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PEDAGOGICAL CONTENT KNOWLEDGE

NECESSARY TO TEACH PHYSICS


Eugenia Etkina
Rutgers University
Graduate School of Education
eugenia.etkina@gse.rutgers.edu
PTEC 2009, PITTSBURGH, PA
http://paer.rutgers.edu/PT3
http://www.islephysics.net
http://paer.rutgers.edu/scientificabilities
http://gse.rutgers.edu

What should a physics instructor


know? (replace physics with biology,
chemistry, etc.)
Subject matter
(concepts, rules,
problem solving).
Methods of acquiring
knowledge: How do
we know what we
know?

WHAT IS
MISSING?

How human brain works.


How people learn.
How people work in groups.
How motivation is related to
learning.

What should students learn in a


physics course?
What difficulties do they have?
How can we help them best?
How can we assess them?
What resources are available?
How to structure the curriculum ?

Pedagogical Content Knowledge


PCK
Lee Shulman, 1987
The category of teacher knowledge most likely
to distinguish the understanding of a content
specialist from that of the pedagogue.

Elements of Teacher Knowledge

Content
knowledge
CK

Pedagogical
content
knowledge
PCK

Pedagogical
knowledge
PK

Assessing PCK
Ms. Bantes students are learning Newtonian dynamics and are solving
the following problem: An unlabeled free-body diagram for an object is
shown on the left. Sketch and describe in words a process for which the
diagrams might represent the forces that other objects exert on an
object of interest.
She hears one of the students say: There is a mistake in the diagram,
the upward vertical force arrow should always be the same as the
downward arrow.
1. Do you agree with the student? Explain your answer.
2. How would you respond to this comment in class? Provide a
possible scenario.
3. If you were to use students idea a hypothesis to test, what testing
experiments would you design?
4. Why do you think the student made this comment?
6. What activities done in class prior to this activity could have
contributed to his opinion?
7. What can you do as a teacher to help this student understand the
complexity of the concept of the normal force?

5 components of PCK
Knowledge of assessment
Knowledge of student
ideas
Knowledge of
curriculum

Knowledge of
successful instructional
strategies

Orientation towards teaching

Physics PCK: ORIENTATION


TOWARDS TEACHING
Beliefs about student learning (examples);

Theories of learning: behaviorism, cognitive theory;


social constructivism;

Learning vs teaching;

Misconceptions vs resources, facets, ideas to build on

Beliefs in what students can do

Beliefs of whose fault it is :)

Why do we need to know it? How will we learn it?

Physics PCK: CURRICULUM


Knowledge of physics curricula (the sequence of topics
that allows a student to build the understanding of a new
concept or skill on what she or he already knows, and
what topics are better suited to build certain scientific
abilities).
Why do we need to know it? How will we learn it?

Physics PCK: STUDENT IDEAS


Knowledge of student ideas,difficulties,
recourses, facets, or difficulties or their
interpretation of physics).
Acquired force
Internal force

Force of gravity

Force of push or pull of


animate on inanimate

Physics PCK: SUCCESSFUL


INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
Knowledge of effective instructional strategies
for a particular concept (what specific methods
or specific activity sequences make student
learning more successful).
mg
N

FEarth on object= FE on O
Newtons
3rd law
pair
force?

mg

N
FS on O

Physics PCK: UNSUCCESSFUL


INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES
Using weight as a term for gravitational force
Making an analogy between electric charges and magnetic
poles
Drawing two or three rays on ray diagrams

Physics PCK: ASSESSMENT


Is this an educational buzz word?
Is there a relationship between goals and assessment?
Is assessment something extra that we need to do after we
teach?

Physics PCK: ASSESSMENT


Assessing student understanding of this particular concept
or a skill:
List targeted concepts and skills in this assessment
Sketch a
situation the
equation
might

Mathematical description.

describe.

900 N (50 kg)(9.8 N/kg) = (50 kg) v


12 m

Write in words a
problem for which
the equation is a
solution.

Formative Assessment
Formative assessment: during learning to
provide feedback both to the teacher and
students and enhance learning DURING
learning.
Two changes have to happen: change in
student learning and change in teacher
teaching.

Three steps of formative


assessment

Where do
you need to
go?

How can you


get there?

Where are
you now?

Goals: what do we want our students


to know and to be able to do

Understand concepts?
Be able to apply mathematics?
Be able to reason?
Be able to pose productive questions?
Move between representations?
Design an experiment to investigate a question? Solve a
problem?
Collect and analyze data?
Realize the existence of assumptions?
Ask why am I doing why I am doing?
Ask how do I know this?
Relate class material to real world?

Some types of formative assessment


activities for conceptual understanding
1. Traditional conceptual questions on the spot
2. Explain XXX
3. How do you know that xxx?
4. You friend thinks XXX why would she think
this way? Do you agree or disagree? If you
disagree, how would you convince her in your
opinion?
5. Tell all problems
6. Multiple representation tasks
7. Jeopardy tasks
8. Ranking tasks
9. What is wrong? tasks
10. How would you convince somebody? tasks

Where do you
need to go?
Where are you
now?
How do you
get there?

Rubrics for guidelines, assessment and


self-assessment
LEVEL
ABILITY
To represent
information
graphically

Needs
Missing Not adequate
improvement
(1)
(0)
(2)
An attempt is made
No attempt to but the dependent
variable is confused
represent
information with the dependent
variable, or the axes
graphically.
are not labeled at all,
or the graph does not
match the data or
problem situation

The axes are labeled,


the dependent and
independent variables
are not confused but
there are no units or
no scale thus it is
impossible to say
whether the graph
matches the data or
the problem situation
adequately

Adequate
(3)
The variables are
chosen
appropriately,
axes are labeled,
units and the
scale are labeled,
the graph line
represents the
situation or the
data, and
uncertainties are
shown if
necessary.

Some types of formative assessment


activities for procedural abilities

representing physical processes and ideas

designing an experimental investigation

collecting and analyzing data

devising and testing a qualitative explanation or a


quantitative relation

modifying an explanation or a relation in light of new data

evaluating

communicating

Helping future physics teachers


build their PCK
Learn physics
Build PCK

Learn how people


learn

How can one acquire a cognitive skill?


Independent
practice

Cognitive apprenticeship
Slowly removing scaffolding

Providing coaching and scaffolding

Contexts that model


proficiency

Learning and Clinical Practice (Rutgers


model)
Student teaching
Cognitive apprenticeship

A student in a
reformed General
Physics course

A student in
GSE methods
courses

A lab and
recitation TA in
reformed
courses

Slowly removing scaffolding,


Using existing materials to teach

Providing coaching and scaffolding


during teaching mini-lessons

Contexts of physics learning


that model proficiency

Independent
practice,
designing her/his
own lessons

Physics Teacher Preparation


Program at Rutgers

45 graduate credits
2 years plus summer
1 semester of student teaching

Content - undergraduate + 6 credits


Pedagogy - 6 credits
Policy 6 credits
Student teaching 9 credits

Process and reasoning of science + PCK 18

credits

EXAMINIG ONE COURSE SYLLABUS


EXAMINE THE SYLLABUS CAREFULLY AND PREPARE
TO ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:
1. WHAT ASPECTS OF THE PCK OR PHYSICS CONTENT
KNOWLEDGE DOES THE COURSE ADDRESS?
2. HOW IS COGNITIVE APPRENTICESHIP EMBEDDED IN
THE COURSE?
3. HOW IS FORMATIVE ASSESSMENT EMBEDDED IN THE
COURSE?

Course Sequence
#1

#2
#3

Year 1
Development of Ideas in Physical Science*
Use ISLE framework to reconstruct how physicists built the
knowledge taught in our present courses and design/teach high
school physics lessons in which students learn by following the
original path of physicists. Learn what difficulties they had and how
difficulties of our students can be explained historically.
Teaching Physical Science*, ** , oral exam
Technology in Science Education*
Apply ISLE framework to design and practice learning cycles,
combine them with the knowledge of student resources to plan units
and lessons, learn to use technology and learn assessment methods
* students teach a full lesson
**students plan a unit

Course Sequence
Summer 1
#4 Research internship science and teaching methods in
X-ray astrophysics**
Learn how to do research in X-ray astrophysics and observe
high school students learning through ISLE in the same
program
**students plan a unit

Course Sequence
#5

Year 2
Teaching Internship seminar*, **
Plan a unit and lessons during student teaching, design lessons of
specific types, assessments instruments, and learn how to reflect on
teaching practice

#6 Multiple Representations in Physical Science*, **, oral exam


Learn how to use cognitive strategies and scientific reasoning to
enhance student problem solving in a physics course, apply
technology

*students teach a full lesson


**students plan a unit
Total in the program: teach in class 5 lessons and plan 5 different units;
ant end of each semester every student receives copies of
everyones materials

Quantitative Results
Graduates of the physical science program
2003 - 1
2004 - 5
2005 - 7
2006 - 7
2007 - 6
2008 - 7
2009 - 8
2010 - 7
Present High School and Middle School (1) Teachers
2003 - 1
2004 - 5
2005 - 5 (1 quit, one never started)
2006 - 6 (1 never started)
2007 - 5 (1 quit)
2008 - 7

MATERIALS
USED IN THE RUTGERS PROGRAM
AND IN THIS WORKSHOP
COME FROM SEVERAL RESOURCES

http://paer.rutgers.edu/scientificabilities/

http://www.islephysics.net/

http://paer.rutgers.edu/pt3/

QuickTime and a
decompressor
are needed to see this picture.

A. Van Heuvelen and E. Etkina, The Physics Active Learning Guide


(instructor and student edition), Addison Wesley, 2006