The Physics Education Component of the Rothschild-Weizmann M.Sc. program

Leading team

Prof. Bat-Sheva Eylon

Dr. Esther Bagno

Dr. Hana Berger

Summary

"Special issues in physics education 1-2" is a series of courses developed for the Rothschild-Weizmann M.Sc. program for excellent physics teachers. The courses, based on physic education research, focus on the following central issues in physics education : problem solving, assessment for learning, and concept learning in mechanics and in electromagnetism.

The teachers (13-15 in each course) meet once a week for 2 hours. All the courses' materials are gathered in an accompanying online website.

Each subject in the courses is taught as a learning cycle that includes: acquaintance with learning difficulties and research-based activities that deal with these difficulties, reading of research literature, implementing the new activities in their classes, gathering and examining evidence from classes and reflecting on their findings, the new activities, their teaching and their students' learning.

The teachers' acquaintance with each new activity takes place through 3 different experiences:

As learners – working on the activities as if they were students and reflecting on this experience.

As teachers and researchers in their classes – implementing the new activities in their classes, examining evidence from classes, and then, posting their findings and insights on the online website.

A study conducted recently indicates that through these three kinds of experience, the teachers progressed in their knowledge, views, and practice concerning assessment for learning and problem solving in physics.
In an evaluation report released recently about the teachers report that these courses brought about a genuine change in their view about learning and teaching physics and deeply influenced their teaching practice. Many of the physics teacher graduates in this program have become lead teachers in various physics teachers communities.