Professional Development of Physics Teachers in Professional Learning Communities
Prof. Bat-Sheva Eylon
Dr. Smadar Levy
Michal Walter, Dr. Zehorit Kapach, Dr. Meytal Hans, Dr.Esther bagno, Dr. Hana Berger, Prof. Edit Yerushalmi
Physics is a particularly challenging subject which demands high-quality teaching and special attention to the individual learning progress of each student. The Professional Learning Communities program is aimed at professional development for physics teachers. The communities enable the individual teacher to share with colleagues experience and resources, to become acquainted with “learner-centered” teaching, and promote collaboratively evidence-based excellent practice.
The project is funded by the Trump foundation and supported by the Ministry of Education and the Physics Superintendent.
This year, the third year of the project, we have been running nine regional “learning communities” facing 150 physics teachers and through them approaching thousands of students. We also run a large ICT community.
A group of 23 experienced physics teachers are being trained in the Science Teaching Department to serve as teacher-leaders for the regional communities.
Preliminary results of an accompanying research suggest that physics teachers consider the project to be very useful. They tell how they changed the atmosphere in their classes by starting to integrate “learner-centered” strategies into their lessons, showing more “cool” demonstrations and using toys and video clips. Some of the teachers even succeeded to increase the percentage of students majoring in physics as a result of their participation in the “learning communities”.
Our vision is that regional teacher communities will be set up throughout the the country and provide long-term professional development opportunities for the Israeli physics teachers.