Teaching Physics Reflection

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Teaching Physics I Reflection:

Reflection on Language of Science.

I have very little real teaching experience (8 weeks of contract teaching, lower secondary science). Yet even in this short period of time, I realised that one of the major hindrance to communicating scientific concepts is in the language itself. Through my observations in classrooms and insights from QCP520, I opined that two of the challenges that I find particularly important are the representation of abstract concepts and the usage of English as the language of science.

It is challenging for secondary students understand abstract scientific concepts. I believe this problem lies with the teacher. As qualified physicist/engineers, science educators have no problem visualising scientific concepts. However we should not expect our students to be as capable. As discussed during tutorial, students operate in the concrete world. They understand the world based on information perceived by their senses. Teachers should not expect them to readily understand and accept the abstract concepts governing phenomena such as current electricity, kinetic models, heat transfer and electromagnetic induction.

Our tutorial discussed the use of sub-micro representations (graphs, simulations etc) to help students bridge the gap between concrete (macro) and abstract (micro) representations. The use of analogy, had also been touted as another tool that can help students visualise abstract concepts. (Treagust, Harrison & Venville , 1998)

For example, in teaching current electricity, we can give the analogy of wires being roads and the traffic flow being current. Resistors would be like traffic jams. If there are two traffic jam along the same road, the traffic flow will ...

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