DEVELOPING PROSPECTIVE PHYSICS TEACHERS’ SKILLS OF INDEPENDENT EXPERIMENTAL WORK USING OUTDOORS APPROACH

TitleDEVELOPING PROSPECTIVE PHYSICS TEACHERS’ SKILLS OF INDEPENDENT EXPERIMENTAL WORK USING OUTDOORS APPROACH
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsPopov, O, Tevel, I
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume6
Issue1
Start Page47-57
Date PublishedMarch/2007
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1648-3898
Other NumbersICID: 482292
Keywordsintroductory physics, outdoors, students’ projects
Abstract

This paper discusses the development of an Introductory Physics course at a Pedagogical University in Russia. The course focuses on developing students’ skills of independent experimental work. Piotr Gal’perin’s (1902-1988) ideas, that learning should begin with a profound orientation to the learning task and integrate students’ self-reflections, provide a theoretical ground for the course development. An outdoor context was used to inspire and implement the students’ self-directed projects. Evidence of the outcomes of different elements of the course implementation was collected through action research methodology. The results show that the students deepen their skills of inquiry and value doing independent planning and implementation of experimental activities in an outdoor environment.
In the new course design, priorities shifted towards developing students’ advanced skills of experimental activity and understanding of inquiry. The students learned to reflect about experimental activity as a whole. The generic skills of inquiry developed indoors were applied and further developed when solving practical problems outdoors.
The evidence collected during the course revealed a generally positive attitude of the first year students towards the new teaching methods. The students had more time and possibilities to discuss the ideas and to plan and implement investigations. They felt responsibility for their own learning and ownership of their projects. Positive changes in students’ attitudes towards the experimental work could be identified. The most significant improvement took place in planning the inquiry, as well as in results analysis.
The course development work gives us evidence that the students’ orientation in generic forms of experimental activity is productive and particular important in teacher education. Prospective teachers get better possibilities of acquiring skills of inquiry and not only content. The outdoors approach enriched the design of the introductory physics course. It inspired the new vision of the objectives and structure of this course. Generally, students gave a positive response in evaluations of outdoor studies ranging from satisfaction to a very positive attitude.
However, one course can not change the system. Unfortunately, we can state that the courses where students continue their studies after the Introductory Physics course represent the rather traditional scholastic culture of physics courses, with creativity limited to finding standard solutions for standard problems.

URLhttp://journals.indexcopernicus.com/abstracted.php?level=5&icid=482292
Refereed DesignationRefereed