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Physics Teacher Education ~ Problems and Solutions. Dr. Carl J. Wenning Department of Physics Illinois State University cwenning@ilstu.edu. National Problems. Nationwide… 1.1M students are taking physics with 23k teachers. there are 1,200 “new hire” physics teachers annually.

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physics teacher education problems and solutions

Physics Teacher Education~Problems and Solutions

Dr. Carl J. Wenning

Department of Physics

Illinois State University

cwenning@ilstu.edu

national problems
National Problems
  • Nationwide…
    • 1.1M students are taking physics with 23k teachers.
    • there are 1,200 “new hire” physics teachers annually.
    • only about 1/3 of new hires have a degree in physics or physics teaching.
  • Nationally there are not enough…
    • high school physics teachers.
    • physics teacher education majors.
    • quality teacher preparation programs.

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local problems
Local Problems
  • Ultimately all problems are local.
    • How do we do a better job of recruiting, preparing, and retaining high school physics teachers?
  • Several successful PTE models exist:
      • PhysTEC/PTEC
      • UTeach
      • Other university models:
        • Rutgers University
        • SUNY College at Buffalo
        • Western Michigan University
        • Illinois State University

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classification of problems
Classification of Problems
  • Recruitment– How do we entice high school students into physics teaching careers?
  • Preparation – How do we best educate our candidates so that they know and are able to do the work of the physics teacher?
  • Retention– How do we keep recently certified physics teachers working in the classroom?

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illinois pipeline project
Illinois Pipeline Project
  • Using a $500 AAPT mini grant, the ISAAPT started the Illinois Pipeline Project in 2004.
  • Our first step was to examine the existing situation in Illinois.
  • Our second step was to initiate marketing. We decided to:
    • identify the appeal of physics teaching,
    • communicate availability of programs, and
    • promote superior quality products.

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recruitment recommendations
Recruitment Recommendations
  • Direct practices:
    • Student brochure/teacher booklet/web sites
    • Campus visits, mailings, phone calls
    • Departmental scholarship program
    • Solicitation of non-PTE majors/advising
  • Indirect practices:
    • Program graduates
    • Workshops for in-service teachers
    • PTE programs with significant Web presence
    • Learning and outreach assistants

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isaapt recruitment resources
ISAAPT Recruitment Resources
  • Brochure and booklet published jointly by three state science teacher associations in 2007.
  • Illinois Science Teaching Web site
  • ISAAPT.org/teach Web site
  • Detailed recommendations in a JPTEO report

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preparation a conundrum
Preparation: A conundrum…
  • How does one develop a large body of PTE majors unless one has a program of quality?
  • How does one develop a program of quality unless one has a large body of PTE majors?
  • Illinois State University appears to have solved the conundrum.

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evolution of pte@isu
Evolution of PTE@ISU
  • “Development of the physics teacher educ- ation program at Illinois State University (an APS Forum on Education article)
  • “Change principles for departmentally-based physics teacher education program” (a JPTEO article). Change predicated on:
    • a commitment to programmatic change
    • an understanding of how to initiate change
    • adequate release time to make changes
    • modeling of appropriate teaching practices
    • a faculty that supports change efforts

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pte major preparation @ isu
PTE Major Preparation @ ISU
  • Begins early and is prolonged.
  • Supported with good advisement.
  • Consists of six required undergraduate physics teaching methods courses, and includes independent study for those interested in:
    • Modeling Mechanics
    • Models of Light
    • CASTLE
    • Other 2nd semester topics from Modeling
    • Amusement Park Physics
    • Physics by Inquiry

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physics teaching courses
Physics Teaching Courses
  • Required undergraduate courses:
    • PHY 209 - Introduction to Teaching HS Physics
    • PHY 302 - Computer Applications in HS Physics
    • PHY 310 - Readings for Teaching HS Physics
    • PHY 311 - Teaching HS Physics
    • PHY 312 - Inquiry Methods for HS Physics
    • PHY 353 - Student Teaching Seminar
    • STT399.72 - Student Teaching in Physics
  • Numerous graduate courses available.

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other notable aspects
Other Notable Aspects
  • Service Learning Project (209)
  • Urban Studies Field Trip (209)
  • Capstone Research Project (302)
  • Case Studies in Tutoring (310)
  • Diagnostic Learning Environment Project (311)
  • Lesson Study Project (311)
  • Theory-into-Practice Project (311)
  • NOS Case Studies (311, 312)
  • Social Context Project (353)
  • STT Effectiveness Reporting System (353)

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pte@isu web site
PTE@ISU Web Site
  • Program overview
    • Goals of teacher preparation
    • Philosophy of preparation
    • Student knowledge base
  • Course syllabi
    • Objectives
    • Activities
    • Assessments

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retention in physics teaching
Retention in Physics Teaching
  • 54 PTE graduates since 1995 (including 2 alternative certification candidates)
  • 87% are still in the teaching field
  • It is our belief that quality preparation leads to retention in teaching
  • Now initiating an e-mentoring program for graduates to promote and sustain quality teaching, and retain teachers

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current retention practices
Current Retention Practices
  • ISAAPT guidebook program
  • Professional development workshops:
    • Modeling Method of Instruction
    • Problem-based Learning
  • Summer on-campus and on-line graduate courses for in-service teachers
  • PTE@ISU alumni group:
    • Listserv news & updates
    • Regional reunions

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initiatives for 2009
Initiatives for 2009
  • New/crossover teacher workshops
    • Applying for a $2,000 AAPT mini grant
    • Joint venture of ISAAPT and CS-AAPT
  • Teaching High School Physics, a new textbook
  • National Institute for Physics Teacher Educators
    • 5-year NSF proposal, targeted MSP
    • Development of PTE resources
    • Development of three levels of PTE curricula
    • Profession development for 96 PTE coordinators
    • Possibly working with AAPT and PTRA
    • If interested, contact cwenning@ilstu.edu

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