Physics Teacher Education Coalition
To improve and promote the education of future physics and physical science teachers
APS, together with its sister societies, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and American Institute of Physics (AIP), has undertaken a major educational effort with the above mission. APS units that are interested in helping with this project should email Ted Hodapp, APS Director of Education and Diversity.
Project Goals for the Science Preparation of Future Teachers
The U.S. faces a critical shortage of qualified physics and physical science teachers. Two-thirds of new physics teachers lack a physics degree, and over 90% of middle school physical science students are taught by teachers without a physical science major or certification. In order to address the crisis in physics and physical science education, the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) have developed the PhysTEC project.
The mission of PhysTEC is to improve and promote the education of future physics and physical science teachers. Specifically, the project aims to
- Demonstrate success in and provide models for
- Increasing the number of highly qualified high school physics teachers;
- Improving the quality of K-8 physical science teacher education;
- Transform physics departments to re-engage in the preparation of physics teachers;
- Spread best practice ideas throughout the teacher preparation community.
The PhysTEC project completed its tenth year at the end of July 2011. Our funded institutions have achieved a number of significant successes, including:
- Doubling, or more, their production of high school physics teachers;
- Using master teachers to develop bridges between their physics departments, education schools, and local K-12 school districts;
- Transforming content and pedagogy courses for future physics and physical science teachers to promote learning through interactive engagement;
- Securing continuing allocation of substantial departmental and institutional resources for teacher preparation programs;
- Measuring project outcomes and disseminating results through publications, presentations, and workshops.
The project has two main efforts: the PhysTEC Institutions and the national Physics Teacher Education Coalition (The Coalition). PhysTEC Institutions are selected colleges and universities actively engaged in science preparation of future teachers with substantial project support. Thirteen institutions have completed their main period of project activities, and are working on disseminating the successes of their projects through presentations, workshops, and journal publications. Eight others are currently engaged in developing their teacher preparation programs into national models. The project plans to support additional PhysTEC institutions which will start funding in July 2012.
The PhysTEC Coalition is a national network of over two hundred and fifty institutions committed to developing and promoting excellence in physics and physical science teacher preparation. PhysTEC organizes an annual national conference, as well as smaller regional and topical workshops. In addition, PhysTEC has teamed up with ComPADRE, the NSF-funded digital library, to produce the PTEC.org, which houses a collection of electronic resources in teacher preparation. Please see PTEC.org for more information and to learn how your institution can join this growing movement.
PhysTEC recognizes areas of especially high need for physics and physical science teachers. These include nationwide shortages of women and minority teachers, as well as severe shortages of teachers in certain geographic areas. The project hopes to address these needs through targeted outreach, financial support, and program development.
PhysTEC is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Physical Society's 21st Century Campaign. For more information on the crisis in physics education and the PhysTEC efforts, please see the presentation Physics Teacher Preparation: Problems, Perspectives, and Solutions