions to improve the present situation have been identified:

  • AT THE UNIVERSITY LEVEL TO BRIDGE THE KNOWLEDGE GAP :

  • We quote the most common measures cited:

    • Pre-entrance refresher courses in physics and mathematics to level up students; restructure of university curricula; extra courses;

    • Spend more time with basic concepts and allow for a more gradual learning or lower the 1st year work load; small group teaching; more student guidance (extra tutorials, extra homework, extra question time, more discussion time; more evaluation, more planning of experiments); e-learning in maths; Extra time for problem solving;


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AT THE INTERFACE UNIVERSITY-HIGH SCHOOLTEACHERS:

Many high school physics teachers claim that there is not enough communication between the two educational systems;

The continuous training of physics teachers needs to be addressed in the context of new Bologna legislation and LLL. These should take into account that many teachers teaching physics do not have a physics background and the main difficulties faced by first year students;

Special attention should be given to training modules in: experimental physics; lecture demonstrations; problem solving and modelling; project guided oriented curricula.


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