First Year Students’ and Physics Teachers’ Expectations in Learning Physics: Case Study in Thailand

Neeranart Kritsadatan, Pornrat Wattanakasiwich

Abstract


Students’ beliefs and expectations in their understanding of physics learning process and knowledge structures affect their learning behaviours. In this paper, we investigated the physics expectations of first year students taking an introductory physics with calculus at Chiang Mai University, Thailand during 2010 and 2011 academic years. The instrument was the Thai version of Maryland Physics Expectations survey (MPEX), a 34-item Likert-scale (agree–disagree) survey that explores student attitudes, beliefs, and assumptions about physics. We reported on the results of the MPEX survey before and after an instruction of medical first year students (N = 181 in 2010 and N =194 in 2011) and first year students in other courses, including associated medical sciences (N = 206), engineering (N = 60) and agro-industry (N = 93) after an instruction. The MPEX survey was also administered to high school physics teachers attending a summer workshop at Chiang Mai University. A large gap between the expectations of physics experts and our samples was observed, and we found that favourable expectations of medical first year students tended to deteriorate as a result of taking the introductory physics course.

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