GTG on Physics Preparation of Teachers in Grades K-6

(FEDERICO CORNI, Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy, and STAMATIS VOKOS, California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo, USA)

This GIREP Thematic Group responds to an international need for promoting the deep professional preparation of teachers to teach physics effectively in grades K-6. Weak preparation of elementary school teachers perpetuates a situation in which physics tends to be taught, if at all, as a list of facts and mathematical formulas to be memorized rather than as a set of coherent exciting ideas that are relevant to a child’s life and community. Compared to the situation in mathematics education research, research on the learning and teaching of physics has concentrated more on university and high school physics than physics for younger students and their educators.

The Thematic Group invites participation by anyone who has an interest in research results in this area. Initial axes of common interest include the following:

  1. What is known about the appropriate preparation of K-6 teachers to teach physics effectively? What is the current status of actual preparation in different countries? What are promising strategies to overcome identified obstacles?
  2. What is the role of international societies (including GIREP) in promoting policy changes that are guided by research results in this area?
  3. What is the role of physics departments and practicing physicists?
  4. How can physics learning at this level be promoted through intentional connections between formal and informal educational environments (e.g., museums)?

The Thematic Group will support activities that foster communication and exchange among professionals with an interest in this area, including the organization of an Invited Symposium at the GIREP biannual Conference and actions associated with the corresponding proceedings.

GIREP members are invited to email Federico Corni or Stamatis Vokos to express their interest in participating and to share their ideas about these issues.