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Teaching Philosophy for Physics Instruction

By

Gail Ruby

 

“You can't teach people everything they need to know. The best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.”1

 Physics is a foundation for many professional and technical programs, but the material is difficult for many students to master.  It is a subject in which the mathematical complexity can quickly overwhelm physical intuition.  My approach to physics instruction helps students develop a better intuition about, and conceptual models of, physical phenomena by using an active learning approach.  My method is based on Studio Physics developed by Professor Jack Wilson at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and incorporates several advances made in physics education research and technology.

This method merges lecture, recitation, and a hands-on laboratory experience into a technological and collaborative learning experience.  The characteristics of studio physics applied in my classroom include integrated lecture/laboratory format, a reduced amount of time allotted to lecture and time allotted for homework, a technology enhanced learning environment, collaborative group work and a high level of faculty-student interaction.  The tools used in this environment are investigation and hands-on activities, computer tools and multimedia materials, which allow students to actively participate in their own learning and to build their own scientific knowledge.  Additional learning elements integrated into my approach are interactive lecture demonstrations, webassign, a web-based homework service and course management tools such as “Blackboard”.   

In order to reduce the stress associated with exams, I incorporate other elements into the student’s grade, which emphasize learning rather then memorization.  I am interested in researching student assessment and advancing physics education by:

  1. Improving assessment of student learning.
  2. Development, use, and assessment of web-based and other multi-media materials.
  3. Effective use of computer based data collection and analysis technology.
  4. Assessment and development of problem solving skills in introductory physics students.

 

"I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn."-- Albert Einstein

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Gail's Home Page

Dissertation

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Bloom's Taxonomy in Flash

Contact Gail

05/16/2006