Saturday, December 19, 2009

Re: Student engagement

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

ABSTRACT: Jack Uretsky, in a Phys-L post "Re: Student engagement" wrote:

“American education has produced a number of physics Nobelists. How many were products of physics courses that would be approved by PER enthusiasts?”

My answer: "Probably near zero. BUT SO WHAT?" Physics Education Researchers (PER's) have attempted to design courses which enhance the learning of the vast majority of AVERAGE students, not potential Nobelists. Why the emphasis on the “average student” rather than the “exceptional student”? Because most exceptional students will learn on their own, even despite the (for them) usually helpful but unnecessary “interactive engagement.”

On the other hand, the fate of life on planet Earth is in the hands and minds of the masses of “average students” who, at least in democracies, control national policy - see e.g., ”The Threat to Life on Planet Earth Is a More Important Issue Than David Brooks' 'Skills Slowdown’ “ [Hake (2009b)].

To access the complete 19 kB post please click on

REFERENCES [Tiny URL's courtesy]

Hake, R.R. 2009a. “Re: Student Engagement,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 8 Dec 2009 to AERA-L, AP-Physics, Net-Gold, Physhare, Phys-L, PhysLrnR, & Physoc. The abstract only was sent to several discussion lists.

Hake, R.R. 2009b. " 'The Threat to Life on Planet Earth' Is a More Important Issue Than David Brooks' 'Skills Slowdown', " online at with a provision for comments.

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