Friday, December 18, 2009

Re: Changing Biology Teaching/physics model

Some blog followers may be interested in a recent discussion-list post of the above title [Hake (2009). The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: In emails to biology educators:

(a) Kathleen Fisher (2009) advocated a physics-education-reform type model (evidently sans pre/post testing) for biology education, stimulated by Henderson & Dancy's (2009) web-survey-based estimate (evidently sans pre/post testing) that 50% of college physics courses utilize “student engagement”; and

(b) Mike Klymkowsky, responding to Fisher, wrote:

“. . . .physics has yet to demonstrate any wide-spread improvement in physics literacy (or skills), so (slavishly) following the physics model seems unlikely to address the real issues, which are the identification of topics, approaches, and assessments that can drive (and perhaps more importantly, encourage) improvements in biological literacy/competence. . . . . . . .”

I disagree with the above Klymkowsky claim that:

(1) physics has yet to demonstrate any wide-spread improvement in physics literacy; and with subsequent claims that:

(2) physicists are teaching mostly 18th and 19th century physics that is of little relevance to non-physics majors;

(3) it's well established that “being Socratic” is more effective than lecturing;

(4) the work of Henderson and Dancy is primarily concerned with how to get other faculty to adopt more effective pedagogical approaches; and

(5) those approaches often involve superficial reform (as evidenced in part by the fact that reforms suggested by Michels et al. (1957)] are still waiting to be implemented.

To access the complete 37 kB post please click on .


Hake, R.R. 2009. ”Re: Changing Biology Teaching/physics model,” online on the OPEN! Net-Gold archives at . Post of 13 August 22:04:00-0000 to AERA-L, Net-Gold, and PhysLrnR. The abstract was also distributed to various discussion lists.

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