Addressing skills shortages in middle school physical science teaching
Keywords:out of field, Professional Development, middle school
A key challenge in early secondary science education is that many teachers responsible for teaching key physical science concepts, such as forces, motion and electricity have little formal training in Physics (Carpendale & Hume, 2020). This leads to lack of teacher confidence and a reluctance to undertake practical work (Abrahams & Millar, 2008). The Victorian Physics Teachers’ Network is being supported by the Victorian Department of Education and Training Strategic Partnership Program to develop and present four intensive modules that cover the level 7 – 10 Victorian Physical Science curriculum content. Each module consists of six two-hour sessions. The four modules cover forces and motion, electricity, light and sound, and energy transfer and generation respectively. For each topic participants undertake a structured series of key practical activities that not only support the development of conceptual understanding in the given topic but are also directly transferable to the classroom. The first module, Forces and Motion, has been delivered in person to a group of sixteen teachers at a metropolitan school and will also be delivered face-to-face in rural and regional schools.
The six workshops are constructed around engaging activities that explored the nature of force, force pairs and force diagrams and the connection between overall or net force and changes in motion and shape. Common misconceptions and alternative conceptions were addressed in each session. We will report on our learnings from the delivery of this initial module and present a summary of participant responses to the module. We will outline how the experience has informed our development and delivery of the next three modules.
Abrahams, I., & Millar, R. (2008). Does Practical Work Really Work? A study of the effectiveness of practical work as a teaching and learning method in school science. International Journal of Science Education, 30(14), 1945-1969. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500690701749305
Carpendale, J., & Hume, A. (2020). Content Representations to Support Out-of-Field Physics Teachers. Physics Education, 55(6). https://doi.org/10.1088/1361-6552/abaf16
Authors who publish with the Proceedings of the International Conference on Physics Education 2022 agree to the following terms:
a) Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
b) Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
c) Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access - http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html).
Privacy Statement The names and email addresses entered in the Proceedings of the International Conference on Physics Education 2022 site will be used exclusively for the stated purposes of this journal and will not be made available for any other purpose or to any other party.