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Introducing students to the culture of physics: Explicating elements of the hidden curriculum Documents

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Introducing students to the culture of physics: Explicating elements of the hidden curriculum 

written by Edward F. Redish

When we teach physics to prospective scientists and engineers we are teaching more than the "facts" of physics – more, even, than the methods and concepts of physics. We are introducing them to a complex culture - a mode of thinking and the cultural code of behavior of a community of practicing scientists. This culture has components that are often part of our hidden curriculum: epistemology - how we decide that we know something; ontology - how we parse the observable world into categories, objects, and concepts; and discourse - how we hold a conversation in order to generate new knowledge and understanding. Underlying all of this is intuition – a culturally created sense of meaning. To explicitly identify teach our hidden curriculum we must pay attention to students' intuition and perception of physics, not just to their reasoning.

Published August 24, 2010
Last Modified October 6, 2010

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