From fragmented to structured knowledge in physics teacher education

Terhi Katariina Mäntylä

    Research output: ThesisLicenciate's thesis

    Abstract

    Physics teachers are in a key position in forming the attitudes and conceptions of the future
    generation towards the science and technology based society as well as in educating the
    future generation of scientists. Therefore, good teacher education is one of the key areas of
    physics departments’ education program. This work is a contribution to the development of
    high quality physics teacher education.
    The first challenge studied in this work relates to the organization of physics subject content.
    The second challenge, related to the first one, is to understand the role of experiments in
    physics. In general this work aims to demonstrate, what uses and benefits are possible when
    physicists’ understanding of the subject content and the pedagogical knowledge of teaching
    and learning are combined.
    The most part of this work is concerned with developing a theoretical framework for
    purposes of combining an authentic picture of physics as a part of pedagogical content
    knowledge, as well as research methodology for evaluating the success of such approaches.
    On a basis of analysis of history and philosophy of physics, we have formed the didactical
    reconstructions and graphical organizers of physics processes and structure.
    This work discusses two case studies, which show how these above mentioned challenges are
    met and how the outcomes of teaching solutions developed for teacher education are
    evaluated. The research approach is qualitative; it aims at the in-depth evaluation and
    understanding of the usefulness of graphical representation tools and the reconstructions
    behind the tools. The data was collected from the advanced course for prospective physics
    teachers during 2001-2003 and it consisted of students’ network representations and student
    interviews. First case study discusses how student teachers use graphical organizers in
    understanding the knowledge formation process in case of Faraday’s and Henry’s induction
    law. Second case study discusses how student teachers learn to understand the development
    of physical quantities in case of the temperature concept.
    In both studies the attention is focused on the use of graphical representation tools organizing
    knowledge and on the role experiments in this organization process. The results show that
    students’ understanding about physics knowledge production is improved as well as their
    knowledge become better organized and more coherent. It is shown that the graphical
    representation tools and the reconstructions behind them have an important role in gaining
    these positive learning results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    MoE publication typeG3 Licentiate thesis

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