From the Editor of the Teacher Preparation Section
University of Arkansas
The American Association of Physics Teachers meeting in Edmonton this summer featured a wealth of excellent talks on teacher preparation. The three articles that follow were solicited from talks at this meeting. Two of the articles are by Teachers in Residence (TIR) at two of the four new PhysTEC primary institutions: Cornell and the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Jon Anderson, who took over TIR duties from Nancy Bresnahan this year, discusses the Learning Assistant program at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. This program features a novel implementation of the LA program in a large lecture class and has generated excellent student evaluations. Marty Alderman, currently TIR for Cornell’s PhysTEC site, discusses often ignored problems in providing high quality physics instruction to all students. These issues, including the allocation method used by high schools to assign physics classes to teachers, the Small School Initiative, and the role of private schools, may be unfamiliar to people who work in the university environment.
Finally, Richard Steinberg, a Professor in the School of Education and the Department of Physics and Program Head of Science Education at City College of New York, discusses his extraordinary experiences teaching high school in a poor area of Manhattan. During a sabbatical, Richard gained a teaching license through alternate licensure and spent a year as a high school teacher. The transition from the college classroom to an underprivileged high school classroom provides an eye opening picture of the challenges our future teachers face. Richard’s talk at the AAPT meeting generated more post-talk discussion than any other I have ever attended.
The 2009 Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PTEC) Conference on the Preparation of Physics and Physical Science Teachers will be held in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania on March 13th and 14th immediately before the APS March Meeting. The theme of the meeting is "Institutional Transformation". Registration information will be provided at PTEC.org when it becomes available.
John Stewart is professor of physics at the University of Arkansas.
This article is not peer refereed and represents solely the views of the author and not necessarily the views of APS.