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Changing Students’ Approach to Learning Physics in Postsecondary Gateway Courses


Changing Students’ Approach to Learning Physics in Postsecondary Gateway Courses

Kalman, Calvin S., Shore, Bruce M, Aulls, Mark W, Antimirova, Tetyana, Magon, Juss Kaur, Lee, Gyoungho, Coelho, Ricardo, Coban, Gul Unal, Huang, Xiang, Ibrahim, Ahmed, Wang, Xihui, Tan, Dang Diep Minh, Fu, Guopeng and Khanam, Wahidun (2017) Changing Students’ Approach to Learning Physics in Postsecondary Gateway Courses. International Research in Higher Education, 2 (3). pp. 16-33. ISSN 2380-9183

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5430/irhe.v2n3p16


This study investigated if and how a combined set of specially developed activities can help students change their approach to learning physics. These activities included (a) reflective-writing activities, (b) critique-writing activities, and (c) reflective write-pair-share activities combined with conceptual-conflict collaborative-group exercises. Each of these activities was previously successfully tested as a stand-alone activity. This investigation was conducted at two different institutions over a three-year period. At each institution the same instructor taught students in two sections. At the first, a university with a substantial graduate school, sections were relatively large (over 100 students each) covering a typical introductory calculus-based mechanics course. At the second, a community college, there were relatively small classes (32 students each) covering a typical algebra-based introductory course in mechanics, electricity, and magnetism. The courses at the two institutions used different textbooks and had different formats. Measured data included student interviews and writing products. We developed rubrics for evaluation of the impact of the writing products and interviews of students. The main results of this study were the changes in students’ approaches to learning physics, especially as revealed in the interviews. Students who experienced the full suite of activities (a) changed their understanding of physics from solving problems to creating a network of interrelated concepts, and they also (b) modified their approach to learning physics from repetitious review to consideration of the interconnections of the subject matter and (c) related their new learning to key concepts in an overall physics framework.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Physics
Item Type:Article
Authors:Kalman, Calvin S. and Shore, Bruce M and Aulls, Mark W and Antimirova, Tetyana and Magon, Juss Kaur and Lee, Gyoungho and Coelho, Ricardo and Coban, Gul Unal and Huang, Xiang and Ibrahim, Ahmed and Wang, Xihui and Tan, Dang Diep Minh and Fu, Guopeng and Khanam, Wahidun
Journal or Publication:International Research in Higher Education
Date:September 2017
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.5430/irhe.v2n3p16
Keywords:science education, epistemology, inquiry, reflective writing, critical thinking
ID Code:983015
Deposited On:12 Sep 2017 13:25
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:56


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